Weekend Football Tips: Barcelona to set Malaga a trap

Lionel Messi was wonderfully creative at Levante on Wednesday

Michael Lintorn's in-play pattern search finds Barcelona often waiting until the 30th minute to erupt, and much more...

"Since the start of November, 42 of Barcelona’s 48 goals in all competitions have come in the 30th minute or later."

There isn't any Premier League action this weekend, but winter champions from three of Europe's glitziest leagues are in televised combat on three successive evenings, serving up limitless in-play betting opportunities...

Friday 19:30, Borussia Monchengladbach v Bayern Munich, BT Sport 2

The second half of the Bundesliga season - the Rückrunde - starts with the Dante Derby. The Bayern Munich defender returns to Borussia Monchengladbach, the club who gave him the platform to earn "late bloomer" status. This is theoretically one of Bayern's toughest domestic fixtures, as 'Gladbach lead Borussia Dortmund in third, having spilled just two points in nine home league games. Despite this, you can get 7.87/1 on them winning. It would be brave to take it pre-match, but if they go ahead, they warrant serious consideration having won all eight Bundesliga clashes in which they scored first. Even Bayern's figures aren't that good, having drawn from 1-0 up at Freiburg and Leverkusen.

Saturday 19:45, Lazio v Juventus, BT Sport 2

Juventus return to the Stadio Olimpico four days after Roma inflicted only their second domestic defeat of the campaign in the Coppa Italia. To maintain their epic run of 12 Serie A victories in a row, they must show the same professionalism that saw them shrug off their Champions League exit at Galatasaray. Lazio are unbeaten in four since "Uncle" Edy Reja's return to the dugout, but lost 4-0 and 4-1 in two August meetings with the leaders, causing the visitors to be rated 1.748/11 favourites. The Old Lady have won four of their last five trips to Lazio to nil, the exception coming when the capital team fired first. The tip therefore is to back the Juve clean sheet if they break the deadlock.

Sunday 20:00, Barcelona v Malaga, Sky Sports 1

For the second straight month, Barcelona have shimmied out of a puzzling maze with an avalanche of goals. They reacted to losses to Ajax and Athletic Bilbao with ten goals in two games, before dismissing successive La Liga draws by flinging four past Levante in midweek. Further progress is forecast against a Malaga side with one away triumph to their name and that haven't netted in three matches, hence Barca win to nil odds of 1.834/5. Over 2.5 goal enthusiasts might be wise to hold out in hope of an uneventful opening half hour rather than pounce at the current price of 1.330/100. Since the start of November, 42 of Barca's 48 goals in all competitions have come in the 30th minute or later.

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