Wed, Feb 28, 8:20am by Staff Writer
With the first leg of all eight Champions League ties now completed, clubs face the tricky task of following up with a performance in the second leg to reach the next Round. Some of the games are close whilst others appear foregone conclusions, but there will definitely be lots of action.
Manchester City remain favourites to claim a first ever Champions League title. A trophy that is the missing piece in the puzzle for City’s wealthy owners and the exact reason why a manager of Pep Guardiola’s experience was recruited. A 5-0 away win over Basel have them in the driving seat in that tie and they are priced at $4 to win the tournament.
Lionel Messi salvaged a valuable away goal for Barcelona in their first leg match against Chelsea. A respectable draw away from home has given them a fantastic opportunity to advance to the next Round of the competition. Whilst with their domestic form improving every week, they are contenders to take on City priced at $5.
German Champions Bayern Munich are looking to end the dominance of Spanish sides winning the Champions League. Indeed, they were the last non-Spanish side to lift the trophy back in 2013. A comfortable 5-0 win over Besiktas in the first leg has set them up perfectly to progress. Priced at $5.50, their pedigree in European competition makes them a threat to all of their rivals.
The glamour tie of the Round of 16 is certainly the clash between Real Madrid and Paris St Germain. Both teams are filled with superstars, but PSG will be missing one for the second leg with Neymar ruled out through injury. Two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo helped Real come from behind to record a 3-1 win in the first leg. PSG will need a huge effort to overturn that deficient back in Paris.
Real Madrid stand at $6 with PSG at $10 to go on to win the tournament.
Liverpool are still the most successful English club in Europe, although they haven’t won the Champions League since 2005. A statistic they are looking to overturn this season and they look almost certain of progressing from this Round after a 5-0 win away to Porto. They are priced at $9.50 to lift the trophy.
An incredible comeback from two goals down has given Tottenham Hotspur a brilliant chance to reach the next Round at the expense of Juventus. Both sides are off the pace of the favourites to win the Champions League but remain threats, with Spurs priced at $14 and Juventus at $23.
Outside of the current favourites there are several sides with impressive records in Europe who could cause an upset. Manchester United ($17) have a star studded side looking to make their mark post-Alex Ferguson. Whilst Chelsea ($36) are former winners, as are Porto ($501) and clubs like Roma ($56) and Shakhtar Donetesk ($91) are capable of causing an upset in later Rounds.
Champions League Outright Winners
Man City 4.00
Bayern Munich 5.50
Real Madrid 6.00
Man Utd 17.00
Shakhtar Donetsk 91.00
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