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Our Tips for Around Europe This Weekend - 17/04/21

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Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona: Messi and Griezmann to score

Arguably the biggest clash in Europe this weekend is over in Spain as Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona meet in the Copa del Rey last two in a carbon copy of the 2014/15 final where Lionel Messi scored one of the greatest goals in modern times.

Barcelona have been relentless in this competition. This is the 10th time the club have made it to the final in the last 12 years, winning five of them, including four of them back to back from 2014-2018, and they are now priced at 1/4 to add a record 31st Copa del Rey to their trophy room.

The Blaugrana have also been in exceptional form in La Liga in 2021, and besides their crucial loss to Real Madrid last weekend, Messi and co. have lost just once in Spain this year and sit only two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid.

With this form in mind, combined with Barcelona's exceptional ability in this competition, we don't see how Bilbao put up a fight against them and we're backing both Messi and Antoine Griezmann to get on the scoresheet once again, just like they did earlier this season against them.

Copa del Rey Final Tips

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Messi and Griezmann to score @ 5/1

Atalanta v Juventus: Juventus to win and BTTS

Whilst the FA Cup semi-finals are going on in England and the Copa del Rey in Spain, the closest matched league fixture across Europe is the vital clash in Italy between third-placed Juventus and fourth-placed Atalanta.

The reigning champions have had a torrid campaign for their standards. A round of 16 defeat to Porto in Europe, combined with a below-par 18 wins from 30 league games thus far has kept them 12 points behind leaders Inter Milan, and the title, in truth, has been a write off for months.

Not much has changed for Atalanta, however, with the club still outscoring most on the continent with 71 goals in 30 Serie A fixtures, and with Napoli just behind them, this match is arguably the biggest of their season in terms of maintaining a Champions League spot.

We think Juventus' experience and overall superior ability will get them across the line. Combine this with the fact they have only league fixtures to now worry about, means we should probably expect a strong finish to the season from them, even if their Scudetto title has all but mathematically gone for the first time in a decade.

Atalanta will score, however, as they always seem to do. And for this reason, we're going with a Juventus win and both teams to score at 3/1.

Serie A Predictions

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Juventus to win and BTTS @ 3/1

Getafe v Real Madrid: Benzema to score and win

Across the continent, the champions of most divisions have been signed, sealed and delivered for weeks, with Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Inter all sat quite comfortably at the front of some of Europe's top five leagues.

In Spain, however, it is crunch time and we are set for the most intense and closest finish in La Liga for an incredibly long time, as just one point separates Atletico and Real in first and second, respectively, whilst Barcelona are just a point behind Real in third and two off the top.

There can be no more dropped points in Spain. Zinedine Zidane and his experienced heads have moved to the favourites to defend their La Liga title, and in a campaign that hasn't been their best, they are seemingly getting over the line through experience and will, such as their 0-0 draw at Anfield to see them through to the semi-finals in Europe.

Karim Benzema has been one of the main reasons for Real's success post-Cristiano Ronaldo, and the Frenchman has 19 league goals this campaign, which has only been bettered by Messi this season. He must turn up once again, and we expect him to score and win at 6/5 against Getafe.

La Liga Tips

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Benzema to score and win @ 6/5

Lille v Montpellier: Lille to win and BTTS

With La Liga seeing its closest race in a seriously long time, over in France we are witnessing one of the biggest upsets of the past decade across Europe, as Lille look to win Ligue 1 exactly 10 years after they last won the title.

Paris Saint-Germain are still the favourites to lift the trophy, however, but with Lille beating them the other week and maintaining a two-point lead at the top, Christophe Galtier's men are looking like upsetting the odds as each week passes.

If they are to lift Ligue 1, the definitive factors in this argument take place across the next seven days, with a clash against the Montpellier this weekend and one of the biggest games of the season against Lyon next week, who themselves are still in title contention.

The fixture against Montpellier, however, should be light work for the league leaders. The eighth-placed side have a dreadful defensive record of 53 goals conceded in 32 fixtures, which has resulted in 10 wins and 10 draws and just 12 wins and makes them the fourth-worst defensive outfit in France's top flight.

Combine this with Lille's spectacular 19 goals let in across the same period and the strength of players like Burak Yilmaz and Gaël Kakuta, the three-time Ligue 1 winners should get the job done against such a defensively weak side this weekend.

As a result, we're backing Lille to win and over 2.5 goals in the game at 13/8.

Ligue 1 Tips

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Lille to win and over 2.5 goals @ 13/8

Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich: Bayern to win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1

The gargantuan clashes across Europe continue with Wolfsburg hosting Bayern Munich this weekend in what could be the definitive match in the Bundesliga title and top four race come to the end of the campaign.

Ahead of the fixture, Bayern are five points clear of second-placed RB Leipzig and have managed to maintain a healthy gap on their closest competitors, despite the absence of Robert Lewandowski, which has clearly been a humungous issue.

The Bundesliga heavyweights created countless chances against PSG across two legs, but without their great Pole, they couldn't convert enough, and the same happened in their 1-1 draw with Union Berlin and their 1-0 win over Leipzig. Bayern's class has still shone through, however, and they are edging closer to another league title with their superiority still clear even in the absence of the world's best player.

On the other hand, Wolfsburg will be looking to seal the deal on the Champions League spots sooner rather than later, with their gap on fifth-placed Borussia Dortmund now at eight points, whilst the shock side of the season, Eintracht Frankfurt, are just a point behind them in fourth.

With the absence of Lewandowski, combined with Wolfsburg's second-best defence in the league, this won't be easy for Bayern, hence the importance on this fixture within the grand scheme of things. However, as they proved against PSG, they are still perhaps the best team in Europe, just without their main man, and it's tough to argue the Wolves putting up as good as a fight as the PSG did, so we expect Bayern to still win, but with a low scoreline.

Bundesliga Tips

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Bayern to win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 @ 5/2