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Across the Continent weekend preview: 26-29 January


There’s plenty of European football to look forward to this weekend, so here’s a selection of games not to be missed from La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.

La Liga

It was a busy mid-week of Copa del Rey quarter-final action in Spain, with Atlético Madrid, Real Sociedad, Mallorca and Athletic Club all getting through, the latter dumping out Barcelona after extra time.

The semis will see Mallorca face la Real, while Atleti take on Athletic, so a Basque derby final is a possibility.

What’s guaranteed is the fact that, for just the third time since 2010, neither of the big two will feature in this season’s final at Estadio de La Cartuja on 6 April.

Before that of course, La Liga returns this weekend, with all of the top four confident of picking up wins.

Girona continue to lead the way and, despite crashing out the Copa on Tuesday, Míchel’s men should be too strong for struggling Celta Vigo at Balaídos on Sunday lunchtime.

A day earlier, Real Madrid will go top if they beat Las Palmas at Estadio Gran Canaria, which los Blancos are likely to do, even if García Pimienta’s side have been impressive this season, sat ninth, despite scoring just 21 goals in 21 matches thus far, the key being the fact they’ve conceded only 17.

Straight after that on Saturday evening, Barcelona should swat aside Villarreal at Montjuïc, given that el Submarino Amarillo have won just three of their last 16, claiming only one away win all campaign.

Rounding out the top four, Atlético Madrid are at home to Valencia on Sunday night, wary of the threat los Che can pose, given that they were smashed 3-0 at Mestalla in September.

Lastly, a word on Sevilla, who’ve still only won three La Liga matches all season, with Quique Sánchez Flores’ side now losing four on the bounce, having been smashed 5-1 by Girona last Sunday.

Los Nervionenses welcome Osasuna to Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, seeking a first home win since late-September.

bet365
bet365

Barcelona to win and over 2.5 goals

Barcelona vs Villarreal


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Real Madrid to win and both teams to score NO

Las Palmas vs Real Madrid


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Atlético Madrid to win

Atlético Madrid vs Valencia


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Girona to win

Celta de Vigo vs Girona


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Athletic Club to win

Cádiz vs Athletic Club Bilbao


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Under 2.5 goals

Almería vs Deportivo Alavés


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At 40/1, a £10 bet would return £410.16

La Liga acca of the week

Serie A

Over in Serie A, following last weekend’s truncated fixture list due to the Supercoppa Italiana in Saudi Arabia, all 20 clubs are in action this time round.

On Monday night, it was Inter who picked up a third successive Supercup, with Lautaro Martínez’s stoppage time goal downing Napoli in Riyāḍh.

However, when Simone Inzaghi’s team returned to Italy, they were no longer top, with Juventus leapfrogging them into first place, having swatted aside Lecce 3-0 last Sunday.

That made it five Serie A wins in a row for Massimiliano Allegri’s team, who are widely expected to make that six on Saturday, as Empoli visit Turin.

Inter themselves will get the chance to respond in a far more challenging fixture on Sunday night, traveling south to take on fourth-placed Fiorentina at Stadio Artemio Franchi.

All of this is building up to the fact the top two meet at San Siro in a massive Derby d’Italia next Sunday night.

Just on the outskirts of the title race are A.C. Milan, currently seven points off the pace, but Stefano Pioli’s side will also be aiming to pick up a fifth victory on the spin when they face Bologna on Saturday night.

The two crisis clubs meet on Sunday, as both Lazio and Napoli require points to get back into European contention.

Lastly, on Monday night, Daniele De Rossi made a winning start to life as Roma’s interim manager, so can he make it two for two as I Giallorossi visit bottom of the table Salernitana?

