Don’t miss out on the thrilling weekend football lineup featuring exciting matchups like Bordeaux vs Laval, Celtic vs St Mirren, Austria Lustenau vs Tirol, Slovan Bratislava vs Podbrezova, and Hamburg vs Greuther Furth.
Bordeaux v Laval
Saturday, 1:45 pm
Only three rounds of fixtures remain in the French Ligue 2 and both Bordeaux and Laval are still not entirely sure which league they’ll be in next season. Bordeaux hold a one-point advantage over Metz in their two-way battle for second spot, with Le Havre looking uncatchable in top spot. As for Laval, they perilously sit one-point above the dreaded relegation zone, but three wins in four has instilled real hope of survival.
Les Girondins are aiming to complete a swift return to Ligue 1 after finishing bottom of that respective table last season. One defeat in 12, including eight victories, does give them momentum at this crucial point in the campaign, but it is vitally important they keep on winning to keep Metz at bay. This begins a run of three very winnable games for Bordeaux, whereas Metz face top-half bottom, including two on the road, to end their season, so Bordeaux’s one-point advantage could be crucial.
On the flip side, Laval are looking to avoid a swift return to Championnat National having won promotion as league champions a year ago. Undoubtedly it has been a difficult trying to adjust to the next level above, but they are in one of their best runs of form all season. One note of caution though is that the three wins they’ve enjoyed in their past four have all been at home, although two of those came against current top-six opposition in the form of Bastia and Sochaux.
The problem for the away side is that they are taking on a Bordeaux side that simply knows how to get the job done. Only Caen have earned more home points in the division, and only top dogs Le Havre have conceded fewer goals. Only four of their 19 overall league wins saw them win by a three-goal margin or higher. At this stage of the season, it really is all about getting the job done. Laval are likely to play for a point here, so expect this to maybe be quite a tight game to begin with, but Bordeaux eventually getting the job done.
A Bet365 bet-builder combining a Bordeaux Win and Under 5 Goals is a 21/20 play that has every chance of coming through. Not one single Bordeaux match this season has contained over 4.5 goals, whilst the same can be said in 30/35 of Laval’s encounters.
Celtic v St Mirren
Last weekend was certainly an off-day for Celtic as they went down to a 3-0 away defeat at arch-rivals Rangers. Whilst that was a blow, the game effectively had nothing riding on it from a league position perspective, especially with Celtic already being crowned as league champions for a 53rd time. Boss Ange Postecoglou also elected to rotate his team to a degree in that contest, so there are valid excuses. St Mirren at the visitors to Celtic Park this Saturday and the club still harbour ambitions of qualifying for Europe next season, but they only have three games to overcome a four-point gap to the last qualification slot.
As mentioned, Celtic are already the league winners, so you could argue they no longer have anything to play for. Whilst that is the case from a league perspective, they do still have a Scottish Cup Final to look forward to at the beginning of next month, so they have a duty to ensure they head into that clash in the best possible condition, mentally more than anything, and the best cure for that is winning football matches. Having lost to a bitter rival last time out, you can expect a bit of a reaction here and St Mirren could be the ones to feel the full force of the best team in Scotland at present.
That would be no great surprise given the past meetings between these two clubs. Like most head-to-head battles in Scottish football, Celtic hold the better in this particular duel, and convincingly so. Since the start of 2023, Celtic have won all three clashes with St Mirren; enjoying results in the form of 5-1 (twice) and 4-0. Stephen Robinson’s side were recently on a decent run of form where they lost just once in six, but now it is four without victory, including three defeats. You just fear they may be running out of gas at the crucial point in the season. With three games left they’re going to have to produce something special to make Europe, and in addition to playing Celtic they also have to go away to Aberdeen and entertain Rangers before the season concludes. They therefore have to have a go at winning this weekend, and the club historically has lost on 13 of 14 visits here.
Celtic are just simply a stronger team and I feel the added disappointment of losing to Rangers in that fashion will ensure the manager has them suitable fired up for this one. I suspect they’ll recall their stronger players as well, and someone like top scorer Kyogo Furuhashi should be recalled from the off. They have the best first-half record in the league, both overall and specifically in home matches, whilst they are the highest-scoring first-half team, again both overall and at home. St Mirren have just the five away first-half goals, and only three teams have conceded more in this category, too.
A StarSports bet-builder combining a Celtic Win, Celtic Win First Half and Kyogo Furuhashi Anytime Goalscorer is an attractive odds-against play at 121/100. Furuhashi leads the league top-scorer chart by two, and will see this has a chance to put further distance between the chasing pack.
