RB Leipzig 1-1 Paderborn: Relegation strugglers cause late shock

This afternoon we once again came to learn the lesson that football has been trying to teach us for years now – you can never count out the underdog. RB Leipzig were tipped as the runaway favourites to beat Paderborn and continue their march towards the UEFA Champions League, but instead, they were pegged back late in the game as the visitors gave themselves a glimmer of hope that they can complete the great escape.

One step beyond

Following some early nerves it seemed as if Leipzig were starting to settle into the game around 20-25 minutes into proceedings, and they made their growing pressure count as Patrik Schick put them into the lead in the 27th minute.

Unfortunately, they were unable to see out the half with 11 men as Dayot Upamecano was given a second yellow card for kicking the ball away. While the popular opinion may be to suggest that it was a silly reason to give a yellow card, a player like Upamecano, who has a lot of eyes on him right now, should know better.

They couldn’t, could they?

Paderborn slowly but surely grew into the game from that point on, with Leipzig really hanging on at certain points. Late in the game it felt like they were starting to ride it out and even threatened to counter for a second goal, and with a few minutes remaining, that so nearly happened when Timo Werner rounded the onrushing goalkeeper – only to put his effort wide of the post.

That proved to be incredibly costly as Christian Strohdiek scored a dramatic late equaliser to not only give Paderborn a point, but to seriously damage the confidence of a Leipzig side that held on for half the game with ten men. The hosts will now turn their attention towards two more big games in quick succession against Hoffenheim and Dusseldorf, whereas Paderborn will attempt to prove that they’re deadly serious about staying in the Bundesliga this season with a home game against Werder Bremen next Saturday and a visit to take on Union Berlin on Tuesday 16th.

Match Report

RB Leipzig: Gulacsi (7), Angelino (6.5), Upamecano (4), Klostermann (6.5), Mukiele (7.5), Kampl (7), Adams (7), Nkunku (6.5), Olmo (7), Schick (7.5), Werner (7.5), Haidara (6), Orban (6), Halstenberg (6.5), Laimer (6)

Paderborn: Zingerle (7), Jans (6.5), Strohdiek (7.5), Hunemeier (6.5), Collins (6.5), Vasiliadis (7), Gjasula (6.5), Proger (7), Srbeny (6), Antwi-Adjei (6.5), Mamba (6), Evans (6.5), Sabiri (6.5), Zolinski (6), Michel (6.5), Ritter (6.5)

Referee: Deniz Aytekin

Goals: Schick, Strohdiek

Yellow Cards: Upamecano x2, Mamba, Gjasula, Strohdiek, Hunemeier

Red Cards: Upamecano

Bayer Leverkusen 2-4 Bayern Munich: Champions now nine points ahead with thumping victory

The relentless goal machine that is Bayern Munich continued their Bundesliga assault with a thumping 4-2 comeback win against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday afternoon.

Lucas Alario actually gave Leverkusen the perfect start as he broke the offside trap and slotted past Manuel Neuer, with VAR eventually awarding his opening strike. Kingsley Coman equalised just before the half-hour mark as his rapid pace took him beyond the Bayer defence to stroke home.

The equaliser seemed to jolt Bayern into life as quickfire strikes from Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry seemingly put them in control. A Robert Lewandowski header after the break saw the Pole notch his 30th Bundesliga goal of the season before youngster Florian Wirtz reduced the arrears late on but it mattered not as Bayern claimed a thumping three points.

Champions pegged back

With two of the best footballing sides in the Bundesliga going head to head, it was no surprise to see the game open at an exciting pace. The hosts even took the lead within the opening ten minutes as Julian Baumgartlinger managed to prod the ball on towards Alario, who raced beyond the Bayern defence. With a cool finish, the Argentine poked the ball underneath Neuer. The offside flag originally appeared to deny him his 11th league goal of the season but VAR correctly awarded the strike.

Predictably, it was the Bundesliga’s top scorer Robert Lewandowski who had the next opportunity in the first-half. Leon Gortezka’s lofted pass reached Coman, who attempted to nod towards the unmarked Pole. However, he could not get enough power from just a few yards out, allowing Lukáš Hrádecký to collect.

Coman fires Bayern level

Hansi Flick’s men were level not long after though as Goretzka nicked the ball in midfield and played through Coman one-on-one. With Hradceky advancing, the Frenchman coolly converted into the far corner of the net with a low finish.

