- Champions League Betting Preview: Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid – Free-scoring Bayern target another treble
Champions League Betting Preview: Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid – Free-scoring Bayern target another treble
Bayern Munich continue their bid for a second treble in five years on Wednesday evening, when they face Real Madrid at the Allianz Arena in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.
The German giants have already romped to a sixth consecutive Bundesliga title and have a DFB Pokal final against Eintracht Frankfurt to come in May. But victory over Los Blancos over two legs would also put Jupp Heynckes’ men within one win of a sixth European title. Only Milan, and this week’s opponents Madrid, have lifted the trophy more often.
Having scored 14 times in their last three fixtures, Bayern also enter this last-four tie in fine fettle. The same can’t be said of Real.
It has been a woeful La Liga campaign for Zinedine Zidane and his Madrid side. Currently third in Spain’s top flight, Los Merengues are 15 points behind bitter rivals Barcelona and have lost five times on their own turf this season – a statistic which would have been unbelievable this time last year. Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Athletic Club have been Real’s last three opponents at the Bernabeu and Zidane’s side could only return two draws and a defeat.
With that in mind, Real will hope to score goals in Germany. Since November, they have lost only once on the road and have won their last five in a row, scoring 12 goals – a streak which has included victories at both Paris Saint-Germain and Juve. As such, the likelihood for a goal-fest in Munich seems quite high and Unibet’s offering of 17/11 for over 3.5 goals is attractive. That’s where the value may be on Wednesday evening, with little value in backing both teams to score, which is at around 1/2.
The bookmakers are finding the outcome of the tie too close to call, but Bayern have been knocked out of the Champions League by Spanish opposition in each of the last four seasons. Madrid have also come out on top in their last five encounters with Bayern, including in last season’s quarter-final. The 12-times European champions can be backed at 16/19 to reach the final, with Bayern at a best price of 6/5.
It’s already been announced that Jupp Heynckes will leave Bayern at the end of the season, with former Croatia international Niko Kovac set to replace him as head coach. Heynckes will want to exit on a high and there would be no better way than claiming a second treble in charge of FCB. Notably, the ex-Real Madrid coach has reached the final in each season he has managed in Europe’s top competition – winning with Los Blancos in 1998 and Bayern in 2013, while finishing as runner-up to Chelsea with the Germans in 2012.
One slight stumbling block for his intention to keep up that record is the small matter of a certain Portuguese forward.
Cristiano Ronaldo has found the net in every match of this season’s Champions League, with 15 goals in ten appearances. His last-ditch penalty kick in the quarter-final second leg against Juventus spared Real’s blushes and underlined his indispensability to the team. He’s scored in every one of his last 12 outings for his club in all competitions and is as sure a bet as any goalscorer in world football.
As such, it’s perhaps a surprise to see Ronaldo at the prices he is in the goalscorer markets for Wednesday’s game. He’s at 41/10 to score first – something he’s done in each of his last two continental away fixtures. That’s far greater odds than Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski, who’s at 16/5 but hasn’t scored in his last three Champions League appearances. Ronaldo can also be backed at 13/11 to find the back of the net at any time over the 90 minutes, or 11/2 to grab a double.
As well as Ronaldo, James Rodriguez will also have the spotlight on him this week. The Colombian playmaker spent three seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, winning two Champions Leagues, before joining Bayern on a two-year loan with an option to buy last summer. He certainly has a point to prove to his former employers after falling down the pecking order at Madrid. Should he do that, he has a chance of becoming the fifth player ever to win the title with two different clubs in consecutive seasons.
And it’s not just James and Heynckes who will be reuniting with familiar faces. Veteran winger Arjen Robben had two years in Spain while Toni Kroos made his name as part of the treble-winning Bayern team of 2013.
It should be a fascinating Champions League tie, with recent form supporting the Germans and history on the side of the Spaniards. There’s a niggling feeling here that that man Ronaldo may end up having another decisive say in this one.
To find out the best online betting sites to have a flutter on this much anticipated fixture check out our betting site reviews.