UEFA Champions League group stage debutant Leipzig rates as the best bet in the first round of round-robin fixtures.
Leipzig, the German Bundesliga silver medallist that does not have many admirers outside of the eastern city, has posted consecutive divisional wins ahead of its Group G match against Nice on Wednesday. And Leipzig is hosting Monaco at the best possible time because the French Ligue 1 title holder is reeling from its worst loss in five months having gone down 0-4 at local rival Nice on Saturday.
Four French Ligue 1 wins on the spin had suggested that Monaco was capable of giving Paris Saint-Germain a run for its money this term but Nice put the champion in its place, Mario Balotelli scoring either side of half time in his side’s 4-0 home romp. Monaco converted an insanely high percentage of its attempts last season and, therefore, it was likely that it would revert to the mean this term and that is before taking into the summer’s transfer dealings.
Monaco is weaker than it was last season whereas Leipzig, backed by Red Bull, managed to retain its key players when more illustrious clubs came knocking during the break. A few weeks ago one highlighted the value in backing Leipzig to top UEFA Champions League Group G, primarily because Monaco was too short in the betting. In the interim one has not seen anything to change’s one perspective so Leipzig is attractive at odds of +125 with Betfair to get the better of Monaco in the first batch of UEFA Champions League games on what will be a big night for the Red Bulls.
Napoli won a UEFA Champions League group match in Ukraine last term and one thinks that there is a good chance of history repeating itself this season on Wednesday.
It was Dynamo Kyiv that felt the full force of Napoli in last term’s UEFA Champions League Group B, the Ukrainian Premier League team losing 1-2 to its Italian Serie A opponent in September. Twelve months on and Napoli’s first UEFA Champions League Group F is away to Shakhtar Donetsk, which is 7-0-1 in the Ukrainian Premier League but dropped three priceless points at home to Dynamo Kviv in July.
Napoli has participated in five games this season and it has won each of them by at least two goals. It is difficult to find fault with Napoli’s Italian Serie A and UEFA Champions League form – for example, it beat Nice 2-0 home and away in the previous round of Europe’s top club tournament – and Shakhtar Donetsk’s results indicate that its defence gives chances to attacks that are not out of the top drawer. Napoli are a best price of +120 with Betway.
The blockbuster UEFA Champions League match on Tuesday is the game between Barcelona and Juventus. Juventus eliminated Barcelona from last term’s UEFA Champions League, Barcelona has lost the services of Neymar in the subsequent months and Juve have cruised to three Italian Serie A victories in their first three domestic championship matches.
There is no reason why bookmakers are listing Barcelona at odds on to get the better of Juventus – Barca would have to be odds against for one to consider backing them and, even then, one would prefer to support Juve. With 32Red quoting odds of +128 about Juventus not losing to Barcelona that rates as one’s third UEFA Champions League selections.
Leipzig to beat Monaco
Wednesday 13th September, 19:45 GMT
Napoli to beat Shakhtar Donestk
Wednesday 13th September, 19:45 GMT
Juventus or Draw – Double chance
Tuesday 12th September, 19:45 GMT
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