BILLY BUNTER

Weblog: The football punter

Drinking to success in League Two final

THE football season is easing me into the summer with a slow Saturday of live action, but I’m expecting the League Two playoff final to be anything but calm.

I was tempted to back goals after reading in the Soccerbase preview that both teams have scored in 13 of Wycombe’s last 18 games, as all of those matches also featured over 2.5 goals.

But while the Chairboys are fairly exciting, Southend keep things much tighter and their regular-season games averaged only two goals per match.

If the stats aren’t giving me much help I’ll do anything to try to find an edge, so I’ve been carefully reading the diary of Wycombe midfielder Matt Bloomfield, who is giving the BBC intimate access in the build-up to the final.

He said: “The dogs had a vet’s appointment and I had to get to the retail park to buy my trousers to go with our club blazer.”

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Yes, this is dynamite stuff but I’m going to have to dig a little deeper.

“Shared a beer in the dressing room. No champagne, as that's for celebrating, and we haven't achieved anything yet.”

Ah, now we’re talking.

Did they share one beer between the whole team? In which case, they’re probably annoyed at boss Gareth Ainsworth for being so stingy.

Or did they have one each? In that case, some of them could have been well on their way. I know what it’s like when you start to get a taste for it.

Either way, it’s got to favour the Shrimpers.

I like Southend – just like their airport, they’re definitely underrated – but these finals are nervy affairs so I’m backing them to be promoted rather than on the match odds.

If they go up, I’ll celebrate by taking the dog to the vet to get his hearing checked out.

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Match in Focus

14:30 TODAY BT2

Hamburg v Schalke

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Hamburg have kept one clean sheet in their last ten home fixtures
Expert verdict
Hamburg have never been relegated from the Bundesliga but their fate could be sealed by a defeat at home to Schalke. Victory for the hosts would open up the possibility of survival or a place in the relegation/promotion playoff but they can take nothing for granted against the Royal Blues, who will be keen to hold on to fifth place.