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European Football Betting Preview: 17-20 May


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, Ligue 1 and more.

La Liga

Following a busy mid-week of action, it’s the penultimate round of fixtures from La Liga, with all the games kicking off simultaneously, well almost all the games.

Yes, the one you’ve all been waiting for has been given the prime-time Saturday night slot all to itself.

We are of course referring to Alavés vs Getafe, as two heavyweights of the European game go head-to-head at Mendizorroza; do you think they’ve worked out we’re being sarcastic yet?

Aside from the huge 10th vs 11th clash, all other nine games are taking place on Sunday early-evening.

We start with the relegation battle, which is still alive, thanks to Cádiz’s 1-0 victory over Sevilla on Wednesday night, with Sergi Guardiola dramatically snatching victory in the 96th minute.

That’s now back-to-back victories for el Submarino Amarillo, who’d only won two of 30 outings beforehand, while that was their first away win since 9 April last year, 402 days in the making!

However, Cádiz were not done any favours by other mid-week results, with Mallorca earning a draw at Osasuna, while Celta Vigo came from a goal down to beat Athletic Club, scoring twice in three minutes.

So, Mauricio Pellegrino’s team remain four points from safety, knowing that failure to beat Las Palmas at Estadio Ramón de Carranza would see them relegated this weekend.

Also, should Mallorca beat bottom of the table Almería, and Celta Vigo win away to second-bottom Granada, both of which are entirely possible, Cádiz’s fate would be sealed, regardless of their result.

Turning our attention to the race for Europe, there’s a key fixture in the battle for Europa League qualification.

On Thursday, despite leading twice, Real Betis were held to a 2-2 draw by Las Palmas in the Canary Islands before, later that evening, Real Sociedad beat Valencia 1-0 at Anoeta, with André Silva the only scorer.

This saw la Real leapfrog Béticos into sixth, a point ahead, with both targeting a spot in the Europa League, as opposed to having to settle for seventh and Conference League qualification.

Well, it just so happens, they go head-to-head at the Benito Villamarín and, considering the pair face Atlético and Real Madrid respectively on the final day, this is likely to be a straight shootout for sixth.

Barcelona beat Almería 2-0 on Thursday, Fermín López the scorer of both at Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos, with Xavi’s team now targeting victory over Rayo Vallecano at Montjuïc that would rubber stamp second.

Atlético Madrid have won 16 of 18 home La Liga games this season, so are likely to claim another win when Osasuna visit the Metropolitano.

Valencia’s hopes of European qualification are now over, so will Champions League-bound Girona leave Mestalla victorious?

Lastly, champions Real Madrid will continue their preparations for the Champions League Final against an in-form Villarreal side, who’ve won eight of their last 11, still hoping to gatecrash the top seven, but needing a win.

bet365
bet365

Barcelona to win and over 2.5 goals

Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano


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Atlético Madrid to win and both teams to score NO

Atlético Madrid vs Osasuna


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Over 2.5 goals

Villarreal vs Real Madrid


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Under 2.5 goals

Real Betis vs Real Sociedad


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Cádiz to win

Cádiz vs Las Palmas


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Both teams to score

Valencia vs Girona


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At 24/1 a £10 bet would return £247.50!

La Liga acca of the week

Serie A

It’s also the penultimate round of fixture in Serie A, although their matches are spread across four days as normal.

First and foremost however, we must congratulate Juventus on winning the Coppa Italia, with Dušan Vlahović's goal, coming less than four minutes in Wednesday’s final, enough to down Atalanta 1-0 at the Olimpico.

This is the fifth time Massimiliano Allegri has got his hands on the Coppa as a manager, surpassing Sven-Göran Eriksson and Roberto Mancini who’ve both won four, while it is a record-extending 15th triumph for Juve, hoisting aloft the trophy six times in ten seasons.

The last few months have been miserable for la Vecchia Signora, yielding just 15 points from their last 15 Serie A games, but Juve will be back in the Champions League, and Allegri has delivered yet more silverware.

Looking ahead to the weekend, I Bianconeri are involved in an eye-catching fixture on Monday night, traveling to Bologna, a side who themselves have secured a Champions League return, I Rossoblù back in UEFA’s top-tier competition after 60 years away, so expect a party atmosphere at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.

The sub-plot to this game is that Bologna head coach Thiago Motta is Juve’s number one target, so will he pass what could be an audition?

Commencing the weekend on Friday night is a key clash in the race for European qualification, as Fiorentina, the side currently occupying the last European spot, welcome Napoli, two points below, to the Artemio Franchi.

Following last weekend’s defeat to Bologna, it’s now been confirmed that I Partenopei have put in the worst title defence of anyone since Torino in 1949/50 and, without wanting to be to jovial about it, that’s because that Grande Torino side was killed in a horrendous plane crash.

