Wednesday night brings this year’s Champions League round of 16 to its climax and the best has certainly been saved til last as four European giants bid to seal their places in the quarter-final.
All four teams will be hopeful of reaching the last eight but only two can progress. Expect to see some cracking action in Spain and Germany.
Barcelona V Manchester City. 7:45PM. Sky Sports 5
Premier League champions Manchester City were completely outplayed at the Etihad three weeks ago but Sergio Aguero’s second-half goal, combined with Lionel Messi’s missed injury time penalty, means that the Citizens head to Catalonia with a chance of progressing.
However, Manuel Pellegrini’s men will be aware of the tasks enormity and La Liga giants Barcelona have to be considered huge favourites to reach the quarter-final. Luis Enrique’s men endured some teething problems early on but are now firing on all cylinders, winning 16 of 18 competitive matches in 2015.
A formidable front three of Messio, Neymar and Luis Suarez is also proving to be a big hit and they’ll be hoping to increase their goal tally. Even if they were to fire a rare blank, City will still need to score twice. It looks a near impossible task, but we’ve seen plenty of drama from this side in recent years so maybe it would be wrong to write them off so prematurely.
Whatever happens, we should expect a thrilling spectacle. Some of the world’s greatest attacking talents are on display and the neutrals will be praying to see them deliver. Either way, it would be a major shock if Barca don’t progress.
Barcelona V Manchester City Betting
Unsurprisingly, Barcelona are the heavy favourites at 2/5 with Bet365. Meanwhile, the draw is available at 17/4. If you think Manchester City can cause a major upset then the Citizens can be backed at 7/1. Why not take advantage of a deposit match bonus of up to £200 when you join Bet365.
Taking the recent form of both sides into consideration, it’s almost implausible to think that Barcelona might surrender their advantage. That will be particularly true if Messi continues his recent purple patch.
The Argentina captain missed a penalty in the first-leg but has otherwise been fantastic in recent weeks. We’re backing him to enjoy another productive night at the Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi to score 2+ goals @ 3/1 with William Hill
Borussia Dortmund V Juventus. 7:45PM. Sky Sports 1
The final tie of the round comes from Germany as a revitalised Borussia Dortmund look to overturn a 2-1 deficit as they take on the Italian champions.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have finally got their act together in recent weeks and are now playing like the team we all know they are. It will still be considered a disappointing season on the domestic front, but success in this competition would at least repair some of that damage.
However, despite boasting the much greater Champions League success in recent years, Juventus are an equally capable outfit. The Serie A champions are walking away with their domestic title once more and a team boasting Paul Pogba, Andrea Pirlo and Carlos Tevez is always going to have a shot – especially with a lead to protect.
It’s a tired expression, but the first goal is genuinely massive in this match.
Borussia Dortmund V Juventus Betting
With home advantage, the bookies have made Borussia the slight favourites with Betfred pricing them at 5/4. However, with the draw available at 12/5 and a Juve win priced 5/2, the odds reflect the general consensus that this won’t be easy for either side. Taking advantage of Betfred’s bet £10 get £30 free looks a great option.
From a betting perspective, we think goals is the way to go. Dortmund obviously need goals as they trail 2-1, but the visitors won’t want to sit back at 0-0 as a 1-0 home win would see them eliminated on away goals.
Neither team can afford to throw caution to the wind, but they’ve both got to be positive. Whilst we wouldn’t want to predict the outcome, there should be goals.
BTTS @ 5/6 with BetVictor