Ronaldo can Lead Real Madrid to Victory at Juventus
The Champions League returns this week for the first legs of the quarter finals and there are some excellent matches lined up. The two remaining English clubs have been drawn against each other and Liverpool host Manchester City in the first leg at Anfield on Wednesday. Manchester United’s victors Sevilla welcome Bayern Munich to Spain as they attempt to take another huge scalp, but the biggest clash of all takes place on Tuesday as Real Madrid travel to Italy to take on Juventus.
The current European champions may be off the pace domestically in La Liga, but they have barely put a foot wrong in their attempt to claim a record third Champions League in a row. Cristiano Ronaldo scored three times over two legs as Real got the better of PSG, winning 3-1 at home and 2-1 away to knock the Parisiens out. Juventus could only draw 2-2 at home with Spurs in the round of 16 but made up for it with a decisive 2-1 win at Wembley to send the English side packing. This is a repeat of last year’s final but it will be a tall order for Juve to come out on top of a Real side which ran away with a 4-1 win to lift the trophy in 2017.
In other games, English fans will be looking forward to the Liverpool v Manchester City tie – especially if it is anything like the Reds 4-3 win over City in January in the Premier League. Barcelona are a short price to get the better of Roma at the Nou Camp, while German champions Bayern Munich will look to go one better than Manchester United when they visit Sevilla.
Juventus v Real Madrid
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After falling behind early on in the season, Juventus have roared back to the top of Serie A in Italy and no lead the table by four points from Napoli. Their Champions League form has been fine and after finishing 2nd in the group behind Barcelona they went on to knock out Spurs in the round of 16. Two results in this season’s UCL sound a note of caution, however. Firstly, they were outclassed and beaten 3-0 away at Barcelona; and secondly, they were pegged back from 2-0 up against Spurs to a 2-2 draw in the first leg of the round of 16. Real Madrid are certainly comparable to both of those sides and are a fair price to come away with a victory here. The only game Juventus have lost at home all season was a 1-2 league defeat to Lazio but their home record will come under serious threat on Tuesday night.
Real beat PSG home and away in the round of 16 and remain on course to defend their trophy. Surprisingly, they finished 2nd in their group behind Spurs but there was no other opposition as Borussia Dortmund self-destructed. The 3-1 defeat at Wembley to Tottenham coincided with a lull in form both for Ronaldo and Real. The Portugal striker is now back to his best and it is no great shock that Madrid are also back in excellent form. The current holders of the Champions League have a roster of quality players and can hit teams with swift counter-attacks. That may prove to be a problem for Juventus, who will be well aware that to have a good chance of reaching the semi final, they probably need to win this first leg. The more Juve push the more vulnerable they will be at the back and Ronaldo & Co. can take advantage to earn a first leg win.
Liverpool v Manchester City
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It may be the obvious play, but both teams to score looks to have every chance of being a winning bet when Liverpool and City face off on Wednesday night. These sides have had two explosive matches this term already in the Premier League. Man City thumped Liverpool 5-0 earlier in the season in a game which saw Sadio Mane sent off, but the Reds got their revenge with January’s 4-3 win at Anfield.
Both sides attack relentlessly and neither is renowned for clean sheets – although both have improved defensively in recent weeks. However, keeping clean sheets against mid-table Premier League side is one thing, keeping clean sheets against the prolific attacks these sides possess is another. Both sides had facile victories in the round of 16, Liverpool beating Porto 5-0 on aggregate and Manchester City sauntering past Basel 5-2 on aggregate. This is a much tougher test and it’s not easy to predict which side might come out on top on Wednesday evening. Both teams to score looks the best bet though as City will desire an away goal and Liverpool will want to emerge victorious in their home leg.
Sevilla v Bayern Munich
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Finally, Bayern Munich are fancied to beat Sevilla in the other quarter final on Tuesday night. Sevilla did beat Manchester United at Old Trafford after a 0-0 draw in the home leg, but it isn’t a vintage Red Devils side under Jose Mourinho and that result shouldn’t be overestimated. The Spanish club is 6th in La Liga and at best will qualify for a Europa League spot through league position. They’ve only won one of the last five at home and have suffered two defeats at the hands of Valencia and Atletico Madrid.
Bayern smashed six past Dortmund in the Bundesliga over the weekend and have a 17 point lead at the head of their domestic table. They finished second behind PSG in the group, on goal difference, but thrashed Besiktas 8-1 on aggregate in the round of 16. They are scoring goals for fun at the moment and could prove to be far too good for Sevilla on the night.
Real Madrid to beat Juventus
Tuesday 3rd April, 19:45 GMT
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Liverpool v Man City – Both teams to score
Wednesday 4th April, 19:45 GMT
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Bayern Munich to beat Sevilla
Tuesday 3rd April, 19:45 GMT
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- Bayern Munich
- manchester city
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- UEFA Champions League