Soccer Picks: Steaua Bucharest vs. Schalke 04 Champions League

Nila Amerova

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 12:44 PM GMT

Schalke 04 and Steaua Bucharest collide on match day 5 in a decisive Group E clash. Here’s a primer on their Champions League date complete with value soccer picks.

Schalke 04 aim to clinch second place

Schalke 04 descend on Steaua Bucharest aiming to clinch second place in Group E on match day 5 in Champions League, but can the Bundesliga side accomplish the feat or will the Romanians thwart their ambitions?

If sportsbooks were any indication, Schalke 04 should accomplish the task. Bookies send the German side into the Romanian capital as the favourites albeit on the long side of even money at +105 to win outright at Bet365.

The pair met on opening day with Schalke 04 taking the convincing 3-0 victory at Stadion Gelsenkirchen to the delight of their fans. Immediately afterwards, Schalke beat Basel 1-0 on the road to extend their European winning streak to two in a row. Against group favourites Chelsea however they were dealt a setback with back-to-back defeats – a 3-0 defeat at home and once again a 3-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Schalke 04 will be looking to get their campaign (2-0-2) back on track with a much-needed win over Steaua. After all, a resilient FC Basel are nipping at their heels in third place just a point shy and a misstep in Bucharest will be costly to their ambitions in top-flight competition.

The Romanian side currently props up Group E with two points on the back of a winless campaign that stands at a 0-2-2 mark. Following the defeat to Schalke 04, they were routed by Chelsea 4-0 at home.

They very nearly suffered a third straight defeat against FC Basel but a late goal by Leandro Talu salvaged the point. On match day 4, they very nearly earned their first win of the competition but for the Swiss to reverse the tables on them with a late equaliser in stoppage time that forced a 1:1 draw and a share in the spoils. 

Steaua Bucharest vs. Schalke 04 betting tips and picks

Both sides have everything to play for in this match. Schalke 04 are in pole position to secure passage into the knockout phases – depending on the result between Chelsea and Basel as well. But they can’t take anything for granted as for the hosts it’s all or nothing. It’s a must-win if Steaua Bucharest want to keep any sliver of hope alive. A draw or defeat would shatter their dreams of prolonged top-flight action this season surely.

As mentioned earlier bookies favour the Bundesliga outfit for the win at +105 soccer odds and it’s hard to disagree with them when the first meeting between the pair ended in a decisive 3-0 victory to Schalke 04.  The Germans were playing on home ground then and that is always an advantage but that doesn’t detract from the fact that they have more skill and depth than do the Romanians. Something that is sure to factor in their reverse fixture on Tuesday night.

Steaua Bucharest have been outplayed, outscored and outmuscled throughout the competition so far, even in the two draws to Basel. Most concerning of all is their lack of offense – they’ve contributed just two goals while defence (also a big question mark) have allowed nine goals. So it’s no wonder that sportsbooks aren’t putting much stock into a win by Steaua listing it at a hefty +300 price at Bet365. Not even the draw at +260 is within their reach by all accounts.

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Soccer Betting Verdict: Schalke 04 have the perfect opportunity before them – a winnable match – to seal their European fate for the knockout stages. As well when comparing the Xs and Os, they practically leap off the page in every category. It’s therefore hard to imagine anything but a Schalke 04 win on the road and fortunately for sports bettors it’s a value soccer pick as well at +105 soccer odds. Additional recommended bets with the Schalke 04 win are the Over 2.5 at -105 and the Schalke 04 to win both halves at +210.

Soccer Free Picks: Schalke 04 to win outright at +105 and Over 2.5 at -105

Bonus Free Picks: Schalke 04 to win both halves at +210