UEFA Champions League Tips, Predictions and Match Previews for the Quarter-Finals

  • Guide to all four games
UEFA Champions League

The UEFA Champions League knockout stages continue with four games this week as the quarter-finals second legs get underway with places in the last four at stake.

We preview all four games and give our best bets and predictions for the Quarter-Finals second leg matches.

Manchester City v Liverpool Betting Tips Explained

Has a stunning first-half blitz already settled this Champions League quarter-final tie? Liverpool make the short trip to Manchester boasting a commanding 3-0 lead after a stunning first leg at Anfield, and while many were surprised that the Reds ran out winners we were not. We successfully backed them as part of a hat-trick of winning bets on the match, so it was not only Kopites who were celebrating when the final whistle blew.

Mohamed Salah needed just 12 minutes to break the deadlock and add to his ever-growing goal tally in his first season on Merseyside, and Liverpool fans were in dreamland eight minutes later when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain slammed in the second. Sadio Mane then added a third just after the half-an-hour mark as the Reds ran riot, but Manchester City ensured the game did not get too far out of hand with an improved showing in the second half and afterwards Jurgen Klopp insisted the tie is far from over despite his side’s three-goal cushion.

Klopp is right not to write off a City team that have dominated English football this season, but he has to be delighted with the position his team find themselves. That three-goal cushion is a very healthy one and they also need not fear the away goals factor because City did not manage to find the back of the net once at Anfield. So the question is will Liverpool collapse at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night, or can they end Manchester City’s quest for a Premier League/Champions League/League Cup treble?

I am going to duck out of answering that question, but I am backing City to run out winners in this return meeting. While their record against Liverpool in recent seasons has not been great, I cannot overlook their almost flawless record at home. Guardiola’s team have won 20 of their 23 competitive matches at the Etihad Stadium and they can make it 21 from 24 here.

Liverpool are known for their all-out attack, but surely they will have to play a lot more conservatively here because they will not want to give City the slightest glimmer of hope that they can successfully overhaul the deficit. Being reckless could backfire spectacularly and end their European dream, so I expect them to be a lot more defensive in an attempt to frustrate the home team. We should still see a few goals though – the three previous meetings between these two clubs this season have combined for 15 of them!

Roma v Barcelona

Barcelona have one foot in the semi-finals of the Champions League after they ran out 4-1 winners in the first leg of this quarter-final tie with Roma. Bizarrely it was own goals from Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas that gave them a 2-0 lead before Gerard Pique became the first Barca player to find the back of the net. Edin Dzeko then thought he had given Roma a glimmer of hope in the tie when he pulled one back with just 10 minutes remaining, only for Luis Suarez to restore the La Liga leaders’ three-goal cushion with three minutes remaining in normal time.

However, while the scoreline made for convincing reading, the Barcelona performance did not make for great viewing. They looked disjointed at times going forward and looked shaky at the back throughout, but Roma were unable to capitalise and that means they have a mountain to climb when the two teams lock horns in the second leg on Italian soil on Tuesday night.

The good news for Roma is that they have been strong at home in the Champions League with three wins and one draw coming at the Stadio Olimpico, and they are yet to concede a European goal in front of the home fans having out-scored the opposition 5-0 in that time. However, countering that statistic is an underwhelming home record in Serie A that has seen them suffer several defeats this season with the likes of Napoli, AC Milan and Inter Milan all leaving the capital with maximum points.

Barcelona, of course, are a cut above those sides as the bookmakers’ favourites to go all the way in the competition, and they are unbeaten in the Champions League this season. However, their results away from the Camp Nou have been underwhelming in this competition, with draws coming against Olympiakos, Juventus and Chelsea, and they have been held to a draw in five of their 16 away games in La Liga. So while they are arguably the best team in all of Europe, them winning away from home is not always guaranteed. Barca avoiding defeat has been almost guaranteed though – they have suffered one away defeat all season and that came in the Copa Del Rey, so the outcome of this match is not cut-and-dried.

Bayern Munich v Sevilla

Bayern Munich have the upper-hand as they prepare to host Sevilla in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie on Wednesday night. The German giants fell behind just after the half-an-hour mark when Pablo Sarabia gave Sevilla a shock lead, but they stayed in front for just five minutes as a Jesus Navas own goal levelled matters, and Thiago Alcantara then bagged what proved to be the match-winner for Bayern with just over 20 minutes.

That means not only do Munich have a one-goal lead going into Wednesday, they also have two away goals in the bank. So can Bayern complete the job when Sevilla come to town for the replay, or will the Spaniards spring another European surprise this season?

The very fact Sevilla are in the quarter-finals is a bit of a shock. A goalless home draw against Manchester United in the first leg of the last-16 left them on shaky ground heading into the second leg at Old Trafford, but the Spanish side stunned the Premier League giants as two goals from substitute Wissam Ben Yedder lifted them to a famous 2-1 victory at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’. However, going Old Trafford and beating Manchester United is not quite the achievement it once was – going to the Allianz Arena and beating Bayern, however, that would be a huge accomplishment.

Bayern Munich have won all four of their home games in the Champions League so far this season, dominating the opposition to outscore them 14-1 overall, and if you want to look past this competition to see if there is a weakness you will not find one. Jupp Heynckes’ side are unbeaten at the Allianz Arena in the Bundesliga this season, winning 12 and drawing two of their 14 games so far, while rattling in 46 goals and conceding just nine, so everything points to a home win here.

The match betting odds are not particularly appealing though, so for me the best option is backing Bayern Munich to win to nil. Sevilla have not struggled for goals this season, especially in the Champions League where they have netted in 10 of their 11 matches, but this Bayern team rarely concedes in front of the home fans so there is always a very good chance that they will notch a clean sheet. They have kept out three of the four teams they have hosted in this competition so far this season, and Sevilla could become the fourth to be shut out.

Real Madrid v Juventus

As impressive as Liverpool’s home win over Manchester City was a week ago, the stand-out result in the Champions League quarter-final first legs had to be Real Madrid’s 3-0 victory at Juventus in the repeat of last season's final.

‘The Old Lady’ have been notoriously hard to break down at the back over the years, but their gameplan went out of the window when Cristiano Ronaldo broke the deadlock after three minutes and their European dream was all but ended by a stunning overhead kick from the Portuguese star. There was still time for Marcelo to add a little more gloss to the scoreline and that means if Juventus want to reach the final of this season’s Champions League, they must at least be 3-0 up at full-time on Wednesday night just to force extra time, and if they are to get the job done in 90 minutes they must score at least four times and win by at least three goals.

So can Juventus achieve what appears to be the impossible? This preview was written prior to the Serie A leaders’ weekend trip to rock-bottom Benevento, but I think it is safe to assume that they ran out winners. After all, it would be a colossal upset if we saw anything other than a victory for ‘The Old Lady’ against a team who have been out of their depth in the Italian top flight. A win would be Juve’s 26th success in 31 league outings, but not even that impressive record gives me the confidence to back them to at least win this second leg match, especially on foreign soil.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side have won just twice on their travels in the Champions League this season and when they visited Real’s bitter rivals Barcelona in the group stage, they fell to a 3-0 defeat. With Madrid in blistering form right now I would not be surprised to see the Spanish side run out winners by a similar scoreline, so backing them to overcome a one-goal handicap appears to be the way to go here.

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UEFA Champions League Tips, Predictions and Match Previews for the Quarter-Finals

The UEFA Champions League knockout stages continue with four games this week as the quarter-finals second legs get underway with places in the last four at stake.

Read more »

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