It’s crunch time for eight of Europe’s premier football teams. The second leg of these Champions League ties offers a shot at glory, a chance of redemption and the fear of heartbreak. It sounds like a night on the tiles with Kim Kardashian, if truth be told.
So here’s a quick recap of what went down in the first leg, and hopefully some astute betting tips for the second:
Man City (2) vs (2) PSG
Avoid defeat to PSG and they reach the last four of the Champions League for the first time in their history: that’s the situation facing Manchester City. Easier said than done? Let’s take a look.
The English side are locked at 2-2 with their French opponents, but the crux is those two away goals they secured in the stalemate. Factor in their home advantage here and they look golden; especially given that in Champions League history nearly 80% of teams that have bagged two away goals in the first leg.
So how can we expect Tuesday’s second leg to pan out at the Etihad Stadium? Well, presumably it will be a role reversal from the first rubber: Man City will dominate possession with PSG looking to catch them on the break – as City did so well in their two goals. The Parisians will be without David Luiz and Blaise Matuidi due to suspension, while City will once again be without defensive lynchpin and captain Vincent Kompany – meaning human cannonball Eliaquim Mangala is likely to get the nod again.
PSG will know that Man City have kept just one clean sheet in their last ten Champions League outings, and that they have avoided defeat in 65% of their last ten matches on home soil in all competitions. They certainly have a chance here.
But Laurent Blanc’s men have won only won 4/10 on the road in this competition, so let’s back Man City to make European history on Tuesday night. They are 8/13 to qualify – in this way we can minimise our punting risk.
Real Madrid (0) vs (2) Wolfsburg
This was a result that nobody saw coming. Wolfsburg’s stunning 2-0 win over Real Madrid has given them a great chance of qualifying for the last four of European football’s premier competition. For Cristiano Ronaldo and co, the largest of eggs is in direct alignment with their collective face.
But, and here’s the rub for the Germans, Real only need to win 2-0 at the Bernabeu to take the tie to extra time and 3-0 to win outright….and you certainly wouldn’t put it past them. Their last three games at home in La Liga have returned 7-1, 4-0 and 4-0 victories, and in the group phase they thrashed Shakhtar 4-0 and Malmo 8-0. All in all they’ve won 14/17 at the Bernabeu this term and scored 64 goals – around 3.75 per game on average.
Wolfsburg tasted defeat at both PSV and Manchester United in their group encounters, and they simply don’t like playing on the road: they are W2 D4 L8 on their travels in the Bundesliga.
Many punters will be tempted by the 10/11 on offer for Real to qualify; instead, we prefer them with a -1 handicap on the night at 8/15, which is particularly appetising.
Atletico Madrid (1) vs (2) Barcelona
This might seem like an open-and-shut case, but don’t rule out Atletico here. Barcelona have embarked on a run of three matches without a win in La Liga, and in their group phase could only muster draws with Roma and Bayer Leverkusen. The door is ajar for Diego Simeone’s men….can they walk through it?
They are W11 D3 L1 at home in La Liga this term, while Barcelona’s away record – admittedly still good at W10 D3 L3 – suggests the merest hint of vulnerability.
And you may recall what has happened in the last two games these two sides have played each other: Atletico have taken the lead, had a man sent off and gone on to lose 1-2. So clearly, they are capable of ruffling the Catalonians’ feathers.
As such, while we won’t be making any bold predictions about the outcome of this tie, we’re happy to take the Atletico Double Chance on the night at 4/6.
Benfica (0) vs (1) Bayern Munich
Many of us expected Bayern to win by a more convincing margin in the first leg, but you could argue that they will be happy with the outcome: they didn’t concede an away goal, at least.
So realistically all they need to do is find the net here to proceed – a feat they have achieved in 13 of their last 15 outings. Benfica need to somehow keep a clean sheet and go and find at least one goal themselves; a difficult task, to say the least.
As a consequence, we’re more than happy to back Bayern to win this match at 7/10.