Huddersfield v Fulham
Championship – 7.45 pm
It was only earlier this year that Huddersfield and Fulham were squaring up against each other in the Premier League. But neither could survive the drop from the top flight at the end of last season so here they are. In the immensely competitive Championship. Looking to figure out a way to get back out.
Huddersfield will be hoping this game at the John Smith’s Stadium will bring them their first league success of the season. The leading bookies have them at 17/10 to do just that. It has been one point from two games so far from them back in the Championship. After losing at home to Derby on the opening weekend, they grabbed their first point in a draw at QPR in their second fixture. Last season Huddersfield won just three games in the top flight.
One of them was at home against Fulham. The reason that the Cottagers were sunk last season was that they had no defensive control whatsoever. To their credit, they have held together a pretty decent squad and they are expected to be one of the main contenders to earn promotion. They picked up a 2-0 home win over Blackburn last weekend, shaking off an opening weekend defeat against Barnsley. Fulham are 6/4 with top bookmakers for the away win.
Bayern Munich v Hertha Berlin
Bundesliga – 7.30 pm
Bayern Munich begin their Bundesliga title defence on Friday night with a home game against Hertha Berlin. Big bookmakers have Bayern as overwhelming favourites to get the victory at the Allianz. To highlight that, a Bayern Munich/Bayern Munich half time/full-time bet is at 4/7 odds-on. That’s how dominant they are expected to be and that’s likely to draw a lot of punters as one of the best bets of the day.
In last season’s top-flight Bayern posted a W13 D3 L1 record on home soil, with Borussia Moenchengladbach the only visiting team to the Allianz to win there. As usual, Bayern were prolific in front of goal, averaging almost three goals per home fixture. With a star-studded attack including Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller, more of the same is fully expected.
Hertha Berlin, who are 12/1 outright underdogs with top bookmakers, can’t be looking forward to this game. They have failed to score in their last five away games against Bayern Munich. So are they to be written off completely? Well maybe not. They did get a league home win over Bayern last season and have lost just one of their last five league fixtures against the Bavarian giants (W1 D4).
New Zealand v Australia
Bledisloe Cup Rugby – 8.45 am (Saturday)
Ready for some early morning heavyweight international rugby? Of course. There is a big of extra spice in this clash between the All Blacks and Australia. For the first time since the Rugby Championship came into being, New Zealand finished third in the table (of four teams). They have been the dominant force and they are the reigning World champions.
But it hasn’t been a great 2019 from them though. They were challenged hard in their opening Rugby Championship game in Argentina. The Kiwis failed to score in the second half of that Buenos Aires battle but held on for the win. Back on home soil, they were then thwarted at the death by South Africa who took a draw in Auckland. Then came their old rivals Australia.
New Zealand were still favourites to win the first of their two meetings in this year’s Bledisloe Cup against the Wallabies. However, they went in trailing at the halftime break and had Scott Barrett sent off (just the fourth All Black ever to see red) before the interval. That opened the game up for Australia who posted a record points tally against New Zealand in a 47-26 success. It also equalled the biggest margin of defeat ever suffered by New Zealand in a test match.
Still, despite all that, the leading bookmarks have a New Zealand -14 handicap at 10/11 for the weekend. The Kiwis are after all at Eden Park. New Zealand don’t lose to Australia at Eden Park. Do they? Well, not in the last decade at least. The Australians haven’t been great at all, and the 2018 calendar year was one of their worst on record for results. Will they feel an All Black backlash or can they pull off a stunning double over their rivals? The Wallabies are 9/2 in the match outright.