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Football: Billy Goats aiming to spring a surprise against Bayern Munich in Bundesliga

Football: Billy Goats aiming to spring a surprise against Bayern Munich in Bundesliga

There are some key encounters taking place across the continent this Saturday with matches in Germany's Bundesliga, France's Ligue 1 and Italy's Serie A, while the Copa del Rey round of 16 begins in Spain.

Starting in Germany, all eyes will be on leaders Bayern Munich.

The Bavarian pacesetters saw their lead at the summit eroded to six points last weekend, when they lost 2-1 to Borussia Monchengladbach in their first game of 2022.

They have still lost only three Bundesliga games this term but could be light on personnel with Leon Goretzka, Dayot Upamecano, Alphonso Davies and Kingsley Coman thought to be missing this one.

And they will be wary of the threat posed by this weekend's opponents Cologne, who are in red-hot form, having seen off Hertha Berlin, Stuttgart and Wolfsburg in their last three games.

That run of wins moved them into the division's top six and they can be backed at 7/1 to inflict a fourth Bundesliga loss of the season on reigning champions Bayern, who are 1/3 to win with the draw 19/4.

Bundesliga: Leipzig to maintain winning form

Further down the division and another team looking to spark an ascent are Leipzig, who have won two of their first four matches under new manager Domenico Tedesco, formerly of Schalke.

Tedesco also formerly coached youth teams at Stuttgart and he will face his old side this weekend as part of our European Soccer Live Streaming Highlights.

Leipzig are fresh from a 4-1 thrashing of Mainz, who were reduced to 10 men after 19 minutes in that contest, and striker Andre Silva is in great form with four goals in as many games under Tedesco.

They are 8/13 to get the better of Stuttgart, who are 9/2 to prevail with the draw 3/1 on Saturday.

Ligue 1: Rock-bottom Etienne to struggle

Across in France, meanwhile, there is a double-header on Saturday with Saint-Etienne taking on Lens and PSG hosting Brest.

Basement boys Saint-Etienne have struggled in attack as it is this season, firing only 17 goals in their 19 matches, but player absences could hinder them further this weekend.

The players that have departed them for AFCON have scored roughly 70 per cent of their goals in Ligue 1 this term with Tunisian star Wahbi Khazri and Gabon's Denis Bouanga among those in Cameroon.

That does not bode well for Les Verts when they come up against a Lens team in pursuit of a top-four spot.

Lens struggled for points somewhat during December but are still up there in the mix for the European places and should be full of confidence after their recent 1-0 defeat of Rennes.

They are 1/1 to defeat Saint-Etienne, who are available at 11/4. The draw is 5/2.

Ligue 1: PSG to hit back quickly

With no Neymar or Lionel Messi in their ranks, PSG were held to a 1-1 draw by Lyon at the weekend and will hope they can justify their price of 1/5 when they resume action against Brest this Saturday.

Kylian Mbappe rattled the post twice in that game and the club have now managed only one win in their last five Ligue 1 games.

But Brest were thumped 3-0 by a Nice team who played 70 minutes with 10 men last time out and should represent a good opportunity for maximum points.

Football: Cup competition takes centre stage in Spain

A number of La Liga clubs are this week involved in the Copa del Rey with four fixtures in the last 16 taking place on Saturday.

The high-profile match is the Andalusian derby between Real Betis and Sevilla. Betis are 31/20 to come out on top with a Sevilla win 9/5 and the draw 21/10.

Betis have not been in brilliant form, winning three, losing two and drawing one of their last six games, but they can draw confidence from the fact their rivals are depleted.

Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou and strikers Youssef En-Nesyri and Munir are all at AFCON with the Morocco national team, leaving Sevilla a touch light on options and given Betis have lost only three of their last 12 assignments, the game could be closer than many punters think.

Serie A: Old Lady back in league action

And finally in Serie A on Saturday, Juventus are in action against Udinese only three days after their Supercup final clash with Inter, while Salernitana, fresh from only their third win of the league season, face Lazio with both games part of our European Soccer Live Streaming Highlights.

Salernitana are rooted to the foot of the Serie A standings, battling against relegation, and are 6/1 to defeat the Rome club, who are 9/20 to win. The draw is 7/2.

They did, however, get the better of Verona last time out, whereas Lazio were the latest side to fall against pacesetters Inter, losing 2-1 at the San Siro.

They are also without defender Franceso Acerbi, who was injured in the recent 3-3 draw with Empoli, and will be cautious of this weekend's opponents.

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