The visitors then got another before the break as Goretzka’s tremendous form continued. Breaking from a Bayer attack, Coman flicked the ball to Muller, who in turn passed to Goretzka. The midfielder took his time before pulling the ball across Hradecky and into the far corner.

Serge Gnabry could have notched another for Bayern as he was played through but he could not beat the keeper. He made no mistake only seconds later as Joshua Kimmich’s perfect long-ball picked out the former Arsenal man. With Hradecky sprinting out of his goal, a fantastic chip was all that was required for Gnabry’s 19th goal of the season.

Champions run riot

Peter Bosz must have been furious with his side’s showing as at the break, he made three changes, bringing on Kerem Demirbay, Wendell and Florian Wirtz. Chances continued to come for Bayern to make the scoreline even more emphatic though as Muller and Gnabry wasted opportunities.

Lewandowski did eventually get on the scoresheet as more sloppy play from the hosts saw Bayern break. Coman’s initial cross was blocked but fell to Muller, who produced a perfect centre towards his strike partner. He then scored with a powerful header for his 30th league goal of the campaign.

Despite cruising in the last few moments, Bayern were given another reality check by the hosts as they bookended the scoring. 17-year-old Wirtz was afforded far too much space in the penalty area to check back onto his left foot and curl a great effort beyond the grasp of Neuer to conclude what was another fantastic match and victory for the reigning champions.

Final Thoughts

Ahead of the game, it looked like it would be an entertaining and enthralling clash and that is exactly what happened. Both sides displayed great commitment to attacking football and it looked like Bayern would be in some trouble as Alario scored the opener. The champions reacted well though, with their considerable talents proving just too much for the hosts. Flick’s troops now look sure to lift the Bundesliga, meanwhile Bayer will hope to get back on form as they aim to secure a UEFA Champions League place.

Match Report

Bayer Leverkusen: Hradecky (6); Dragovic (6), Bender (6), Tapsoba (5); Amiri (5) (Wirtz (6), 45′), Aranguiz (6), Baumgartlinger (6) (Paulinho (6), 62′), Bellarabi (4) (Demirbay (6), 45′); Bailey (5) (Wendell (6), 45′), Alario (7) (Volland (N/A), 76′), Diaby (6).

Bayern Munich: Neuer (6); Davies (7) (Hernandez (N/A), 85′), Alaba (7), Boateng (6), Pavard (7), Goretzka (7) (Martinez (6), 74′), Kimmich (7); Gnabry (7) (Thiago (6), 74′), Muller (8), Coman (7) (Perisic (), 66′); Lewandowski ().

Goals: Alario (9′), Coman (27′), Goretzka (42′), Gnabry (45′), Lewandowski (66′) Wirtz (89′)

Referee: Manuel Grafe

Yellow Cards: Coman (8′), Amiri (30′), Lewandowski (32′ ), Bellarabi (35′), Muller (40′)

Red Cards: N/A

Barcelona confident in Martinez deal

Barcelona are confident in their ability to secure the signing of Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez this summer after a long chase, according to a recent report from Mundo Deportivo.

The potential move that would see the Inter striker make the jump over to the Nou Camp has been heavily reported for quite some time now, with the masses believing that it’s only a matter of time before it edges over the finish line.

Now, Barca are hoping to include Junior Firpo in the deal which could wind up being the catalyst behind the move being confirmed. Regardless of whether or not that proves to be the case, though, you can sense the desperation within Barca’s ranks to get this done by any means necessary.

It’s going to be a slow burn process and while many people understand that, others want to get this signed, sealed and delivered before this season ends – if that’s even possible.

No Barcelona exit for Dembele?

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele is not expected to leave the club this summer, despite many reports indicating otherwise.

“I don’t expect Dembele to leave Barcelona this summer,” Dembele’s agent told L’Equipe.

High expectations had been set in the wake of Dembele’s arrival at the Nou Camp, but as a result of inconsistent form mixed in with some injuries, he hasn’t quite been able to have the sort of tenure that many were hoping for.

Liverpool had previously been linked with signing him this summer, but now, it appears as if that interest is starting to fizzle out. Many fans have been focusing on the Reds’ failed pursuit of Timo Werner in the last few days, and with this news also coming out, it feels like there’s a trend starting for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

They’re still one of the best teams in Europe, but whether or not they have that mainstream appeal remains to be seen.

Robin van Persie Sent Off In Arsenal’s Defeat to Barcelona in 2010/11 Champions League (Video)

Arsenal had beaten Barcelona at the Emirates in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 by 2-1, but lost the rematch at the Camp Nou by 3-1 and were consequently knocked out.

