- It’s Matchday 4 in the UEFA Champions League
- RB Leipzig lead the way in Group G
- Zenit’s home form keeps them in the mix
The top two in UEFA Champions League Group G clash in St. Petersburg next week on November 5, at 1:55 pm EST but this group is still very much still in the balance at the halfway stage. The bookies can barely separate Zenit and RB ahead of next week’s game but we’ll have a look and see if we can find some pointers as to how it’s going to pan out.
Zenit St. Petersburg vs RB Leipzig Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total||Odds to Win Group G|
|Zenit St Petersburg||pk (-109)||+160||O 2.5, 3.0 (-118)||+350|
|RB Leipzig||pk (-107)||+159||U 2.5, 3.0 (+102)||-110|
Odds taken on October 30, 2019
Two wins from their opening three games have put RB in control of the group, but only just. This looks like one that will go all the way to game six – even Benfica can’t be ignored – and any dropped points could ultimately prove very costly. This makes Tuesday’s clash at the Saint Petersburg Stadium massive. A win for Leipzig and victory for Lyon in their home tie with Benfica would see the Russians squeezed out and facing an uphill struggle to make top two.
As things stand, Leipzig head to Russia hoping for the win but more importantly looking to avoid defeat. They’ll be wanting to at least retain that two-point gap they currently enjoy over Zenit. That brings the draw heavily into play.
Leipzig in Charge
RB’s Champions League campaign got off to a flyer with a fine away win in Benfica but hit the buffers in their first home game when they were beaten 2-0 by Lyon. They returned to winning ways however on Matchday 3 when it was Zenit’s turn to visit Leipzig.
Despite falling behind in the 25th minute, when Yaroslav Rakitskiy’s left-footed shot from outside the box found the bottom right corner of the RB net, it was a composed second-half performance from the home side that saw them score twice to nail all three points.
Just four minutes into the second period, Marcel Sabitzer intelligently found Konrad Laimer whose right footed shot from the right side of the box nestled in the corner of the net. The points were sealed ten minutes later when Sabitzer went from provider to scorer when he latched onto Lukas Klostermann’s cross and scored with a fizzing right-foot shot.
It was no more than the Germans deserved, and they will be looking for more of the same when the two sides meet again.
Zenit’s Home Form is Key
Zenit’s unhealthy reputation of not being particularly good travelers may have cost them in Germany but on home soil, they will be a very different proposition.
They headed into Matchday 3 leading the group by virtue of having scored one more goal than Lyon, but defeat in Leipzig saw them drop to second place, with one win, one draw and one loss.
Their 1-1 draw in Lyon on opening day was a great result for a team who, as we’ve said, are not the best travelers and maybe the fact they at least took the lead in Leipzig suggests the poor away form is on its way to being rectified.
To their credit, they followed up the draw in France with a 3-1 home win over Benfica, putting a huge dent in the Portuguese challenge in the process. Goals from Artem Dzyuba, a Ruben Dias own-goal and Sardar Azmoun set them up nicely for a proper tilt at top two and meant even with defeat in Leipzig, they would remain in contention.
Still on a Knife-Edge
This group looked to be on a knife-edge from the word go and nothing has changed. It’s really tough one to call, as is this tie in St. Petersburg but Zenit’s home form is such I believe this gives them a slight edge. It won’t be free-flowing or high-scoring – a single, late goal may decide it – but I can see it being a home win.
My pick: Zenit to win (+160)