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We kick things off ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League action with a double covering both early kick-offs. As mentioned above the price is coming in at 5/2, however, if you fancy something slightly higher odds, you can back our late kick-off 3/1 Champions League accumulator as well.
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Both games kick off at 17:45 respectively. First up is Barcelona, where Xavi’s men will be facing off against Ukrainian champions Shakhtar. They dispatched them 5-1 last time they visited Catalonia, and our experts believe we may see a similarly one-sided affair tonight.
Meanwhile, the other early clash takes place in the Netherlands, as Dutch champions Feyenoord play host to Maurizio Sarri’s Lazio side. Lazio have been the king of late goals so far, but our expert doesn’t think their late goals will save them from a defeat at De Kuip.
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Wednesday’s 5/2 Early Kick-Off Champions League Double Tips
Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk
The early kick off in Group H sees Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk take on Barcelona at the Estadio Olímpico.
Xavi’s Barcelona are currently top of the group having won both of their opening matches, firstly beating Royal Antwerp 5-0 before following up with a hard fought 1-0 victory on the road against FC Porto. The home side will be looking to progress from the group having fallen at this stage last season, albeit after being drawn in the ‘Group of Death’ alongside Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.
The next two games against Shakhtar Donetsk will probably determine their fate and they’ll be looking to stamp some authority with home advantage in this one. While Robert Lewandowski is unlikely to be available, young forward Lamine Yamal is back from injury and will join Joao Felix and Ferran Torres in a young and dynamic attacking front three that is certain to worry the opposition defence.
Ilkay Gundogan will provide plenty of experience in midfield and Barca are likely to be too strong for the visitors with a comfortable win expected, especially as they have won every game at their temporary home this season with the Nou Camp being upgraded.
Shakhtar Donetsk have parted company with manager Patrick van Leeuwen ahead of this clash, despite the Dutchman having overseen just 12 games since joining the club in July. That certainly won’t help their preparations as former Croatian defender and current Director of Football of the club Darijo Srna comes in as caretaker boss.
The visitors will have their own ambitions of progressing from the group, but will need to find a positive result in the two matches against Barcelona if they are to give themselves a fighting chance of reaching the knockout stages.
A disappointing 3-1 home defeat on matchday one against FC Porto was followed by a pulsating 3-2 victory against Royal Antwerp in Belgium. Having been 2-0 down at the break, Shakhtar rallied to win the game with young Ukrainian forward Danylo Sikan scoring a brace, and he’s certainly one to watch in this game. The last time they travelled to Barcelona, the game ended with a 5-1 defeat and a similar scoreline could be in store again, especially if conceding early.
Barcelona are fancied to win the game with a degree of ease. Therefore, backing Xavi’s side combined with over 2.5 goals adds more value to the selection and that’s the sensible play in this one.
Feyenoord v Lazio
Italian side Lazio will travel to the Netherlands in Group E as they face Feyenoord with De Kuip playing host.
Feyenoord have collected three points from their opening two games in the Champions League this season. The Dutch outfit comfortably beat Celtic 2-0 on matchday one before losing an exhilarating game 3-2 at the hands of Atletico Madrid on the road. Arne Slot’s side now face a Lazio team which they met twice in last season’s Europa League, and this home game represents an excellent opportunity to add more points to their tally.
There is every reason for their fans to be optimistic ahead of the game as Feyenoord have been scintillating in the final third this season, scoring an impressive 32 goals in just nine league matches, including a 4-0 win over Vitesse at the weekend.
This form can in part be attributed to the contributions from star striker Santiago Gimenez who has scored 13 goals this campaign, form which has seen the Mexican linked with a move to the aforementioned Atletico Madrid. A win would be the home side’s tenth in 11 games, such is their current form.
Lazio are unbeaten in this season’s competition thanks to some late drama in both matches. They opened up with a 1-1 home draw against Atletico Madrid, scoring a 95th-minute equaliser before beating Celtic on the road as Pedro netted the winner with virtually the last kick of the game in a 2-1 win. Maurizio Sarri’s side come into this one off the back of a comfortable 2-0 victory over Sassuolo at the weekend, a third win on the spin in all competitions.
In confident mood, they will fancy their chances of enacting revenge having been dumped out of the Europa League last season. Lazio won the home game against Feyenoord 4-2 but lost a very cagey return fixture 1-0 as both sides had a chance to progress to the knockout phase. This one is likely to be a more open affair early on in the group stages and we could see a few goals as a result. The visitors are also ranking highly for shots conceded this season in Serie A, something they can ill-afford against Gimenez and co.
Both sides have good attacking options and have performed well in the final third this season. However, Feyenoord are backed to win a game that is likely to see a few goals. Home victory and over 1.5 goals is the bet.
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