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18.10. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: PREVIEWS AND BETTING

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Tuesday brings about a safe and familiar Champions League round, and this time out we are taking a closer look at Bayer Leverkusen - Tottenham and Leicester - FC Copenhagen.

PREVIEW: LEVERKUSEN - TOTTENHAM

The forms of the two sides have been polar opposites this season. The home team Bayer Leverkusen have played some breathtaking attacking football, but in turn their defence has suffered from lapses of concentration and games where nothing has gone to plan. This was more than apparent in Leverkusen's last game, as they suffered a 2-1 loss away to Bremen, and coach Roger Schmidt criticized his team of "only playing for themselves", instead of playing for the team.

The Germans have struggled for consistency in Europe as well, losing a comfortable lead in both of their UCL-games this season. Against CSKA Moscow 'Kusen lead 2-0, but the Russians still managed to claw themselves back to a 2-2 draw. Against Monaco the Germans had looked to have secured victory, only for Polish centre-back Kamil Glik to spoil the party in the 94th minute with a spectacular volley. Now Leverkusen need to find something to help them concentrate for a full 90 minutes - and time added on.

Tottenham have been nothing short of machine in terms of getting results this season. The Londoners' only lapse came in their opening UCL-match against Monaco, where they fell to a 1-2 defeat at Wembley. Last weekend's 1-1 draw at West Brom didn't look good, but the way in which it came will have pleased Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino. Dele Alli brought Spurs level on the 89th minute, so the draw will have pleased Spurs more than their opponents.

Pochettino praised his team for their spirit in that tough encounter, and Spurs have gone a long way in recent years when it comes to mental fortitude. The defeat to Monaco was mostly down to the occasion and playing at the national stadium. In the last round of European fixtures Spurs grabbed a 0-1 win in Moscow, so they still have a good chance of qualifying for the knockout stages. However, in a tight group like this there isn't a lot of room for errors.

BETTING IDEAS:

Tottenham suffered a big setback last weekend, as defender Toby Alderweireld was carried off the field. It looks to be a long absence for the Belgium international, but although he is a world class player, Spurs do have the strength in depth necessary to cope without him.

When it comes to Leverkusen the biggest mystery is always how they manage to execute their game plan. At their best the Germans can match almost anyone. For example, last season they twice played out tight matches against eventual champions Barcelona (a 1-1 draw and a 2-1 loss). However, their inconsistency this season tips the scales in favour of Tottenham.

Double chance: x2: 37/50 (Unibet/LeoVegas)

Draw no bet: Tottenham (2): 31/20 (Unibet/LeoVegas)

Leverkusen haven't been able to keep a clean sheet in either of their Champions League matches this season, and it was the same story last season as they conceded at least once in each of their group stage games. This season the Germans have managed two clean sheets in ten matches. Luckily for them, scoring goals hasn't been an issue, as they have scored in all but of one of those 10 games.

Tottenham's defence has been one of the strongest in the Premier League this season, but Alderweireld's injury and Spurs' UCL struggled do raise a few question marks. Especially against Monaco their defending was far from their best. Over 2.5 goals sounds a step too far considering the low-scoring games Spurs have had this season, but both teams to score looks worth a punt.

Both teams to score, Yes: 19/25 (Fastbet)

Spurs' South Korean striker Heung-Min Son was rested at the weekend against West Brom, meaning that he will probably in for a start in Germany. Son has been on fire this season, scoring four times in September alone, scoring Spurs' winner against CSKA and even finding the net for his country in a crucial World Cup qualifier against Qatar.

To score - at any point in the match: Heung-Min Son: 14/5 (Unibet/LeoVegas)

 

PREVIEW: LEICESTER CITY - FC COPENHAGEN

Leicester's title defence has almost been a disaster. The Foxes have been on the receiving hand of beatings from Manchester United (4-1), Liverpool (4-1) and Chelsea twice (2-4 & 3-0). A goalless draw against Arsenal earlier in the season doesn't bring too much joy anymore to the Leicester faithful. The Foxes have only managed two wins in the league out of eight, and the stern defensive discipline of last season has been a thing of the past.

It looks like Leicester have been focusing on their European games way too much, as despite their league form the Foxes have been themselves of last season in the Champions League. Two games, two wins and no goals conceded. The difference between their league and European has been nothing short of night and day.

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri rested both star-man Riyad Mahrez and record signing Islam Slimani in the 3-0 defeat to Chelsea. This points towards both men starting against Copenhagen. Shinji Okazaki also missed the game against Chelsea, most likely due to the fatigue of playing with Japan on the international break. All in all, Ranieri's rotation seems to indicate that they are focusing on the Champions League.

Their opponents on Tuesday, FC Copenhagen will not strike fear into Leicester hearts. However, their form this season must be respected. FCK had to make their way to the group stages through several rounds of qualifying. In 21 matches the Danes have 13 wins and 8 draws, with the highlights being their UCL games, where they first drew 1-1 away at Porto, followed by a fantastic 4-0 win over Club Brugge.

BETTING IDEAS:

FC Copenhagen have been in top form this season, and they have only failed to score once. However, Leicester's defence has not been penetrated in Europe so far, and if Ranieri's men can play on their own level the Danes will be in for their toughest test yet.

Both teams will most likely employ defensive tactics from the start. Leicester showed this against Porto, giving their hosts almost full control of possession. Despite the 4-0 scoreline, Brugge also had more of the ball than the Foxes. Copenhagen's defence was also excellent against the two other teams in their group, and they managed to keep their opponents from having almost any good scoring chances.

 - Total amount of goals: less than 2.5 goals: 73/100 (Unibet/LeoVegas)

Both teams won't score: 43/50 (Fastbet/Bethard)

In terms of possible goalscorers all eyes are naturally on both teams' star strikers. Leicester's Islam Slimani last found the back of the net against Porto, and after resting the weekend the Algerian is in for 90 minutes against the Danes.

Meanwhile, Copenhagen's main man is the tall Andreas Cornelius, who has scored four times in the Danish league this season, while Cornelius has also scored six in eight Champions League group stage- and qualifying matches. Leicester have been bad at defending set-pieces this season, and Copenhagen will attempt to take advantage of this with their tall target man up front.

To score - whenever: Islam Slimani: 8/5 (Fastbet/Bethard/Unibet/LeoVegas)

To score - whenever: Andreas Cornelius: 18/5 (Unibet/LeoVegas)

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