If Napoli are not going to miss out on European qualification for the first time since 2009/10, they probably need to go to Florence and win, while victory for Vincenzo Italiano’s team will see them wrap up at least eighth spot, allowing I Viola to focus on the Europa Conference League Final later this month.

Elsewhere, on Saturday, ahead of Wednesday’s Europa League Final, Atalanta can rubber stamp Champions League qualification with victory over Lecce at Stadio Via del mare

La Dea will travel to Dublin still in search of the club’s first silverware for 61 years, following that aforementioned mid-week defeat in Rome.

Lastly, in the relegation battle, Sassuolo are running out of time to save themselves, still three points from safety, desperately needing to beat Cagliari, who are only four points better off, in a huge game on Sunday.

Either side of the dreaded dotted-line, both on 32 points, are Frosinone and Empoli, who are in action simultaneously on Sunday afternoon, visiting Monza and Udinese respectively.

Speaking of I Friulani, they began the week in the drop zone but are now 15th, after Fabio Cannavaro’s team beat Lecce 2-0 on Monday, with Udinese now seeking to make sure of safety when Empoli come to town.

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bet365

Both teams to score

Fiorentina vs Napoli


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Bologna to win

Bologna vs Juventus


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Roma to win

Roma vs Genoa


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Both teams to score

Sassuolo vs Cagliari


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Over 2.5 goals

Internazionale Milano vs Lazio


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Atalanta to win

Lecce vs Atalanta


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At 29/1 a £10 bet would return £299.07!

Serie A acca of the week

Bundesliga

In the Bundesliga, we’ve reached the final game of the season, and BayArena is ready to host a first-ever trophy presentation day, as Bayer Leverkusen prepare to hoist aloft a first-ever Meisterschale on Saturday.

Last weekend, Xabi Alonso’s side smashed Bochum 5-0, making it 50 matches unbeaten, and counting, for die Werkself, who are just three games away from completing an invincible, treble-winning campaign.

This weekend, die Schwarzroten welcome Augsburg to North Rhine-Westphalia, before turning their attention to Wednesday’s Europa League Final against Atalanta, with the DFB-Pokal Final against Kaiserslautern coming up next Saturday, so will the undefeated sequence continue?

Elsewhere, all the drama of the final day revolves around the relegation battle, and we’ll address the clubs involved in ascending order.

Firstly, despite fighting back from 2-0 down to beat Union Berlin 3-2 a week ago, Köln remain second-bottom, needing to beat Heidenheim away to have any chance of sneaking into the relegationsspielen, otherwise die Geißböcke will be automatically relegated.

The aforementioned Union Berlin kick off in the relegation play-off spot, so a draw for die Eisernen will spare them automatic relegation, but would confirm it’ll be they facing Fortuna Düsseldorf in the dreaded play-offs.

So, Marco Grote’s team will be going all out to beat Freiburg at Stadion An der Alten Försterei, while this’ll be Christian Streich’s 489th and last match in charge of the visitors, who are also motivated to pick up a positive result as this would secure European qualification.

If Union are victorious, they could leapfrog Mainz and Bochum, pilling the pressure onto both of these clubs.

Since Bo Henriksen took over at Mainz, die Nullfünfer are unbeaten in eight home games, winning four of them, but they may require a first away victory of the entire campaign against Wolfsburg to stay up.

Meanwhile VfL Bochum, who are a point better off, travel to Werder Bremen, so can die Unabsteigbaren pick up the point they need at Weserstadion to secure survival, irrespective of any other results?

Towards the top of the table, Borussia Dortmund will be in action for final time before the Champions League Final in a fortnight, likely to smash already relegated Darmstadt at Westfalenstadion.

All five Champions League spots have been sown up for a few weeks, including Stuttgart, who will be back in the competition for the first time since 2009/10, so expect a party atmosphere when Sebastian Hoeneß's side host Borussia Mönchengladbach.

As has been well-documented, it’s been a trophyless season for Harry Kane but, having scored 36 goals, he will be presented with the Torjägerkanone following Bayern Munich’s trip to Hoffenheim.

His efforts have also earned him the European Golden Shoe, only the second Englishman to collect this accolade, after Kevin Phillips of Sunderland 24 years ago; there’s a pub quiz question for you.

Lastly, Eintracht Frankfurt need just a point when RB Leipzig visit Deutsche Bank Park to rubber stamp sixth.

If Bayer win the Pokal Final, eighth would be enough for European qualification, which is great news for Hoffenheim and Freiburg, currently seventh and eighth, although Heidenheim, Augsburg and Werder Bremen could all sneak into the top eight on a busy final day.

bet365
bet365

Bayer Leverkusen to win and over 2.5 goals

Bayer Leverkusen vs Augsburg


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Harry Kane to score anytime and both teams to score

Hoffenheim vs Bayern Munich


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Borussia Dortmund to win and over 2.5 goals

Borussia Dortmund vs Darmstadt


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Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals

Eintracht Frankfurt vs RB Leipzig


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Stuttgart to win and Serhou Guirassy to score anytime

Stuttgart vs Borussia Mönchengladbach


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Union Berlin to win

Union Berlin vs Freiburg


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At 22/1 a £10 bet would return £226.50!

