As the majority of European leagues draw to a close, there is all sorts going on this Sunday, with games across the continent. Many leagues are now split into play-off stages, with titles on the line and relegation places to be avoided.
We have games from four of the top 5 leagues covered below, including a potential title decider in England, where Manchester City host Chelsea, knowing that a win will see them crowned champions for a third year in a row, and a fifth year in six.
RB Salzburg v Sturm Graz is the closest thing to a title-decider that the Austrian Bundesliga has seen in years, with the visitors able to draw level with Salzburg with a win, with one final game to come after this weekend.
Whatever the scenario, our league scouts are all over the action this weekend, and have picked out some tasty looking value picks from Sunday afternoon’s games.
If you haven’t yet signed up to Paddy Power, now is the perfect time. Use the link below, and you can bet upto £30 on any of our best bets, safe in the knowledge that you will get your money back in cash if the bet doesn’t land.
Club Brugge v Antwerp
Antwerp are now in pole position for this years’ Pro League title. With three games to go, they have a 1 point advantage over RUSG, but have extended their lead over third-placed Genk to four points. This would be an historic title for either of the top two. Antwerp have not won a league title since 1957, and RUSG have not won one since the 1930s.
Last weekend, they snatched a last-gasp winner as Arthur Vermeeren picked the perfect time to score his first professional goal, stabbing home a loose ball from a corner kick after something of a melee. Everything seems to be falling for this Antwerp side right now.
Belief that they can win the title is strong inside the club, though they are not yet comfortable saying this publicly. Mark van Bommel, the coach knows what it takes to win trophies and has managed expectations excellently all season long. This would be his first league title as a coach.
Having won the cup last month, the chance for a domestic double is very much on the cards. Today’s opposition Club Brugge have been the dominant force in Belgian football, but this campaign has been disappointing, with the club now guaranteed to finish fourth. They are huge rivals of Antwerp however, and would much rather see either Genk or RUSG lift the trophy, so this should not be easy for the visitors.
With three defeats in three in the post-season, and an ever-mounting list of injured players, Antwerp know they cannot afford to drop any points here, in what is certainly their easiest remaining fixture. They will expect both of their rivals to beat Brugge, and if they fail to do so, it could cost them dearly.
Brugge had led 2-0 last week but Antwerp’s fightback saw them run out 3-2 winners. Interim manager Rik de Mil has already admitted that it is increasingly challenging to motivate the players, although this game being at home should help provide an extra spark.
De Mil is also aware that the club are supposedly negotiating with Standard Liege (and ex-Celtic) boss Ronny Deila to take over as Brugge coach next season. It seems unlikely that Antwerp would allow lightning to strike twice, and it looks like Brugge missed their chance to take points off the league leaders last time out.
Antwerp should really be overwhelming favourites, but are priced very generously by the bookmakers, with odds of 1.53 for the much better side, and league leaders to win or draw representing outstanding value.
Rayo Vallecano v Espanyol
One of the best value bets that you’ll find this weekend could be for Rayo Vallecano at Vallecas on Sunday as the Europe-chasing team welcomes relegation-threatened Espanyol. Andoni Iraola’s team come into this one just two points behind Girona in the final European football position in seventh and with the competition heating up as there are only four games left to play.
Rayo’s achilles heel in recent weeks has been their inconsistency, with three wins and three defeats from their last six games, but there’s every reason to believe that Sunday will see them pick up three points again. All three of their victories in that spell have come at home, curiously all with a 2-1 scoreline, and they have not lost at home to a team outside the top six since August.
Espanyol, on the other hand, are struggling for form. Now four points from safety, they have only taken four points from their last 11 games, including a whopping nine defeats. You’d have to go back more than three months to find the last time they picked up a point away from home, a 1-0 win over the only team below them in the table, Elche.
That puts Rayo in a strong position to take all the points available on Sunday lunchtime. Iraola’s team are desperately pushing for a first European campaign since they took on the UEFA Cup in 2000/01 when they qualified through fair play.
Go Ahead Eagles v FC Volendam
Go Ahead Eagles sit in mid-table with little to play for, whilst Volendam are still looking for probably one more point to be sure of their Eredivisie survival.
Realistically, the visitors will be safe for next season. The job Wim Jonk has done to turn around a season where they were rooted to the bottom for a long time seems a long time ago!
Volendam have been incredible at home since the Winter break, but I think they’ll find this game quite tricky away at Go Ahead. The travelling side have kept no clean sheet in eight of their last ten matches (one of the other two being a 0-0 at Utrecht when VAR intervened three times to overturn decisions) which leans towards a busy encounter.
