Often two-legged ties can become a bit humdrum if one of the sides takes a healthy lead into the second leg, but hopefully Barcelona’s miraculous victory over PSG – they won 6-5 on aggregate against PSG after overturning a 0-4 first leg deficit – will prove inspirational for those who are feeling dead and buried this week.
So maybe we can expect big performances from Bayer Leverkusen and Porto against Atletico Madrid and Juventus respectively, while the clashes between Leicester and Sevilla, and Monaco and Manchester City, seem perfectly poised.
Another grandstand week of Champions League football is expected then, and here are the best of the betting tips:
Juventus vs Porto (Tuesday, 7:45pm)
The Italians won the first leg of this clash 2-0 in Portugal, and in truth there is no reason to suspect a similar result won’t be posted in Turin on Tuesday night.
That first leg swung in Juventus’ favour when Porto’s Alex Telles was sent off after just 27 minutes, but really that was just another obstacle for the hosts to overcome; frankly, they aren’t in the same class as the Old Lady.
Indeed, their progress to the knockout phase of this competition was only secured with a 5-0 win against a Leicester City side which contained fringe players and kids; the Foxes having already progressed to the Round of 16 at this point. Other than that victory, they struggled to ascend from a group that contained the resolute but limited Copenhagen and hapless Club Brugge.
A glance at the Portuguese Primeira Liga table suggests Porto are in rude health, but the strength of that division remains in doubt. In Serie A, Juventus have won 15/15 on home soil – seven of those to nil – and kept clean sheets in two of their three group games in this competition.
As such, we’re expecting a Juventus win to nil here.
Juventus to Win to Nil (8/5 with BetVictor)
Juventus 2-0 Correct Score (13/2 with Betfair)
Leicester vs Sevilla (Tuesday, 7:45pm)
The unlikeliest of redemption awaits Leicester City on Tuesday night. How they have gotten themselves into a position of relative power in the Champions League last 16, given their form in 2016/17, is anybody’s guess, but the Foxes have a very real chance of progressing here.
The problem is that they will perhaps need to keep a clean sheet to do so, and that is not something they are prone to doing. Sevilla will enjoy the vast majority of possession here, as they did in the first leg, and their attacking prowess is not in debate: they netted twice in the first leg, missed a penalty and hit the bar and post. It could have been a rout, but it wasn’t and Jamie Vardy’s late away goal gives the Midlanders genuine hope.
They have improved of late under Craig Shakespeare, that is clear for all to see, but Sevilla are a first-class side; and probably more dangerous on their travels than on home soil.
Leicester will give it their all here, but will probably come up just short.
Over 2.5 Goals & Both Teams to Score (19/20 with Coral)
Atletico Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen (Wednesday, 7:45pm)
Atletico take a handsome 4-2 lead back to their Vicente Calderon Stadium home for the second leg on Wednesday, and even the most optimistic of Bayer Leverkusen supporters will be thinking that their time in this season’s Champions League is about to come to an end.
The Spaniards ran riot in the first half and could have been 4-0 up but for some bad luck and excellent goalkeeping. That 4-2 scoreline does not flatter them and in fact is indicative of Leverkusen’s wider problems of late; their most recent record in the Bundesliga reads W3 D2 L5. An away formline of W4 D1 L6 does little to quell the fears that this tie is pretty much over as a contest already.
Atletico’s home record this term of W9 D2 L2 tells its own story, and they should have little problem seeing off their visitors here.
Atletico Madrid to Win (4/6 with Betfred)
Antoine Griezmann Anytime Goalscorer (19/20 with William Hill)
Monaco vs Manchester City (Wednesday, 7:45pm)
It would be a brave punter that backs a winner either way here, although clearly the ball is in Manchester City’s court given that they take a 5-3 lead to France from the first leg. But if Monaco score early….well, the goalposts move somewhat.
The goals markets are the way forwards here. Monaco’s 29 Ligue 1 games have witnessed a whopping 110 goals in total (84 for, 26 against), while City – who have improved defensively of late – are still never far from chaos in their own third of the pitch. But their attacking axis – Sterling, Sane, Silva and Aguero – is one full of intent.
The onus is on Monaco to attack here, and that might just play into the Citizens’ hands given that they can counter at pace.
If you’re looking for a match winner tip here then you’re out of luck – any result is possible, frankly, but to be able to back Over 3.5 Goals at a generous price seems too good an opportunity to miss.
Over 3.5 Goals (21/20 with Betfair)