Bayern Munchen did not have a single attempt on goal in the first leg of its UEFA Champions League semi-final against Barcelona and yet Pep Guardiola’s injury-hit side is the favourite for the second leg at its Allianz Arena.
Sorry but one cannot have a bar of Bayern Munchen being the favourite to beat a Barcelona team that has won 17 and drawn one of its last 18 matches and possesses a front three that should revel in the space that its opponent is guaranteed to leave behind as it goes in search of a miracle turnaround.
Bayern Munchen overcame a two-goal deficit in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals to eliminate Porto so, at least until such time that Barcelona scores at the Allianz Arena, the German Bundesliga title holder is going to have a crack. But one fancies Barcelona to score at least one goal – Barca have hit the back of the net in 50 of their 55 games across all competitions – and one goal would leave Bayern Munchen needing to score at least five goals in normal time. Whatever wind is in Bayern Munchen’s sails is likely to go out of them if Barcelona opens the scoring and, instead of backing Bayern at odds of +100 with several bookmakers, one is considerably more interested in backing the visitors to triumph at odds of +175 with Boylesports and PaddyPower.
Liverpool legend Graeme Souness made international headlines when he labelled Lionel Messi as the best footballer of all time – Souey said that it was not even close between Messi, Diego Maradona and Pele anymore – and one should be in no doubt that Messi will want to take out not only the UEFA Champions League but also the event’s Golden Boot. Messi leads his greatest rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, by one UEFA Champions League goal with a maximum of two matches to go – you would be crazy to think that the Barcelona superstar will just go through the motions versus Bayern Munchen.
So, in addition to backing Barcelona to beat Bayern Munchen in the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg, one is keen on taking odds of +132 with 888Sport and Unibet that Messi scores at any time during the Allianz Arena game. The Messi/Barcelona win-cast is available at +300 with Bwin if you’d rather combine both bets and go down that route.
Most neutrals are dreaming of a UEFA Champions League final between Barcelona and Real Madrid, which would be the first Clasico clash in the competition’s decider. One thinks that Real Madrid will qualify for the UEFA Champions League title decider at the expense of Juventus, with several bookmakers, including Bet365 and SkyBet quoting odds of -125 about the Meringues progressing. Ten of the 19 sides that have trailed 1-2 after playing the first leg of a UEFA Champions League tie away from home have ended up going through to the next stage so the omens are good for Real Madrid, which is mighty hard to beat on its own pitch.
Certainly one should not be put off by Real Madrid’s 2-2 Spanish Primera Division home draw with Valencia – Real struck the woodwork three times and Ronaldo fluffed a penalty kick two minutes into first-half stoppage time. Valencia led 2-0 after 26 minutes yet, ultimately, it was lucky to escape with a Spanish Primera Division point rather than a two- or three-goal defeat. Real Madrid has scored in 52 of its 57 competitive matches – four of those games were versus Atletico Madrid – so the odds are firmly in favour of the Meringues recording at least one goal against Juventus, which would be sufficient to qualify provided that Juve does not score. To put it simply, Real Madrid is the second best team in the world right now and Barcelona is number one.
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