Let’s not forget the Eagles’ proud record in Deventer: from the last six at home, René Hake’s men have won four and drawn two. Go Ahead are a settled side with some nice attacking players, so no doubt they’ll score, but Volendam have been amongst the goals themselves recently, and they won’t be relaxing just yet before the summer break.
Sparta Rotterdam v Cambuur
The surprise package of the season, Sparta Rotterdam, are sitting in sixth and preparing for the European play-offs, take on Cambuur who are already relegated.
The home side have enjoyed an incredible season beyond many fans’ wildest beliefs. Their late-season form that kept them safe from relegation when Maurice Steijn was new as manager of the club has continued and been maintained, leaving supporters dreaming of European football next season.
On the other hand, Cambuur have lost the last eight, with some limp displays angering fans. There are some good attacking players for Eredivisie level in that team, but they have only shown glimpses of what they’re capable of in their short stay in Leeuwarden.
Despite only taking one point from their last three matches, I don’t think Sparta have played particularly badly. They were comfortable for long spells at Volendam last time out, and they created some good chances against both PSV and Twente. Therefore, a home win might be too obvious, and going for some home goals makes the bet a bit sweeter.
Vitesse Arnhem v FC Groningen
There seems to be a little bit of deja-vu here as Vitesse play back-to-back home matches against a team already relegated. A 2-0 success over Cambuur gave fans a big sigh of relief that they are finally safe from relegation. It was a gritty display, and I expect more of the same from the home side.
Vitesse have been playing more of a 4-4-2 under Phillip Cocu, preferring balls into the box for players to attack. On loan attacker Bartosz Białek has been criticised a little for not being enough of an out-and-out goal-scoring striker, but he silenced some of those critics when he scored the two goals last weekend. That said, he did spurn several other good chances.
For the Arnhem side, there will be no right-back Carlens Arcus after his sending off against Cambuur, but I don’t think it will matter very much. Groningen have only taken one point from their last nine, in a relegation battle that promised much but fizzled out very quickly once the bottom two lost all of their form and heads dropped.
I can see another OK performance from Vitesse being enough to get the three points. Experienced manager Phillip Cocu will demand this from his players, in another game fitting Vitesse’s recent trend: They would have won an under 3.5 goals bet on seven of each of their last eight Eredivisie games.
FC Emmen v Feyenoord
Whilst Emmen have already beaten PSV and held Ajax to a draw at home this season, I have not seen enough from their most recent performances to suggest they will have the quality to beat the newly crowned champions, Feyenoord.
Arne Slot’s men have romped to title victory with twelve successive Eredivisie wins. Slot has had to settle in numerous new players this campaign, but the second half of the season has shown just how well the head coach has gotten the best out of some players who were new to the league. Santiago Giménez, for example, is appearing on some wishlists around Europe. The striker’s goals and overall match play have been vital to Feyenoord winning game after game. The young player has developed so, so much since arriving in a new continent.
Emmen are desperate for points, but they were amateurish in their defending losing 5-1 to AZ last Sunday. Conceding three to Ajax, three to Twente and five to AZ in the past few weeks says to me that they will therefore struggle to keep out the best team in the Netherlands.
Feyenoord have had a week to recover from their title-winning 3-0 win over Go Ahead. I think they’ll have had time to re-focus for the last couple of games.
Rapid Vienna v LASK
Both Rapid Vienna and LASK were on the losing side during Match Day 29, but with vastly different connotations for their league campaigns. Rapid lost a third Vienna derby of the season to rivals Austria Vienna, whilst LASK’s remote title chances were ended after a hard-fought defeat at home against Red Bull Salzburg.
LASK’s home loss was their first of the Championship Group, whilst Rapid suffered an unprecedented fourth defeat in five games and put themselves at genuine risk of missing out on a European spot. It was a wretched afternoon for their full-backs in particular, which would have been a sight to enjoy for LASK’s in-form wingers Keito Nakamura and Moses Usor ahead of Sunday’s clash.
Despite losing to the champions-elect, LASK have established themselves as a quality threat at the top of the table, especially away from home with only one defeat in 14 this season – only in their title challenge in 2019/20 did the Linz side produce something similar. A point would secure passage to the Europa Conference League group stage for next season, so all signs point towards a positive result on the road for LASK against a beleaguered Rapid Vienna.
