Borussia Dortmund vs. Hannover (25/10/2014)
Kick Off: 14:30
Dortmund are becoming somewhat of an enigma that even a great football manager like Jurgen Klopp is struggling to fathom. The difference between their domestic form and their form in the Champions League could not be more stark – it absolutely could not. Let’s begin wight the positives of Dortmund’s season thus far, they sit pretty at the top of their Champions League group and are yet to concede a goal in 3 games, the most recent victory being a resounding 4-0 victory away to Galatasaray, a renowned ‘difficult place to go’. Barring an absolute hammering from Premier League Arsenal in math day 5 they look likely to gain top spot and a favourable draw in the round of 16; add to that the returns from injury of club talisman Marco Reus, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and the exceptionally talented İlkay Gündoğan (after over a year out) and it is looks as if Dortmund’s season is going quite swimmingly and that there is plenty of room for optimism. Then one glances at the Bundesliga and jaws drop with immediate effect. They sit 1 point (yes, 1) out of the relegation zone and have lost their last 3 in a row in the league. This should change this weekend however as they face a Hannover side who are struggling with defensive injuries and who lost 4-0 in their last away fixture.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund Win (3-1)
Derby County vs. Wigan (25/10/2014)
Kick Off: 15:00
Competition: The Championship
Venue: Pride Park Stadium
This season looks as if Derby aren’t suffering from any hangover from last seasons setbacks. Suffering heartbreak in last years play off final courtesy of a last minute winner against 10 men QPR would have meant a slump in form at the beginning of this season would have been understandable. However this hasn’t been the case, they have gone strength to strength and look favourites to secure automatic promotion to the Premier League. After 13 games they sit 1 point clear at the top of the table, and frontman Chris Martin is in great form with 9 league goals already this campaign, joint highest in the league. Derby are unbeaten in their last 5 home matches, conceding only 3 goals in the process. Their opponents Wigan on the other hand are not in the best of form, especially away from home where they haven’t won any of their last 5 on the road, and that doesn’t look like changing come this Saturday afternoon.
Prediction: Derby County Win (2-0)
Valencia vs. Elche (25/10/2014)
Kick Off: 19:00
Competition: Liga BBVA
Venue: Mestalla Stadium
If results go their way this weekend, Valencia could find themselves second in La Liga. If you would have said at the beginning of the season that Valencia, a team that missed out on Europe totally last season, would be second in the league after 9 games, not many would have taken you seriously. But if they beat relegation threatened Elche that could well become the case. Valencia have 5 wins from their opening 8 games, which included a 3-1 win over current league holders Athletico Madrid, and have a striker in Paco Alcacer who is playing in great from, form which has earth him calls to play for the Spanish national side, which is no mean feat. On the other side of the coin, they play host to Elche who have struggled as many predicted they would and currently languish in the relegation zone with just one win and a paltry five points. Only Deportivo and Levante have conceded more goals than Elche’s 18 in their first eight league games, and it looks as if its going to be a long season for the team and their fans. With the Clasico this weekend, Valencia have to pick up point at times like this, in games like this, if they are going to have even a faint chance of an unlikely sustained challenge at the La Liga title.
Prediction: Valencia Win (3-0)
Juventus vs. Palermo (26/10/2014)
Kick Off: 14:00
Competition: Serie A
Venue: Juventus Stadium
Juventus are a weird team sometimes. They are so strong domestically, where they regularly turn teams over and are serial winners of the championship that has culminated in them winning Serie A on three consecutive occasions in the last 3 seasons, however in Europe yet again they are struggling to take that form into the Champions League. This has shown in recent weeks, where a recent draw away at Sassuolo aside, they have had a prefect record which included a win over their closest rivals for the Scudetto in the form of Roma. Yet during this run they have lost away to both Athletico Madrid and Olympiakos in game where they were expected to at least get a draw from the games. Luckily their next game is in Serie A, and at home no less, which normally spells out a very probably victory for the Old Lady. They have won all of their home games this season, and the only goals they have conceded their have been courtesy of Roma, easily the best team in Italy aside from Juventus. Juventus should win this game against a side in Palermo who in their last away game lost 3-0 to Empoli, a team who don’t win 3-0 all that often in Serie A. A player to watch in this game will be Paul Pogba, after the highly rated midfielder signed a contract extension in the week quashing any suggestion of an imminent transfer else ware, he will be looking to show the Juve faithful what he can do.
Prediction: Juventus Win (2-0)
Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Mordovia Saransk (26/10/2014)
Kick Off: 16:00
Competition: Russian Premier League
Venue: Petrovsky Stadium
This game on paper looks a routine win for Zenit to maintain their 2 point lead at the top of the table. The blistering form they showed in the opening weeks of the season will have been impossible to maintain, and they have drawn their last 2 home games, but that was against superior opposition to that of their opponents Saransk, who last time out lost 5-0 away at Kazan and have shed 14 goals in their opening 10 league fixtures. Zenit on the other hand have only conceded 6 and scored a grand old total of 28 in the same period. Zenit also have the talented Hulk to give them attacking impetus in a game they are roundly expected to win. Zenit have only played Saransk on three occasions in recent times, they have won all 3 and haven’t conceded a single goal in each of these fixtures.
Prediction: Zenit St. Petersburg Win (4-1)
Anderlecht vs. Standard Liege (26/10/2014)
Kick Off: 17:00
Competition: Jupiler League
Venue: Constant Vanden Stock Stadium
Anderlecht fans and playing staff all around must still be wondering how they managed to snatch defeat front the laws of victory against Arsenal in the Champions League midweek, in a game they dominated they should have won comfortably, they conceded two sloppy late goals to lost 2-1. The upcoming league game they have however, a home fixture against a struggling Standard Liege team, could be the perfect setting to partially right some wrongs. Anderlecht are 3 point clear at the top of the league and have a striker in the form of Aleksandar Mitrović who is in good form scoring a respectable 5 game sun 11 thus far. He should add to that tally against a team who have lost their last 2 away games and haven’t won any of their last 5 in all competitions.
Prediction: Anderlecht Win (2-1)
Acca in full
Borussia Dortmund vs. Hannover (Home Win)
Derby County vs. Wigan (Home Win)
Valencia vs. Elche (Home Win)
Juventus vs. Palermo (Home Win)
Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Mordovia Saransk (Home Win)
Anderlecht vs. Standard Liege (Home Win)