Bundesliga acca of the week

Ligue 1

It’s also the final day of the season over in Ligue 1, with the complete set of nine denouement fixtures all taking place on Sunday night, with a fair few issues still to be resolved.

Paris Saint-Germain wrapped up the title a long while ago but, even if they beat Metz on the road, their tally of 76 points would be the lowest point-per-game (2.24) they’ve won the league with in nine seasons.

Luis Enrique has the lowest win rate (63.27%) of any les Parisiens manager since Antoine Kombouaré, the first man sacked during the Qatari era, swiftly replaced by Carlo Ancelotti 13 years ago.

Monaco will also join PSG in next season’s Champions League league phase, but third place is up for grabs.

Lille will secure their Champions League return by beating Nice at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, with les Aiglons’ defeat to PSG in mid-week guaranteeing they will finish fifth and enter the Europa League.

Should les Dogues slip-up, the Brest will leapfrog them, if they better Lille’s result, with Éric Roy’s team traveling to Toulouse.

Brest had never finished higher than eighth in their entire history, but will compete in the Champions League later this year, featuring in any UEFA competition for the first time, seeking to sneak into third, thereby entering directly, otherwise les Pirates will debut in the third qualifying round, facing some seasoned campaigners.

Just below, Lens will be targeting at least point when Montpellier visit Stade Bollaert-Delelis as this’ll secure a second successive season of European football for les Sang et Or.

If Olympique Lyonnais avoid defeat at home to Strasbourg, they too will be back in Europe, despite having been rock bottom when Pierre Sage took over in December, winning 14 of 19 games subsequently.

No team has picked up more Ligue 1 points in 2024 than Lyon, who also have next weekend’s Coupe de France Final against PSG to look forward to.

Olympique de Marseille’s mid-week defeat to Reims all but ended their hopes of European qualification.

Les Phocéens have only missed out on Europe thrice in the last two decades, but OM must beat Le Havre and hope at least one of Lens or Lyon are defeated concurrently to sneak into the top seven.

At the bottom, while only Clermont Foot’s fate is mathematically sealed, the rest is more or less set in stone too.

Lorient are 17th, three points below Metz in the relegation play-off spot, but with a goal difference that is seven inferior.

Although, given that les Merlus host rock-bottom Clermont and Metz take on PSG, perhaps that eight-goal swing is possible; should the duo end up level on points and goal-difference, Metz would finish higher courtesy of the sixth tiebreaker: head-to-head away goals scored (3-2).

Le Havre aren’t mathematically safe, but sit three points clear of Metz and with a goal-difference that is 11 better, meaning les Ciel et Marine supporters probably feel quite relaxed.

bet365
bet365

Paris Saint-Germain to win and over 2.5 goals

Metz vs Paris Saint-Germain


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Lyon to win

Olympique Lyonnais vs Strasbourg


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Lille to win

LOSC Lille vs Nice


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Lens to win

Lens vs Montpellier


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Lorient to win

Lorient vs Clermont Foot


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Monaco to win

Monaco vs Nantes


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Both teams to score

Toulouse vs Stade Brestois


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At 24/1 a £10 bet would return £245.49!

Ligue 1 acca of the week

Anything else?

Intercontinental Derby title decider

Looking farther afield for this weekend’s any other business section, the hottest title race in all of Europe could be settled this weekend, with two rounds of fixtures still to play in the Süper Lig.

The most points any side has ever earned in a Turkish top-flight campaign was 93, achieved by Fener in 1989, but it’s more than likely that two clubs will smash that record this season.

Back on Christmas Eve, or Sunday is it’s known in these parts, considering 99.8% of the population are muslim, the country’s big two played out a goalless draw in the Intercontinental Derby at Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium.

Well, since then, Galatasaray have won all 18 Süper Lig fixtures, meaning Okan Buruk’s side now have 99 points on the board, winning 32 of 36 fixtures overall, losing just once.

Fenerbahçe meanwhile, should they win their final two matches, would end the campaign on 99 points, also beaten only once so far, but İsmail Kartal’s team are six points adrift, simply needing to win to keep alive their faint hopes of the title.

Thus, if Gala avoid defeat in the Kıtalararası Derbi at the Ali Sami Yen, then they would retain the title, doing so against their fiercest rivals.

This one kicks off at 5pm (BST) or 7pm (TRT), so if the final day of the Premier League season isn’t going your way or isn’t that interesting, perhaps this one is worth tuning into.

bet365
bet365

Galatasaray to win

1st selection


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Both teams to score

2nd selection


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Mauro Icardi to score anytime

3rd selection


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At 5/1, a £10 bet would return £60

Galatasaray vs Fenerbahçe

Ben Gray

Ben Gray

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