Austria Lustenau v Tirol
The Relegation Group within the Austrian Bundesliga is the not place any team in the league wanted to be, but there is the added carrot of still potentially qualifying for the UEFA Conference League that serves as big motivation for teams such as Austria Lustenau and Tirol. Of course, the word ‘relegation’ is also a big of a giveaway, but you too can be relegated to the league below, but Austria Lustenau don’t hold those fears going into their remaining games. Tirol are six-points above bottom side Altach with only nine-points left to play for, so they should be OK.
Austria Lustenau sit top of this six-team mini-league and have their own destiny in their control in terms of maybe making European football next season. Winning games in the Relegation Group has been a bit of a challenge for all six of those outfits, with the draw undoubtedly being the most popular score in recent weeks for practically every side. That is most definitely the case for Saturday’s home team as they’ve drew three in succession; those scores reading 4-4 and 2-2 (twice). Scoring goals therefore is not an issue, and on a bigger scale, they’ve lost only once in nine (five wins), so they are in good form for this level of competition.
Tirol have been under the management of Thomas Silberberger for around ten years now, and the club have a fewer lower league titles to show for it. Competing at the highest level in Austrian football has been tough for them, and that has certainly been the case for them this season. One win in 12 is never a good luck, and they are perhaps fortunate there is at least one side performing worse than they are, meaning they won’t be relegated. They’ve also failed to score in four of their last five away, and six of their past 11 overall, so that is an obvious area of improvement.
Austria Lustenau don’t have problems scoring goals in recent times, and there is one pretty big reason for it. 25-year-old striker Lukas Fridrikas has netted a total of six goals across the last five matches. He has been anything but prolific before that but he is ending his debut season with the club in excellent form. This games actually contains the two teams with the highest Expected Goals Against (xGA) in the league, so neither defence is too trustworthy. With Fridrikas being in the form he is, we just have to back him to net again.
I expected him to be a shade of odds-against to do exactly that, but Bet365 has priced him at 8/5 to score, something he has achieved in each of his last five matches. No other book has priced him yet and it may took some digging to maybe look for alternatives, but if you can get this price while you can then jump on it.
Slovan Bratislava v Podbrezova
This weekend presents the final match of the season in the Slovakian Fortuna Liga and Slovan Bratislava know the hard work has already been done in their eyes considering they’ve already been confirmed as league champions. This is their fifth league crown in as many seasons, and the three campaigns before that they finished as runners-up. They really are the dominate force in Slovakian football. There is nothing riding on this game not just from their perspective, but also of visitors Podbrezova, who will definitely finish the season in 4th place.
The trophy will be presented here in what should be a party atmosphere at Tehelné pole, Slovan Bratislava have only suffered four league defeats all season, three of which came away from home, and one of those was on the opening day against Podbrezova, so they know they have to take this game seriously in they’re to end the campaign in style. A run of six straight league wins however means they are in a more than healthy place, and they’ve netted an average of 2.67 goals in that sequence, so expect another vibrant, attacking display this weekend from Belasí.
The problem with Podbrezova is you never quite know what you are going to get from them. The positives for them heading into Saturday is they’ve won two of their last three, however, on a bigger scale we can look at it as just three wins in their previous 12. One big problem they have had is replacing the goals of Moses Cobnan, who departed for Krasnodar in January. Despite leaving five months ago, he remains Podbrezova’s top scorer with nine goals, with the nearest challenger sitting on five. You suspect they just want to get to pre-season and try to rectify this issue.
Slovan Bratislava’s are so, so tough to stop at home. Only one team has managed to do that, and that came when Zilina won 1-0 there in March, and the fact they lost the shot count 20-8 suggests it was a bit of a smash and grab from the away side. Something quite noticeable looking at the numbers of Slovan Bratislava is that 67.7% of their goals scored have come in the second half of matches. That is quite staggering for a team sitting top of the league. They clearly thrive when the game becomes stretched later in matches, with 31 of their 65 goals alone coming after the 60th-minute.
You are getting slim odds on a home here, and understandably so, but the Bet365 bet-builder of a Home Win alongside Over 1 Second Half Goal is available at 21/20, and there is a strong case for this. 15 out of Slovan Bratislava’s 21 league victories this season saw the match feature at least two goals in the second half.
