The Champions League round of 16 matches continue this week, starting with two mouth-watering showdowns on Tuesday.
Four of Europe’s big boys will be fighting it out for a place in the quarter-finals and these first-leg matches could scarcely be more important. We should be in for a cracking night of action.
Bring it on!
Manchester City V Barcelona. 7:45PM. ITV 1
At one stage during the group phase, Manchester City’s chances of reaching the knockouts looked virtually dead. However, the Premier League side may have to defy the odds once more if they are going to reach the quarter-finals.
The Citizens might be the current English champions, but they are in for an immensely tough test against a Barcelona side that has won this competition more times than any other club over the past decade.
In addition to their wealth of experience, the Catalans boast one of the world’s most fearsome attacking trios. Luis Enrique’s men are also in great form, winning 11 straight matches prior to last weekend’s shock defeat to Malaga. However, we’d expect them to be back to their best at the Etihad and City will need to be at their best to keep their Champions League dream alive.
City did remarkably well to reach this stage, but even the addition of Wilfried Bony is unlikely to save them against one of the competition’s frontrunners.
Manchester City V Barcelona Betting
Despite conceding home advantage, the more experienced Barcelona are priced 11/10 favourites with Bet365. Meanwhile Manchester City are available at 23/10 and the draw is priced 5/2.
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Manchester City boast enough experience in this competition to now know that they must go for goals in this crucial home leg and we think they will use the momentum of Saturday’s 5-0 win over Newcastle to help them find a way past the Barca backline.
However, the Citizens defence has looked shaky at times this season and that could allow the likes of Neymar, Messi and Suarez the chance to shine. City are heading in the right direction, but their hearts could be set to be broken by the La Liga giants.
BTTS & Barcelona Win @ 11/4 with Bet365
Juventus V Borussia Dortmund. 7:45PM. Sky Sports 1
The Serie A champions made no secrets about their desire to start turning Italian domination into genuine European pedigree this term and Massimiliano Allegri’s men will feel they’ve got every chance of reaching the last eight as they take on Borussia Dortmund.
A first-leg contest in Turin offers Juventus the perfect chance to get their noses in front and the likes of Paul Pogba, Carlos Tevez and Andrea Pirlo should give the Italians a great chance of success against Jurgen Klopp’s suttering visitors.
The Bundesliga giants have been one of the Champions League’s most consistent teams lately but this season has been a real struggle, thanks largely to their inability to replace former key stars such as Robert Lewandowski.
That decrease in firepower has been central to their problems throughout 2014/15 and could be a major issue in Turin. Juventus will be hoping to capitalise on this by putting the Germans to the sword and if they perform to their mercurial best then there should only be one winner.
Nevertheless, you’d only write Dortmund off at your peril. It should be a fascinating contest.
Juventus V Borussia Dortmund Betting
With home advantage on their side, Juventus enter this showdown as the favourites at Evens with Bet365. The draw is available at 12/5, whilst an away victory can be backed at 11/4.
Only Bayern Munich have beaten Juventus in Turin in the last 10 years of Champions League football. Can a rejuvenated Dortmund take the win? Bet live and inplay at Bet365
Dortmund are finally improving and now have a chance of progressing over two legs. However, it is essential they don’t let this tie slip in Turin.
With this in mind, BVB may take a defensive approach and that could have a hugely detrimental impact to their attacking quality. Dortmund can keep things tight, but Juve will be fully expected to find a way through at some stage.
Juventus win-to-nil @ 12/5 with BetVictor