Lionel Messi had given the Catalans the lead in the dying seconds of the first half, only to see it cancelled out by a Sergio Busquets own-goal. Even though Barcelona were dominating the proceedings, the aggregate score was still favoring Arsenal when Robin van Persie received his second yellow card of the evening and was sent off for kicking the ball after the referee had stopped the game.

The Gunners striker tried to tell the referee that it was impossible for him to hear the whistle with over 99,000 people in the stands making extreme noise, but it was no use.

A goal by Xavi Hernandez and a second one by Messi eventually produced the needed result for Barcelona to progress.

 

Both teams to score at Augsburg vs Koln 3/5 for Sunday’s Bundesliga battle

Competition: Bundesliga

Market: Both teams to score

Odds: 3/5 @ Bet 365

In what should be a lively contest on Sunday evening, Augsburg will welcome Koln to the WWK Arena in a battle between two sides struggling to find their feet following a return to action last month.

Starting with the hosts, despite picking up what was an eye-catching 3-0 romp away at a struggling Schalke last month, Augsburg have failed to build off of that result and are desperate to find some stability. Still holding just a four-point buffer over the relegation play-off spot and with just a sole Bundesliga win to their name since February 1st, there is no doubt that Head Coach Heiko Herrlich will be calling on his side to make some much-needed alterations on home soil. Including marking their return from the enforced break with an injury-time defeat against Wolfsburg, the Whites have won just one of their six matchups at the WWK Arena since opening 2020, a run that has also seen them drop points against rock-bottom Paderborn.

As for the visitors, hit with a 4-2 defeat at home against RB Leipzig last week, Koln find themselves in the midst of a real struggle since returning from the enforced break and Markus Gisdol’s men are yet to record a single victory since marking their return. While leading marksman Jhon Córdoba might have once again found the net last weekend and continued on his own eye-catching purple patch, the Billy Goats have shown plenty of issues at the back. Along with being blown away by Leipzig, Sunday’s guests have shipped seven goals in their back-to-back defeats and have now conceded over 1.5 goals in each of their appearances since returning to action. In a matchup that should see chances at either end of the pitch, we’re backing another lively contest at the WWK Arena this weekend.

Bet: Both teams to score at Augsburg vs Koln 3/5 for Sunday’s Bundesliga battle @ Bet 365

Over 2.5 goals at Shakhtyor vs Energetyk-BGU 8/11 for Sunday’s Belarusian Premier League matchup

Competition: Belarusian Premier League

Market: Over 2.5 goals

Odds: 8/11 @ Bet 365

In a real matchup between two sides in the midst of a stunning run of form since opening June, Europa League contenders Shakhtyor and Energetyk-BGU will face off on Sunday evening.

Starting with the hosts, picking up a deserved 1-0 win against Dinamo Minsk on the road last week, the mood in Shakhtyor’s camp only continues to soar. Within touching distance of breaking into the top-three, the Yellows are unbeaten since the middle of April and have now won six of their last seven appearances. Along with continuing to shine in the final third, a run highlighted by a 4-0 romp against a struggling Belshina in their last matchup on home soil, Yuriy Vernydub’s men have also gained a stellar reputation across the Premier League for their recent displays at the back. Winning each of their previous four outings at the Stadyen Budaŭnik and scoring an eye-catching 14 goals on their recent purple patch, Shakhtyor have shipped just a trio of top-flight goals since opening the new campaign and comfortably hold the best defensive tally since opening June.

As for the visitors, while Energetyk-BGU might have been hugely disappointed to have seen Vitebsk snatch a dramatic extra-time equalizer in what was a 3-3 thriller, the mood in their camp should also be at continued high. Knowing that three points this weekend could potentially see them sneak to the top of the table, the Whites have collected 10 points out of a possible 12 over the past month and have continued to gain a reputation for their stellar performances in front of goal. Including back-to-back 2-1 victories on the road against Isloch and another European chaser in Slutsk, the Students have bagged at least a pair of goals in their last five Premier League matches on the spin. With each of the last four meetings between the two sides seeing over 2.5 goals, including a seven-goal thriller the last time they met at the Stadyen Budaŭnik, we’re backing a similar outcome this weekend.

Bet: Over 2.5 goals at Shakhtyor vs Energetyk-BGU 8/11 for Sunday’s Belarusian Premier League matchup @ Bet 365

Liverpool monitoring Sancho

Having withdrawn from their pursuit of Timo Werner, who is now poised to join Chelsea, Liverpool are monitoring developments concerning Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, according to the Independent journalist Miguel Delaney.

