Bayer Leverkusen v Schalke – Bay Arena at 16:30 live on BT Sport Europe
Bayer Leverkusen’s Champions League campaign looks as good as over after a deeply disappointing 1-1 draw at BATE Borisov on Tuesday night. Roger Schmidt’s side must now beat Barcelona and hope Roma slip up at home to the Belarusians to stand any chance of progression.
It’s a tall order for Die Werkself who are suffering from a galling lack of consistency this season. Leverkusen haven’t put together a winning sequence longer than two games in 2015/16 and enter the weekend on the back of a W3-D4-L4 return from their past 10. For a side with top-three aspirations and intentions to figure in the Champions League knockout stages, it’s simply not good enough.
Bayer have finished in the top-three just once in the past four campaigns and despite all the promise shown in performances under Schmidt, they’re coming up short. The high-energy pressing and all-out attacking game the Austrian employs is fantastic entertainment for a neutral but the lack of results are making the locals a little restless.
Nevertheless, Die Werkself have been a popular and profitable team to follow in the goals markets of late. That Champions League stalemate represented the ninth game in 11 fixtures that have featured both sides scoring with the average goals across all 11 matches a huge 3.91.
Despite all six of their Bundesliga matches at the BayArena coming against bottom-half dwellers, Leverkusen have kept a solitary clean sheet (W3-D1-L2) and are unlikely to be able to keep out a Schalke side that’s scored in all bar one of their away days.
The Royal Blues are in their own mini-rut but caused Bayern Munich plenty of problems in Gelsenkirchen during their most recent Bundesliga outing. But having conceded at least three goals in four of their five domestic trips to top-five clubs under Andre Breitenreiter, getting a result on Sunday looks a tall order.
Schalke have lost 13/23 (57%) of their away domestic fixtures since the start of last season whilst Leverkusen have won 13/23 (57%) home ties in the same sample. But 1.68 quotes on a home success equate to around a 59.5% chance of winning, leaving little wriggleroom for value hunters.
Instead, the goals market looks the best avenue for profit. Over 3 Goals has been chalked up at 2.13 and that seems more than fair. Leverkusen have at least reached the three-goal threshold in 13 of their last 18 since late-August with Schalke joining them in seven of their previous 10 pre-Thursday night’s Europa League tie with APOEL.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 3 Goals at 2.13
Prices correct at time of writing.
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