Who will hold the advantage? Champions League Quarter Final Tips and Preview
It’s a fantastic week for sport coming up with midweek seeing the first leg of the quarter finals of the Champions and Europe Leagues taking place and then on Thursday, the Masters Golf tournament gets underway at Augusta (and we have a different preview article on that event for you available tomorrow).
For us though, the focus is the four Champions League quarter final first leg games taking place this week and in this preview, we are going to take a close look at each of the four games, the probable line-ups for each team as well as giving you our tips on how we see each gaming going.
First though, let’s take a quick look at how the Champions League Outright betting market with Coral has changed since the draw for the quarters took place in Nyon back on the 16th March.
Champions League – Outright Winner market (odds courtesy of Coral)
- Barcelona – 5/2 Fav
- Manchester City – 10/3
- Bayern Munich – 7/2
- Real Madrid – 9/2
- Juventus – 12/1
- Liverpool – 14/1
- Sevilla – 66/1
- AS Roma – 66/1
Since the draw was made there has been a change in favourite for the tournament now with Barcelona the new favourites ahead of Manchester City, who drop to second favourites, while the odds on Bayern Munich have also come right in to 7/2. Real Madrid’s odds have remained around the same, while Liverpool, Juventus, Sevilla and AS Roma have all seen their odds drift slightly after they were handed tough draws.
In terms of value, I think the smart bet here is Juventus at 12/1. They face as tough a task as it can get against Real Madrid but I think they can do a job on the Spanish side over two legs. I also feel having beaten Barcelona in last years tournament, they have the ability to get the job done against them too, though I think they would face an almighty battle against either of the two English sides should they face them.
Champions League Quarter Finals 1st Legs (all kick off times are 7.45pm)
Tuesday 3rd April
Juventus v Real Madrid
Possible Juventus XI: (4-4-2) – Buffon, Lichsteiner, Sandro, Chiellini, Barzagli, Pjanic, Matuidi, Costa, Mandzukic, Higuain, Dybala
Possible Real Madrid XI: (4-3-3) – Navas, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo, Kroos, Casemiro, Modric, Bale, Ronaldo, Asensio
Having faced Barcelona in the group stage and then Tottenham in the Round of 16, Juventus now face current holders and the team that beat them in last year’s final, Real Madrid, in the quarter finals. It’s another tough task for the Italians, but they do have a good home record against Real, winning five of their last six and drawing the other in Turin.
Real played superbly to defeat PSG in the last round, with Cristiano Ronaldo once again their key man and the Portuguese ace was the man who put Juventus to the sword in last year’s final. With Real well out of the title race in Spain, this will be their only chance of silverware this season and as such, they will be strongly focused on progressing here.
At home though Juventus are formidable and they have already kept Barcelona to a clean sheet in Turin this season. I don’t think Real are as good as Barcelona and as such, with Dybala now back and fit, I think the home side will just about steal an advantage here.
Tip – This should be a close one but I am backing Juventus just to edge it by a single goal – Juventus win 31/20 with Coral.
Sevilla v Bayern Munich
Possible Sevilla XI: (4-3-3) – Rico, Escudero, Mercado, Kjaer, Lenglet, Banega, N’Zonzi, Sarabia, Vazquez, Correa, Muriel
Possible Bayern Munich XI: (4-4-1-1) – Ulreich, Rafinha, Boateng, Hummels, Alaba, Ribery, James, Vidal, Robben, Muller, Lewandowski.
Sevilla produced one of their best performances in the Champions League to knock out Manchester United in the last round with a 2-1 win at Old Trafford, but the Spanish side now face an even greater test against Bayern Munich.
The Germans were thumped by PSG in th group stage, but came through easily against Besiktas in the Round of 16 and they are miles clear in the Bundesliga and now focused strongly on getting to another Champions League final.
As much as Sevilla did well against United, I think Bayern have them outmatched in almost every area of the field and for me, that makes the German side very strong favourites not just to progress but to take a lead back with them to Germany.
Tip – Sevilla did superbly against Manchester United but Bayern are another level, I’m backing the Germans to come out on top here – Bayern to win 8/11 with Coral.
Wednesday 4th April
Barcelona v AS Roma
Possible Barcelona XI: (4-3-3) – Ter Stegen, Sergio Roberto, Alba, Pique, Umtiti, Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta, Dembele, Suarez, Messi
Possible AS Roma XI (4-5-1) – Alisson, Florenzi, Kolarov, Manolas, Fazio, Perotti, Nainggolan, Strootman, De Rossi, Under, Dzeko
Barcelona were inspired by the brilliance of Lionel Messi in the last round against Chelsea as his three goals over the two legs, plus setting up Dembele for another, was enough to send Barcelona through 4-1 on aggregate.
Roma scraped through on away goals against Shakhtar Donetsk and that to me suggests that if the struggled against the Ukrainian side, then they are not very likely to get much change out of a Barcelona side that have been in superb form at home all season long.
A couple of years ago, Roma were thumped 6-1 by Barcelona at the Nou Camp and while I cannot see that happening again, I still feel like Barcelona will take a big lead with them into the second leg in Rome in six days time.
Tip – Even if Roma play their best, it may well not be enough against a rampant Barcelona side inspired by the genius of Messi. This should be a big home win – Barcelona to win 1/4 with Coral.
Liverpool v Manchester City
Possible Liverpool XI: (4-3-3) – Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Can. Wijnaldum, Henderson, Mane, Firmino, Salah
Possible Man City XI: (4-3-3) – Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Danilo, Gundogan, Silva, De Bruyne, Sane, Bernardo Silva, Aguero
The tie that has been dubbed the Battle of Britain starts on Wednesday at Anfield with Liverpool and Manchester City both fresh from easy victories in the last round over FC Porto and FC Basel respectively, though both will now know that their level of difficulty has been ramped up several notches in this quarter final tie.
City defeated Liverpool 5-1 at home early in the season but the Reds became the first team to beat City in the league in January with a 4-3 win at Anfield. City also have a shocking record at Anfield with their last win their back in 2003, while in recent times, Liverpool have won five to City’s two wins and one draw over the last eight games.
However, this is a different City to those teams and I think they will have learned from that Anfield defeat. Similarly, with this being a two-legged tie, Liverpool’s approach may also be different which is why I fancy this one to end in an entertaining draw.
Tip – Of all the matches, I think this is the most open but I can’t see it being as open as the league game. I fancy a 1-1 draw here setting up a massive second leg in Manchester. Liverpool v Man City – Draw – 5/2 with Coral.