Jorge Wilstermann v Boca Juniors (Tuesday, 20:30 Cochabamba, 21:30 ART, 19:30 EST, 00:30 Weds GMT)
Last year’s Copa Libertadores runners up Boca Juniors begin their quest to go one better on Tuesday night as the group stage of the 2019 competition gets underway. Boca are visiting Cochabamba, Bolivia, to take on Jorge Wilstermann, and readers in the USA can catch the game via the beIN Sports live stream available through Fanatiz; head to this link and use the discount code hopfz to get 20% off your first three months with the service.
Wilstermann – best remembered to Argentine fans as the club who shocked River Plate 3-0 in the first leg of their quarter-final in 2017 before going down 8-0 in the Monumental a week later – have had a mixed start to their Bolivian División Profesional campaign, with four wins, two draws and four defeats so far. Their most recent match was last Wednesday, when they drew 3-3 at home with Destroyers (oh how I love Bolivian club names) in a match which featured most of the players who are expected to start for them tonight.
According to Bolivia’s Diez, the hosts will field a 4-3-3, with veteran defender Jorge Ortíz at the base of midfield and former Boca youth player Cristian Chávez as the creative midfielder against his old club. Chávez’s ability to join the forward line, and Brazilian winger Serginho’s habit of dropping a little deeper than the front line, mean that the formation could well end up looking more 4-2-3-1 at times. Serginho’s fellow Brazilian Lucas Gaúcho will lead the forward line.
Boca’s Superliga match on Friday night was their most confident performance yet under new boss Gustavo Alfaro, and ended in a 3-1 win way to Unión. La Nación reckon they’ll be unchanged here, which means a surprising-for-some place in the starting XI for Carlos Tevez (Mauro Zárate is clearly the better option these days, but will be on the bench), and a rough 4-4-2 which, with Nahitan Nández and Iván Marcone sitting deeper, and Tevez dropping off line-leader Darío Benedetto, will, similarly to the hosts’ system, look a lot like a 4-2-3-1 most of the time.
For gamblers, Boca are obviously the favourites, but Wilstermann hold a significant joker in the altitude of Cochabamba. While nowhere near as high as La Paz, they’re still at 2,500+ metres above sea level, and if there’s one thing seasoned Libertadores watchers know well it’s that Bolivian sides are experts at making those conditions count. I still think Boca ought to win, but I believe the safest value lies in the goals market: with Boca’s attacking threat, Wilstermann’s iffy recent defensive record (they’ve played five games since their last clean sheet) and the wildcard of the altitude, this should go over 2.5 goals.
Don’t forget if you’re reading from the States that by signing up to Fanatiz you can enjoy beIN’s coverage of the Libertadores and the Sudamericana this year. That discount code again is hopfz.