Austria Klagenfurt v Austria Vienna
The battle for fourth place hots up on Sunday with the meeting between the Championship Group’s two Austrias and a quest for European qualification. Austria Vienna were in dreamland last Sunday after a stirring victory in the 340th Vienna Derby, as a Haris Tabakovic hat-trick sealed a third victory of the season against their bitter rivals Rapid Vienna. There’s been no player more in-form this year in the Austrian Bundesliga than the big Austria Vienna striker, who has rocketed himself into 2nd position in the race for the Golden Boot with 17 goals for the season, 15 of which have come in 2023.
The Carinthians were swatted aside by Sturm Graz (4-1) in their last fixture and now sit at only one victory in their last eight outings, not helped by the departure of talismanic striker Markus Pink. With the Violets back on the winning trail, a victory in Klagenfurt will put them as heavy favourites to finish in the all-important fourth position in the Championship Group.
Torino v Fiorentina
A very interesting little section of the Serie A table has been developing and this match is vital within it. Fiorentina in eighth and Udinese in 12th are separated by just three points right now, with Torino and Fiorentina being level on 49 along with Monza.
Five teams have got the chance to finish in eighth place this season and with the incredible form of Italian teams in Europe, there is a chance that Europa Conference League qualification starts to trickle further down the league.
The specifics can’t be determined at this time but there are the existing qualification spots, then the fact Inter, AS Roma and Fiorentina could win European competitions which brings qualification, and one of Inter and Fiorentina will win the Coppa Italia which brings a Europa League spot. You can also factor in the potential that Juventus still get excluded from Europe next year despite being in second place.
This is all relevant to this game as both sides have got a huge incentive to try and finish as high up the table and see what happens. The calendar has fallen favourably on Torino though. Fiorentina played 120 minutes in Switzerland on Thursday to reach the Conference League final, and their Serie A form has been stuttering again. They also have the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday to think about.
This means that Torino should be coming up against a tired side that does not want to pick up injuries and with the home advantage, they have to try and get a convincing win here.
Troyes v Strasbourg
With four wins in their last five, look for Strasbourg to effectively seal Ligue 1 survival on Sunday when they travel to out-of-form Troyes.
The home side’s relegation was confirmed last weekend when they were blown away 4-0 by Rennes away on the road. Troyes’ heads dropped as the match started going again them, which is a pattern that has been evident in recent games. The decision to sack Bruno Irles when they were 13th in the table at Christmas must rank as one of the worst calls in European football this season: they have since lost 15 of 21 fixtures, winning only once. Moreover, they have conceded at least two goals in 15 of their last 19.
Remarkably, Troyes’ only victory under new boss Patrick Kisnorbo came against Strasbourg on January 2 via a 3-2 success. The form of the two clubs has shifted dramatically since then, though. Strasbourg are a team well capable of taking advantage of their hosts’ problems. Having been under par at the start of the season, they are finally producing the form they have the potential to since Frederic Antonetti took charge. Racing may have lost three of their last nine, but these defeats were against clubs in the European battle.
With the visitors boasting one of Ligue 1’s in-form strikers in the form of Habib Diallo, who has 14 goals in 2023, they should be well capable of beating a depleted and demoralised opponent that has a hard time keeping goals out at the best of times. Given Strasbourg have won their last four by two goals, there may even be value in backing them with a -1 handicap at 2.63.
Reims v Angers
Reims should be strong enough to win their penultimate game of the season against an Angers side that comes into the match with a beat-up squad and in a poor run of form.
Reims, on paper, have not been impressive themselves. Will Still’s men have lost four of their last five matches, but these games have been testing. In this time, they have travelled to the two strongest home teams in Ligue 1 and have also faced a resurgent Strasbourg. Last time out at home, they recorded a very impressive 1-0 success over Lille.
Results might not be going the way of the Champagne club, but they played last weekend’s match with great intensity and showed they have not checked out for the season.
Angers, meanwhile, are battling to avoid the ignominy of being the worst Ligue 1 team ever. They need to reach 18 points to achieve this. They have, however, lost each of their last five matches and 10 of their last 12. Le SCO have been competitive, but it has not been enough.
This weekend’s match promises to be especially challenging. They are gripped with injury problems and could be without key midfielder Nabil Bentaleb after he had an operation on his wisdom teeth earlier this week. Moreover, promising youngster Jason Kalumba, who has started the last seven Ligue 1 matches, is the most prominent of several youngsters who will play in a U19 cup match instead of this fixture.
Reims, who have won eight of their last 12 at home, should secure another win here. For those seeking longer odds, this can be paired with Over 2.5 goals at 1.91.
