Just eight teams remain in the hunt for club football’s biggest prize and four of those sides are in quarter-final first leg action on what should be a cracking Tuesday night of Champions League entertainment.
Firstly, we have an all-La Liga affair as Barcelona take on Atletico Madrid. Simultaneously, Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich will be hoping to take another step towards glory with a big win over Portuguese side Benfica.
Both games promise to deliver plenty of drama and we’ll be aiming to bash the bookies with a couple of winning bets too. Good luck.
Barcelona v Atletico Madrid
Tuesday 5th April. 7:45PM. BT Sport Extra
Arguably the pick of the quarter-final schedule sees two titans of Spanish football collide as Barcelona take on Atletico Madrid. While the defending European champions may have lost their 39-game unbeaten streak thanks to their weekend loss against Real Madrid, there’s no doubt that Luis Enrique’s men will expect to install a first leg advantage.
Saturday’s defeat wasn’t only a rarity for the outcome, but it was also a game in which neither Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi or Neymar found the target. The South American trio will be out to put that right here, and Diego Simeone’s defence should be prepared for a potential backlash, particularly as Messi is gunning for his 500th career goal.
The Rojiblancos certainly won’t go down without a fight. They famously won the title with a huge win at the Camp Nou in 2014, and will be looking to channel that energy once more. The visitors have won six of their last seven competitive games, a run which started with an away win at Real Madrid too, so they’ll have every reason for optimism.
Atletico may look to keep things tight, but the quality of Fernando Torres and Antoine Greizmann will always give them a chance in the attacking third. Whatever happens, it should be an intriguing contest.
Barcelona v Atletico Madrid Betting
Enrique’s men may have lost the Clasico, but they’ll still be firm favourites against Atletico and are priced ½ with Bet365. The draw is available at 10/3 whilst the visitors are 7/1.
Over two legs, it could be difficult to call. However, the Blaugrana have got to be considered favourites in this first leg at the Camp Nou, not least because their front three will be desperate to get back amongst the goals.
Atletico don’t tend to get hammered by their Liga rivals, but we do think Barcelona will score a couple. Messi has to be the main candidate and with William Hill offering refunds if he scores the game’s second goal, we have to take a punt.
Bayern Munich v Benfica
Tuesday 5th April. 7:45PM. BT Sport Extra
Bayern Munich already know that their manager is leaving this summer, but they’ll be desperate to end his tenure with the biggest trophy of all. In truth, they couldn’t have asked for a better quarter-final showdown and should have every chance of reaching the last four.
That’s not to say that the Bavarians can take things easy against Benfica. The visitors have won eight fixtures on the bounce heading into this clash. Nevertheless, the trip to the Allianz Arena is a step up for Rui Vitoria’s men and the likes of Kostas Mitroglou and Jonas are unlikely to gain the levels of joy that they do in their domestic league.
Guardiola’s side could be without Arjen Robben once more, but the attacking prowess of Thomas Muller, Franck Ribery, Robert Lewandowski and co should be more than enough to compensate. Meanwhile, the Germans are on their best ever home run in this competition, winning 10 straight matches in Munich and scoring 40 goals.
If Bayern score early, it could be a very long night for Benfica.
Bayern Munich v Benfica Betting
Unsurprisingly, the hosts are overwhelming favourites to post a first leg advantage and are priced just 1/5 to win this match with Bet365. Benfica, meanwhile, are huge outsiders at 16/1 and the draw is available at 13/2.
After the scare against Juventus, Bayern are unlikely to make the same mistakes again and will be determined to kill this tie before it even heads back to Portugal. And we think they will do it in style.
Even with a couple of absences, the Germans are more than capable of hitting three or four past Julio Cesar. If they play to their potential, the -2 Asian handicap should be a refund at worst.