Champions League betting: Can Barca crack the impenetrable fortress of Juventus?

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Updated: April 11, 2017

The field for the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League is down to eight with the first of the four quarter-finals scheduled tonight in Turin (where Barca take on Juventus) and Dortmund (Borussia host Monaco); overall record: 44-5-34, +20.45 units

 

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Game: Juventus FC (Italy) v FC Barcelona (Spain)
Where: Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy
When: Wednesday, April 12, 4.45am (AEDT)
Prices: Juventus $2.70, Barcelona $2.70, DRAW $3.25

Confirmed bet: Juventus WIN (one unit @ $2.70)

TIW says: Luis Enrique’s side make the trip to Turin off the back of their historic last-16 victory over Paris Saint-Germain, when they recovered from a 4-0 first-leg deficit to progress with a 6-1 win at the Nou Camp (pictured below). The last time these two sides met was in the 2015 final in Berlin, where Barcelona prevailed 3-1 to win their fifth European Cup. That was Barca’s third win over Juve in seven outings, and their first since 1991. Barca are in the quarter-finals for a record 10th season in a row.

Their record at this point of the tournament is W14 L4, with two of those defeats coming in the last three seasons, both against Atlético de Madrid. Arda Turan, Aleix Vidal and Rafinha are all injured for Barcelona, while Sergio Busquets is suspended for the first leg. Andres Iniesta, meanwhile, who started on the bench in their 2-0 defeat to Malaga on Saturday is set to return to the starting line-up.

 

Ivan Rakitic and Gerard Pique will be available following their domestic bans. Juve have a formidable record in Turin, having won an incredible 32 league games in a row at home and appear heavy favourites to lift a sixth Serie A title in succession. This is Juve’s 17th European Cup quarter-final – their record reads W11 L5. The Bianconeri are on a 21-match (W12 D9) unbeaten home run in UEFA competition.

That dates back to a 2-0 loss against Bayern Munich in April 2013. Juventus will be without winger Marko Pjaca as he will miss the rest of the season after suffering knee ligament damage while on national duty with Croatia. Defenders Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Dani Alves were all on the bench last weekend and could return to the starting side. The home side looks a great bet in this spot.

 

Game: Borussia Dortmund (Germany) v AS Monaco (France)
Where: Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany
When: Wednesday, April 12, 4.45am (AEDT)
Prices: Dortmund $1.55, Monaco $5.50, DRAW $4.25

Confirmed bet: Monaco +1/hcp (one unit @ $2.35)

TIW says: Having both produced blistering attacking displays in the round of 16, Borussia Dortmund and AS Monaco will be looking to reproduce that form when they meet for the first time. Borussia Dortmund cruised into the last eight with a relatively straightforward 4-1 aggregate win over Benfica in the last round, while Monaco sneaked through on away goals in a dramatic 6-6 aggregate tie over Manchester City. Marco Reus could make a return after a month out for Dortmund. The German international returned to training on Sunday after a month sidelined by a hamstring injury and could be an option.

Shinji Kagawa, Andre Schurrle, Julian Weigl and Lukasz Piszczek are all in doubt. This is Dortmund’s eighth European Cup quarter-final, and their third in five years. The German club’s record in the last eight is W5 L2 but have won only two of their past six at home to French visitors. Dortmund’s Champions League home record this season is W3-D1-L0, including a 4-0 win over Benfica and a 2-2 draw against Real Madrid.

In contrast, Monaco’s away record is W2-D1-L2, including their 5-3 defeat at Manchester City in the last round although they became the ninth team in Champions League history to win a knockout tie after losing the first leg by two goals. The French side currently lead Ligue 1 and are hoping for a first trip to the semi-finals of the Champions League since losing in the final in 2004.

Monaco have problems of their own with right-back Djibril Sidibe set to miss out after being hospitalised with appendicitis over the weekend. Highly rated defensive midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko is suspended, meaning Joao Moutinho should start in central midfield. Monaco’s 51 matches in all competitions have produced 190 goals (average 3.73 goals per game) while Dortmund’s 41 matches have produced 138 goals (average 3.37 goals per game).

 

Most recent results: 2-0-2, +0.5 units

AS Monaco WIN v Manchester City (one unit @ $2.70) WIN (3-1)
AS Monaco v Manchester City +3.5/total (two units @ $1.90) WIN (3-1)
AS Monaco v Manchester City +4.5/total (one unit @ $3.10) LOSE (3-1)
Atlético Madrid WIN v Bayer 04 Leverkusen (two units @ $1.61) LOSE (0-0)

 

 

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); prices with thanks to Bet365 (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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