Malmö v Häcken
Malmö go into this early title contention game off the back of a tough battle with Halmstad, nearly dropping points before a late Patriot Sejdiu winner to keep their 100% record intact. Häcken, meanwhile, are newly crowned cup champions after a dominant display in the final in midweek, convincingly beating Mjällby to claim their second trophy in a matter of months.
Malmö FF have been incredibly impressive to begin this campaign, scoring 21 and only conceding 4 goals in the first 8 matches. We rarely see this sort of dominance in Sweden’s top flight – despite Malmö’s reign at the top in recent years, the league is generally a battle until the end.
It is still early days, and this game will give a good indication as to how legitimate their title credentials are, but the sky blue outfit have looked immense to date. A varied and free-flowing attack allows players to interchange at will, while both their counter-press and defensive set-up restricts opposition options. Halmstad held strong until the very end last week, but in truth, MFF were uncharacteristically wasteful before claiming the points in the 90th minute.
Häcken have also had a strong start to the season but sit six points off the league leaders due to two defeats away at Kalmar and Halmstad. While generally impressive, they struggled in somewhat those games against teams sitting a bit deeper, not allowing much space to counter.
While they are able to control games and have the creativity to break down defences, Häcken are at their absolute best when counter attacking as they have great passers and clever runners. The combination of Benie Traore and Ibrahim Sadiq in attack is lethal, while Lars Larsen has been immensely impressive too. A 4-1 battering of Mjällby in the cup final was decisive, but Malmö will cause a bigger threat in this game.
Busanello’s suspension weakens Malmö somewhat, but Martin Olsson still has plenty left to give and can deputise appropriately. This encounter should be exciting and open with goals in both directions.
Viborg v Brøndby
Motivation is the keyword in this match. The home side are fighting for medals and the best ever finish in club history, while the guests have nothing left to play for but the honour.
Viborg are coming off a vital victory against Randers. With three games left to play, VFF are three points behind Copenhagen in the first place, and they have a small chance of winning their first ever Danish championship. The club has one of the smallest budgets in the Superliga, so this has indeed been somewhat of a fairy tale season.
Nevertheless, Viborg are playing to win all their matches now, and they have a strong team. Ibrahim Said, who scored twice last week, and Elias Achouri are two of the best offensive players in the league, and they can cause problems for any team in the league.
Brøndby are coming off a defeat at home against Copenhagen. The loss ended a short winning streak, and Brøndby looked hopeless once again. Brøndby are playing more defensive now than earlier in the season, but it hasn’t stopped their problems.
They are still giving away easy chances and they have huge issues creating chances. To make things worse, they are without star player Daniel Wass as he was sent off last weekend. Midfield star Mathias Greve remains on the injury list as well.
Brøndby are dead last in the championship round and have nothing left to play for this year. Their main hope is that Copenhagen doesn’t win the league, and most of their fans would actually be happy if Viborg wins this game as it hurts their arch rival’s championship chances.
We recommend betting on the home side here as they are the best team these days and have more to play for. Odds 2 on Viborg to win is great value.
Vitoria v Gil Vicente
One year ago, Vitória hosted Gil Vicente behind closed doors and secured a 5-0 win against the Gillistas, with the two sides finishing fifth and sixth. Both teams suffered a summer of upheaval – Gil lost manager Ricardo Soares to Al Ahly and key players such as Pedrinho and Samuel Lino, whilst Vitória lost top scorer Óscar Estupiñán on a free transfer as well as other key players like Rochinha and André Almeida.
After a historic fifth-place finish, Gil currently sit 14th in the table and managed to secure their top-flight status last weekend after beating Boavista 3-1 via a brace from Fran Navarro and a goal from Murilo de Souza. Prior to that match, Gil had taken two points in their previous six matches and had only scored two in their previous seven, with both goals coming in their 3-2 defeat to last-placed Santa Clara on May 6, a team that had not won a single match since November. Gil Vicente are limping towards the finish line, but they have nevertheless been able to rely on Fran Navarro, who has scored 32 league goals since arriving in the summer of 2021, making him the club’s all-time leading scorer in the Primeira. He has scored 16 of the club’s 31 league goals this season – only Mehdi Taremi, João Mário and Gonçalo Ramos have more in the Primeira.
