Union Berlin v Bayern Munich
It may not have been a Bundesliga game, but Bayern’s 5-0 German Cup hammering at Borussia Monchengladbach still sent shockwaves around Europe, with it being the Bavarian giants’ biggest defeat since 1978!
It was a first-choice team as well, which made it all the more mystifying to Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic, who reacted by saying: “I’m absolutely shocked. We simply didn’t turn up.”
“Everything that could go wrong went wrong. We let ourselves be outplayed in every situation – a collective blackout.”
It was just a second loss for new Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann – who was self-isolating following a positive Covid-19 test and would have felt even worse watching that game. While it was the first time Bayern had failed to score for 85 games.
Bayern suffer the heaviest defeat in their #DFBPokal history 😮
— The DFB-Pokal (@DFBPokal_EN) October 27, 2021
All that means that a response is needed at Union Berlin this Saturday, but it may not be so straightforward as the hosts have only lost once this season and are unbeaten in their own stadium – keeping clean sheets in their last four in all competitions.
Bayern usually respond to any setback with a glut of goals, as they did to their recent loss against Frankfurt (with 4-0, 4-0 and 5-1 wins) but they’ve not kept an away clean sheet in the league all season, so there’s definitely a glimmer of hope for the hosts.
8/1 on a home win suggests they will have little chance of engineering another upset though, with perhaps just getting a goal and keeping the score relatively close their best hope. Bayern to win and both teams to score comes in at 11/8.
Barcelona v Alaves
Bayern may have lost 5-0, but Barcelona lost their manager this week as Ronald Koeman was finally sacked after a turbulent 14 months in charge of the club he played for with such distinction. Given what’s going on off the field it was always going to be a poisoned chalice with little chance of surviving given the circumstances.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for Koeman, who made a few strange choices but was never going to be given the time or financial backing of his predecessors, and Barca must now accept that with their finances in tatters they just can’t compete with the big boys around Europe for now.
Barca had been mauled in the Champions League but unbeaten in La Liga until recently, with defeats to champions Atletico Madrid and fierce rivals Real Madrid turning the screw before a loss to the third team in Madrid – Rayo Vallecano – saw the end for Koeman.
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) October 27, 2021
After three defeats in four now, Barcelona B team coach Sergi Barjuan takes temporary charge of a Barcelona side sitting in ninth and six points behind fourth-place and in serious danger of missing out on the Champions League next season. Given their financial problems that’d be a disaster.
Alaves may be down in 16th but they’re in better form than Barcelona right now, having collected all of their nine points in their last five games, which started with a 1-0 win over champions Atletico. All three of their wins have been 1-0 in fact, with five of their last six games ending in that scoreline one way or another.
With just five goals, Alaves don’t really pose much of an attacking threat, and their games have hardly been exciting this season – their last nine games have seen just one team score and eight of those have gone under 2.5 goals.
So, expect a response from Barcelona at the Nou Camp but they might make hard work of it, with a home win and under 3.5 goals at 5/4 looking the best option.
Lyon v Lens
Lyon were title challengers last season but it’s Lens leading the way in the chasing pack behind runaway leaders Paris St-Germain this time around as they visit the seven-time French champions on Saturday night.
Lens are seven points behind PSG after Mauricio Pochettino’s side dropped five points in their last three games, and they could be even closer had they not lost 1-0 to Montpellier recently in a game they’ll feel they should’ve won.
A trip to Lyon is the third hardest in Ligue 1 so far this season as the hosts are unbeaten in seven competitive outings, but if any team can prosper at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais it’s a Lens outfit that have won more points on the road this season than anyone bar PSG.
— Ligue1 English (@Ligue1_ENG) October 25, 2021
In truth, Lens will be looking over their shoulder in the race for Champions League places rather than above them at PSG, especially after missing out on a spot in Europe by just a point last term – and banging in the goals has been their preferred method of play this season.
Only Nice and PSG have scored more than Franck Haise’s side, while Lyon have scored in 15 straight Ligue 1 home games and netted three goals in four of their last six at home in all competitions. Lens have scored three times in two of their last three away games.
That all adds up to goals so back both teams to score and over three goals at 15/8.
Roma v AC Milan
This Serie A title race could turn out to be the best in Europe this season and there’s another huge game on Sunday as title-chasers AC Milan face fourth-placed Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.
Milan moved three points clear at the top of the table after a midweek win over Torino before dropping back to second on goal difference when Napoli beat Bologna on Thursday to join them on 28 points, with both sides unbeaten so far this season.
Jose Mourinho’s side are nine points behind after just two wins in five. Those other three games though were tough ones with defeats against Juventus and Lazio in the Rome derby, along with a draw with Napoli.
Nothing was going to stop Jose on Sunday 😂
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) October 26, 2021
Roma are still unbeaten at home as well, and with four wins from five and just two goals conceded they’ll be a tough nut for Milan to crack as they’ll try to stifle Stefano Pioli’s side just as they did with Napoli.
Mourinho’s men had just 38% possession in that game while picking up four yellow cards and the manager went one better and got himself sent off! Watch out for another trademark Mourinho performance in another big game he dare not lose.
Under 2.5 goals at 11/10 here looks like the way to go immediately but the draw, priced up at 13/5, also looks appealing as Milan’s one draw this season came at Juventus and they’d probably take a point against Mourinho’s Roma.
Jose has already shown he’ll take a 0-0 at home against one of the title chasers this season and he’ll be ready to park the bus again if he has to.