Hamburg v Greuther Furth
Hamburg, a club that was winning major European trophies in the 1970s and 1980s have found themselves in the second-tier of German football for the last five seasons now, but there is real hope of making a proud return to Bundesliga this time around. It remains tight at the top of the table, and Hamburg do have a little bit of catching-up to do to try and get into an automatic promotion place. They sit in third, a relegation/promotion play-off position, but only a point behind second spot with just two games remaining. Beating mid-table Greuther Furth this weekend is an absolute must.
Officially, Greuther Furth have not avoiding relegation. They are five-points above the relegation/promotion spot into the 3. Liga with only six-points left to play for. By all accounts they are safe, but they’d rather get the point they need to be completely sure of their safety this weekend, which will be easier said than done. Hamburg have been nearly faultless at home, last tasting defeat at Volksparkstadion back in October. Since returning from the World Cup break, Furth have lost six of their eight away matches, but maybe with them being practically safe they could play with more freedom.
Something that has been a common trend in matches involving Hamburg this season has been goals. They have produced an average of 3.47 per game across their league campaign. They are the top-scorers in the division, with striker Robert Glatzel being responsible for 19 of their 67 goals in total. We can however associate goals with the opposing side as well, and the stat will surprise you considering they sit 12th in the table. Furth have only failed to score in three league matches all season. 23 of their 32 matches has also seen both teams score. Hamburg have only failed to score in five matches, so these teams are used to scoring goals.
Hamburg need the win and they are the form outfit, so we have to get them onside. A home win and BTTS looks a good call, but I will play it slightly safer and back the hosts alongside Over 2.5 Goals at 21/20 with Betfred. Since returning from the World Cup break, 73.33% of Hamburg games have contained at least three goals, with the average being 4.20 goals per game in that period. It is just a slightly more reliably play than almost hoping for mid-table Furth to score, and you just never know what their approach will be.
Troyes v Strasbourg
Our final play and our only Sunday play across the weekend allows us to take in the top flight of French football in Ligue 1. Troyes finally saw their inevitable relegation confirmed when going down 4-0 away to Rennes last weekend, whereas Strasbourg continue to pull away from trouble by recording yet another win after defeating Nice 2-0, their fourth victory in five. Sunday’s away side would definitely confirm their survival by producing another three-point haul against their woeful opposition.
I say woeful, but there are probably many other stronger words you could use to describe Troyes. They have been nothing short of a shambles for some time now, and relegation had looked on the cards for several months now. Ironically you have to go all the way to their last meeting with Strasbourg for their most recent league victory, and that was on January 2nd! They’ve played 19 matches since then in league and cup, resulting in four draws and a huge 15 defeats. They’ve failed to score in nine of those losses, whilst they’ve lost by a 2+ margin in 11. It is amazing they aren’t bottom of the table.
Troyes have been adopting something of an ultra-defensive style of play in their bid to stop losing matches, and that just simply has not worked. They occasionally threaten on the counter attack, but with them being so weak defensively, it isn’t giving them a framework to build upon. One good tactic to making money has been to oppose Troyes this season, and there is no reason to change that now.
Whilst only five teams separates these two teams in the table, it would be fair to say that number is greater when we take into account the recent form guide. Strasbourg have just come to life, and no doubt the appointment of Frédéric Antonetti as manager has proved the turning point. He has only been in charge for 12 games, but he has still been responsible for overseeing 66.67% of Strasbourg’s league wins across the entire season. They are going in the right direction, and all of their wins of late have come against teams much stronger than Troyes, so they’ll expect another win on Sunday.
We can simply bypass Troyes as there is no case whatsoever in expecting their slump to suddenly improve, if anything it should get worse. Strasbourg can be backed on a -1.00 handicap at attractive odds 11/10 with Betway. Our stake is refunded if they win by a one-goal margin, but anything 2+ sees us cash this ticket. Their last five wins, including four in their past five games, have indeed been by a distance of two or more goals. This includes away wins at Nantes and Reims, so it isn’t as if this has all been at home. This is an absolute no-brainer and hopefully you can get on this price while you can.
Bordeaux Win and Under 5 Goals (21/20 Bet365)
Celtic Win Match, Celtic Win First Half, Kyogo Furuhashi Anytime Goalscorer (121/100 StarSports)
Lukas Fridrikas (Austria Lustenau) Anytime Goalscorer (8/5 Bet365)
Slovan Bratislava Win and Over 1 Second Half Goal (21/20 Bet365)
Hamburg Win and Over 2.5 Goals (21/20 Betfred)
Strasbourg -1.00 (11/10 Betway)