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SPORTS: Weekend European Football Previews.

Arminia Bielefeld – Borussia Dortmund

The team from Bielefeld is the only one, besides Greuther Furth, that has not registered a victory  in the Bundesliga this season.

Arminia drew five times in eight rounds while losing three matches. Like last season, they are playing very hard, but efficiency is still a burning issue for this team. Arminia scored only 4 goals in eight games. 

Darwin’s Tree of Life (just think).

Just for comparison, Dortmund’s leading scorer Erling Haaland has scored nine goals himself this season, but unfortunately for the guests, he is on the injury list just like nine other Borussia’s players.

Last season, Dortmund defeated Arminia both times, with 5-0 in total. (MM)

Player to watch: Erling Haaland may be out but Marco Reus is not. 2 goals, 2 assists in 7 appearances. Solid.

Odds:  Ariminia (+500) | Draw ( +350) | Borussia Dortmund (-200)

Bayern Munich – Hoffenheim

In just seven days, Bayern showed that the hopes of its rivals were in vain. Their surprising defeat by Eintracht was, obviously, just a bad day. Last week, Bayern roared past Leverkusen, winning by 5-1. In the Champions League, they faced Benfica in Lisbon, and even though the hosts were a tough opponent for most of the match, the Bavarians won by 4-0. After three rounds in the group phase, Bayern has a perfect record with a 12-0 goal difference.

So, what is there for Hoffenheim to hope for? They are coming off a 5-0 win over Cologne last week but will probably leave Allianz Arena with ‘empty pockets’.

Player to watch:  Robert Lewandowski went through a rough stretch where he did not score a goal. Ok, it was two games. For him, that’s an eternity. Look for him to add more to the ledger. (MM)

Odds: Bayern (-700) | Draw (+800) | Hoffenheim (+1400)

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Barcelona – Real Madrid 

Barcelona is hosting Real Madrid on Sunday in the first ‘El Clasico’ in the post-Leo Messi era.

Both teams have had ups and downs since the beginning of the season but are coming off Champions League victories. 

This week, Barcelona defeated Dynamo Kiev 1-0 at Camp Nou while Real demolished Shakhtar in Donetsk by 5-0.

Barcelona is currently seventh in La Liga standings with 15 points. Ronald Koeman’s squad has four wins, three draws and one loss in the first eight rounds of the Spanish championship.

On the other side will be Real who is second on the table, three points shy from Real Sociedad and one game less having a record of five wins, two draws and one loss. (MM)

Player to watch: Will the Mathieu Valbuena blackmail trial be a distraction for Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema? Probably not.

Odds:  Barcelona (+175) | Draw (+260) | Real Madrid (+145)

Manchester United – Liverpool

One of the biggest rivalries in football shouldn’t disappoint unless Ole decides to park the bus, which he probably won’t since his claim to managerial fame is returning the Red Devils to football “the United way.” So expect an open game with goals on both ends. 

Solskjaer is under pressure, despite squeaking past Atalanta thanks to the human goal machine, aka CR7. 

An ugly loss to Liverpool could be too much for the United Board (tho probably not). Klopp knocked out the previous Man U manager. Will the “Baby Faced Assasin” be next? Stay tuned. (ML)

Player to watch: Bruno Fernandes. He’s the key. When he links the front and the back effectively, United can beat anyone. With the squad they have, they should.

Odds: Man Utd (+210) | Draw (+260) | Liverpool (+120)

Roma – Napoli

There couldn’t be a worse time for Roma to host the Serie A leader Napoli, after a 6-1 devastating loss in the Europa Conference League to Bodo Glimt from Norway. That was the toughest loss in Jose Mourinho’s 1008 games in his career. To make the pressure even bigger, Roma is coming off a 1-0 loss to Juventus in the last Serie A round.

Napoli, meanwhile, couldn’t dream of a better start of the season especially in the domestic championship. Luciano Spalletti’s squad has a perfect record after eight rounds with a goal difference 19-3. 

Unlike Roma, Napoli had a successful week in Europe after a 3-0 win over Legia Warsaw. (MM)

Player to watch: Tammy Abraham played an important role in Roma’s solid start. He’s sputtered of late, and so have Roma. (MM)

Odds: Roma (+190) | Draw (+240) | Napoli (+140)

Inter – Juventus

The match between Inter and Juventus will give an answer to many questions as the two last Italian champions meet in a highly expected match.

Inter is not playing as well as expected, which was obvious in the last round losing 3-1 to Lazio.

At the moment, Simone Inzaghi’s team is in third place on the table, being seven points behind first-placed Napoli, which is a lot at this point of the season.

As for Juventus, after the disastrous start of the season, the “old lady” is slowly but surely providing better performances and is currently in seventh place. The good news for the ‘bianconeri’ is that they won the last four games, the last one 1-0 against Roma. (MM)

Player to watch: Edin Dzeko. 

Odds: Inter (+105) | Draw (+260) | Juventus (+240)

WORDS: Marko Mitevski: Marc Landas.

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