Whilst Gil have mainly relied on the individual brilliance of Navarro up top and Andrew Ventura in goal, Vitória are a team, and under the tutelage of Moreno, they have been able to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
Vitória sits fifth and has already guaranteed European football, boasting a two-point advantage on Arouca, and they’ll be looking to secure a first top-five finish in four years and qualification to the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa Conference League rather than the second qualifying round, where they found themselves this season. They have won three in a row, keeping clean sheets in their last two, and they have everything it takes to pick up their 16th league win of the season and condemn Gil to a 17th defeat.
Manchester City v Chelsea
All eyes are on the Etihad Stadium this weekend as Manchester City look to secure the Premier League title. The Champions have been in supreme form of late and they dispatched Real Madrid with ease during midweek, hammering them by four goals to nil in the Champions League Semi Final. Conversely, their opponents Chelsea are all set for the season to end after a disastrous campaign. The Blues sit in the bottom half of the table and managed just a 2-2 draw to relegation threatened Nottingham Forest last weekend.
This selection has landed continuously throughout the season and there’s every reason to stick by this. Man City have now won eleven games in a row on home soil in the Premier League, with this selection landing in nine of them. The Citizens have been banging in the goals for fun and are averaging a huge 3.27 GpG in home matches this campaign.
Erling Haaland has been the main man attack having notched 36 goals in the competition so far. That’s over a goal every game and he’ll be hungry for more here. He’s surrounded by world class players and even if he has an off day, others will be ready to pounce. Kevin De Bruyne is one player who may produce in attack, the Belgian has 3 goals and 3 assists to his name in the last 5 matches. Whoever Pep Guardiola decides to start with from the off though are sure to prove too classy for this lacklustre Chelsea side.
The visitors arrive into this in all sorts of trouble and I see this being a game of damage limitation. Chelsea find themselves in 11th position in the table, without the possibility of gaining a top half finish. They’ve lost seven of their last ten games in all competitions, failing to score in six of them. There’s simply no reason to expect a sudden upturn in form and a big home win looks on the card.
RB Salzburg v Sturm Graz
It’s a rare title showdown in Austria on Sunday evening, as Salzburg look to wrap up the championship with a win, but Sturm can draw level on points at the top if they themselves can take all three. Sturm knocked the defending champs out of the cup in Salzburg already this season, and inflicted their only league defeat of the campaign early on as well, so they do know what it takes to get the better of the Red Bulls, meaning that this should be a nervy and close game with so much at stake.
The teams are coming into the game with the league’s best two defensive records. It’ll be a cagey affair for Salzburg who have the ability to defend deep and break, forcing Sturm into playing dangerously for the win which they need. Sturm also possesses a youthful, athletic and well-drilled backline of their own though. Despite the goal threats that both teams normally carry, given the nature of the occasion, we can see a tight game unfolding, much like it did in the cup (1-1 after 90 minutes) and the last Bundesliga meeting at this venue (0-0), and therefore we feel that backing a low-scoring game makes more sense than an outright winner.
Åsane v Start
The one big consistency in recent weeks have been the sheer number of goals involved in Start matches. All of their last 7 fixtures have gone over 3.5 goals with their last three games all going over the 4.5 mark. Start have a glutton of offensive weapons in their squad and have racked up 20 goals so far, the most in the OBOS Ligaen.
However, they’ve failed to keep any clean sheets in their last 6 games and are defensively fragile. Their two attacking loanees, Henrik Skogvold and Tom Strannegard have combined for 9 goals and 5 assists and at this level of football are a fearsome prospect. Start were one of the preseason favourites to win this league and you can see why.
They now take a trip to rock bottom Åsane who are the only team yet to win a game in the OBOS Ligaen this season. They have lost all of their last three matches, a couple of them by an exact 2-3 margin. The only time that Åsane have kept a clean sheet this season were in two 0-0 draws vs Mjondalen and Raufoss.
They have the 5th worst average xGA in the league (1.43) but do rank in the top 10 for xG and have been underachieving offensively. It is a surprise to see Start as big as 2.10 to win this match because they should win fairly comfortably.
The one concern with Start is their defence though which makes over 2.5 goals even more appealing. The visitors have an average xGA of 1.41 per match and have conceded 13 goals.
Start could cover an over 2.5 goal line all by themselves but Åsane may well contribute as well. They will be desperate to end their winless run and there is not too much to fear from this Start defence. Over 2.5 goals are generously priced at 1.57 and this looks very big considering the recent Start results.
Ranheim v Sogndal
Two teams with genuine promotion aspirations do battle in Trondheim. Sogndal are actually top of the OBOS Ligaen table with 5 wins from their 8 games. Former Chelsea striker Tore Andre Flo was given the job here last season and retained in the role despite them missing out on the playoffs in 2022.