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bet365

Internazionale Milano to win

Fiorentina vs Internazionale Milano


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Both teams to score

Lazio vs Napoli


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Juventus to win and both teams to score NO

Juventus vs Empoli


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Roma to win

Salernitana vs Roma


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AC Milan to win

AC Milan vs Bologna


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Atalanta to win

Atalanta vs Udinese


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Under 2.5 goals

Cagliari vs Torino


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At 43/1, a £10 bet would return £442.04

Serie A acca of the week

Bundesliga

This week in the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich very narrowly beat Union Berlin on Wednesday night, Raphaël Guerreiro the only scorer a minute after half time, thereby closing the gap at the top.

However, Thomas Tuchel’s team do remain four points adrift league-leading Leverkusen, after die Roten were on the wrong end of a shock defeat to Werder Bremen last Sunday.

This weekend, Bayern make the short 40 mile journey across Bavaria to take on Augsburg in, what should be, a routine win for the champions, although we did say that last week.

In Saturday’s evening kick off, Bayer Leverkusen will be looking to maintain their unbeaten record this season, with most expecting them to do so against mid-table dwellers Borussia Mönchengladbach.

2024 could not have gone any better for Borussia Dortmund so far, enjoying a 4-0 and then a 3-0 victory, so will Edin Terzić's team swat aside Bochum at Westfalenstadion?

The two teams directly above them in third and fourth meet in a huge clash on Saturday, with both Stuttgart and RB Leipzig needing wins, given that they’ve lost both rückrunde outings to date.

In the relegation battle, Union Berlin will be desperately hoping to propel themselves towards safety when they welcome rock bottom Darmstadt to Stadion An der Alten Försterei.

However, die Eisernen will have to do so without head coach Nenad Bjelica, who’s received a three-match touchline ban for pushing Leroy Sané in mid-week.

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bet365

Bayer Leverkusen to win and over 2.5 goals

Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia Mönchengladbach


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Bayern Munich to win and Harry Kane to score anytime

Augsburg vs Bayern Munich


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Borussia Dortmund to win and over 2.5 goals

Borussia Dortmund vs Bochum


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Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals

Stuttgart vs RB Leipzig


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Both teams to score

Wolfsburg vs Köln


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Union Berlin to win

Union Berlin vs Darmstadt


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At 24/1 a £10 bet would return £246.59!

Bundesliga acca of the week

Ligue 1

Two of the top three go head-to-head in Ligue 1 this weekend with Paris Saint-Germain taking on....checks notes....that can’t be right! Are you sure? Ok then.. Stade Brestois!

Yes Brest, who’s best-ever top-flight finish is eighth, achieved in 1987, are currently third, with Eric Roy’s side unbeaten in seven, winning six of them, including each of the last four on the spin.

Les Pirates have gone over 370 minutes in Ligue 1 without conceding, dating back to 7 December and, when PSG visited Stade Francis-Le Blé in October, they required an 89th minute Kylian Mbappé penalty to snatch a 3-2 win.

So, can France’s high-fliers upset the champions and league-leaders? I mean, probably not to be honest.

Elsewhere, the team in-between this duo are Nice, who will be looking to tighten their grip on a Champions League spot when they take on Metz.

In Saturday night’s blockbuster, Marseille face Monaco at Stade Vélodrome; Gennaro Gattuso’s team really needing a win to get themselves back into Champions League contention.

Down at the bottom, after ending 2023 with three successive victories, a humbling 3-1 defeat at Stade Océane against Le Havre has Olympique Lyonnais back in the bottom three.

On Friday night, Pierre Sage’s side host inconsonant Rennes, so can Lyon climb out of danger?

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bet365

PSG to win, over 2.5 goals and Kylian Mbappé to score anytime

Paris Saint-Germain vs Brest


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Both teams to score

Olympique de Marseille vs Monaco


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Both teams to score

Olympique Lyonnais vs Stade Rennais


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Nice to win

Nice vs Metz


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Reims to win

Stade de Reims vs Nantes


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Lille to win or draw

Montpellier vs LOSC Lille


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Lens to win or draw

Toulouse vs RC Lens


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At 28/1 a £10 bet would return £290.70!

Ligue 1 acca of the week

Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".