The Reds looked set to boost their attacking ranks with the addition of Werner, but they eventually refused to meet his release clause, which is where Chelsea apparently saw their chance. Liverpool still need to add an attacking player and Sancho seems to be the next name on their list.

The 20-year-old winger is also being pursued by Manchester United, but Liverpool’s interest seems to have complicated the matter for them. Sancho sees Liverpool as the more attractive destination at the moment, with his representatives not believing the time to be ripe for answering the summons of Real Madrid. Champions League qualification is another factor working in Liverpool’s favour at the moment, especially if Manchester City’s two-year ban is overturned which would significantly reduce United’s chances of reaching UEFA’s elite club competition.

However, given that they gave up on Werner for financial reasons, it’s hard to expect the Premier League leaders to pay even more for Sancho right now. They would be likelier to try and persuade him to stay at Dortmund for another year, before making their move next summer.

Torpedo BelAZ 5/4 to beat Slutsk in Saturday’s Belarusian Premier League contest

Competition: Belarusian Premier League

Market: Torpedo BelAZ win

Odds: 5/4 @ Bet 365

With their sights firmly set on securing a European finish this season, a high-flying Torpedo BelAZ will travel to a downbeat Slutsk on Saturday lunchtime.

Starting with the hosts, putting in another sluggish display last weekend and hit with a 1-0 defeat away at Minsk, Slutsk have come crashing back down to earth after a remarkable start to the year. Freefalling away from the European spots and collecting just a single point out of a possible 12 over their past four Premier League appearances, Head Coach Vitaliy Pavlov will be most concerned by his side’s continued issues in front of goal. Drawing another blank last week, Slutsk have managed to land just a single strike in over 300 minutes of action. With just a sole win at the Stadyen Haradski in their last five attempts and hit with a 2-1 defeat the last time they hosted Saturday’s guests, Pavlov’s strugglers could be in for another long lunchtime time this week.

As for the visitors, while Slutsk might find the mood in their camp at a season-low, Torpedo BelAZ made a returning to winning ways last weekend and have continued on a stellar start to the new campaign. Knowing that three points on Saturday could see them break into the Europa League spots after just missing out on a top-three finish last season, the Whites once again impressed with a 2-1 win over Smolevichy-STI last time out. Appearing to bounce back from their shock defeat away at Neman Grodno last month, that is Torpedo BelAZ’s sole Premier League defeat in their last eight appearances, a run that stems back to April 3rd. With leading marksman Felipe Veloso bagging three goals in his last four outings, we’re backing what should be a golden chance for Yuri Puntus’ side to extend on their recent purple patch.

Bet: Torpedo BelAZ 5/4 to beat Slutsk in Saturday’s Belarusian Premier League contest @ Bet 365

Under 2.5 goals at Isloch vs Ruh Brest 3/4 for Saturday’s Belarusian Premier League matchup

Competition: Belarusian Premier League

Market: Under 2.5 goals

Odds: 3/4 @ Bet 365

In a real battle between two sides struggling to pick up maximum points, Premier League debutants Ruh Brest will make the trip to the Stadyen Haradski on Saturday afternoon.

Starting with the hosts, despite putting in a plucky display against runaway leaders BATE last week, Isloch were hit with a 1-0 defeat on the road and struggled to make much of an impact in the final third once again. Failing to build off a bright start to the new campaign and now losing each of their last three Premier League matches on the bounce, Head Coach Vitaly Zhukovsky has been vocal about his side’s problems in front of goal. Along with collecting just three points out of a possible 15 over their past five top-flight outings, Isloch have recorded just a single Premier League strike in over 300 minutes and Saturday should prove to be another low-scoring encounter for the Minsk based outfit.

As for the visitors, still struggling to pick up maximum points since opening the new campaign and playing out a stalemate in five of their last seven top-flight outings, the Blues also put in a season-worst display against defending champions Dinamo Brest last time out. Much like the hosts, the Premier League debutants have also continued to show their own worrying issues in the final third. With no side outside the drop zone holding a worse attacking return entering June, Ruh Brest have managed to score over a single goal in just one of their six matches on the road. In the first official meeting between the two sides this weekend, we’re backing what should be a cagey encounter at the Stadyen Haradski on Saturday afternoon.

Bet: Under 2.5 goals at Isloch vs Ruh Brest 3/4 for Saturday’s Belarusian Premier League matchup @ Bet 365