He has switched to a 4-3-3 system this season which has paid dividends so far. Sogndal are probably overachieving though because their xG and xGA metrics are both mid-range. They do have an average xG of 1.47 per match which is quite healthy, but that is only the 7th best in the league. At the other end of the field, they have kept just two clean sheets.
The only defeat that Sogndal have suffered so far was a 1-2 loss away to Kristiansund. This will be a similar tough test because Ranheim are one of the strongest sides in the league. They are situated 4th in the standings and won 2 out of 3 at home so far this year. They possess some very strong offensive firepower and have the 2nd best xG average in the entire league (1.63).
It wasn’t that long ago that Ranheim were gracing Eliteserien level in Norway. They still possess some talent which wouldn’t be out of place in the league above, most notably the likes of Sivert Solli and Bendik Bye. Players such as Erik Tonne and Christian Eggen Rismark shouldn’t be ignored either.
This has all the makings of a high scoring match in which both teams probably score. All three Ranheim home games have comfortably landed over 2.5 goals this season and every single Sogndal road fixture has contained both teams scoring.
There is plenty of offensive firepower in each team. Ranheim have brilliant offensive metrics and Sogndal have scored at least one goal in every fixture so far. Both teams scoring at 1.50 looks the best bet. Over 2.5 could also be considered, but this way the 1-1 draw is covered.
Skeid v Mjøndalen
Both teams have been involved in high scoring matches recently so the over 2.5 pick stands out as a great selection. Skeid fixtures average a massive 3.8 goals per game which is the second most of any team in this division behind Start.
They have the worst defensive record of any team conceding a huge 19 goals in 8 games. Skeid only just survived by the skin of their teeth last season via the relegation playoff game. A similar sort of struggling campaign is to be expected but nobody can expect miracles from this semi-professional club. That they are simply in the OBOS Ligaen has to be considered a success in the first place.
Mjøndalen are a team with higher aspirations. Now fully professional, it was clearly stated the objective this year was to launch some sort of promotion campaign. Things started rockily with 3 defeats in their first 4 games, but results have picked up with decent wins vs Jerv and Raufoss.
The most recent match was a 3-0 victory vs Raufoss at home which should fill them with confidence. Scottish manager Kevin Nicol was under pressure, but those recent wins have certainly given him some more wriggle room. The form of striker Kristian Stromland Lien has been sensational of late. He’s scored 6 goals in his last 5 games and is the top scorer in the league.
I am amazed that over 2.5 goals can be backed at prices as high as 1.65. These two teams have the joint worst xGA average in the league (1.65) and 9 of their last 10 games combined have all contained at least 3 goals. With two poor defences facing each other along with some competent attack then this game really does scream goals.
IFK Göteborg v Hammarby
IFK Göteborg have slowly but surely started turning around their season after an atrocious start. After four consecutive defeats, they are now unbeaten in four games, claiming six points in that run. There are still clear issues in the squad and club as a whole, but on the pitch things are improving.
A bit more freedom and creativity is present in the 4-2-3-1 system compared to the 4-4-2 utilised earlier on, allowing the wingers to be higher up the pitch and make a difference at the right end. Sebastian Ohlsson has been on the right side of midfield instead of in his usual right-back spot and has taken to the task admirably, scoring four in the last four matches making him the team’s top scorer.
In terms of scorers, club icon Marcus Berg has struggled in earnest, only getting two goals to date, in the 6-0 demolition of Degerfors. He was on the bench last week after a bout of illness but should be back in the starting lineup here. In his place, youngster Linus Carlstrand impressed despite not getting on the scoresheet and looks like another brilliant academy prospect.
Hammarby have had their own fair share of difficulties early in the campaign but overcame these to beat Djurgården 4-3 in a thrilling Stockholm derby last weekend. DIF gave them far too much space on the counter and the rapid Hammarby attack picked them apart as a result.
It was only their third victory of the season but could act as a kick-start, much needed for Marti Cifuentes’s side after a tumultuous few months. Sporting director Jesper Jansson was recently announced to be leaving the club and there are still holes in their young squad, but it seems they are beginning to understand their strengths as a unit.
IFK have struggled in recent years against Hammarby, not scoring in their last five league meetings. That should change here , with the away side not being as astute defensively as in previous years and missing the important Mads Fenger too. Both teams have goals in them and IFK will be looking to add to their points tally in front of a fired up home crowd. Hammarby, similarly, will want to spoil the party and demonstrate their improvement.
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