Champions League betting: Another second leg mountain to climb for Barcelona

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Updated: April 19, 2017

The line-up for the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League semi-finals will be decided tonight with Barcelona chasing a three-goal deficit at home to Juventus while Monaco take a 3-2 lead into their home second leg clash against Borussia Dortmund; overall record: 49-5-34, +28.15 units

 

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Game: FC Barcelona (Spain) v Juventus FC (Italy) – aggregate 0-3
Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
When: Thursday, April 20, 4.45am (AET)
Prices: Barcelona $1.50, Juventus $6.50, DRAW $5.00

Confirmed bet: +3.5/total (two units @ $2.00)

TIW says: Barcelona coach Luis Enrique believes another special evening is on the cards as his side prepare for another Champions League comeback. Barça, which beat Paris Saint-Germain 6-1 in the round of 16 after slipping 4-0 behind after the first leg, need another massive Nou Camp fightback after losing 3-0 to Juventus last week. Barça made Champions League history last month by becoming the first team to overturn a 4-0 first-leg deficit, reaching the quarter-finals for the 10th successive season.

But they made another shocking start in Turin last week as Paulo Dybala (pictured below) scored twice to put Juventus firmly in control. Barça are into the quarter-finals for a record t10th straight season. Their record in the last eight of the European Cup overall is W14 L4, with two of those defeats coming in the past three seasons, both against Atlético Madrid. Before losing to Atlético in 2014, Barcelona’s last quarter-final exit had been against Juve in 2002-03.

Javier Mascherano (calf), Arda Turan (groin) and Jeremy Mathieu (ankle) are all fit to return while Sergio Busquets is available after missing the first leg through suspension. Juventus have won all four away fixtures in this season’s competition, most recently 2-0 at FC Porto in the round of 16. They have kept three clean sheets on their travels, conceding only one goal and scoring 10, and equalled their biggest UEFA Champions League away victory on matchday 2 with a 4-0 triumph at Dinamo Zagreb.

The Italian champions have won 34 of the 42 UEFA competition ties in which they won the home first leg. A game against Serie A’s bottom-placed club Pescara on Saturday allowed Juve boss Max Allegri to rest his entire back five – Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Dani Alves, Alex Sandro and Gigi Buffon. Dybala picked up a knock in that game but should be OK to go later tonight.

 

Game: AS Monaco (France) v Borussia Dortmund (Germany)
Where: Stade Louis II, Fontvieille, Monaco
When: Thursday, April 20, 4.45am (AET)
Prices: Monaco $3.10, Dortmund $2.20, DRAW $4.00

Confirmed bet: Monaco WIN (one unit @ $3.10)

TIW says: Marc Bartra described the bomb attack on the Borussia Dortmund team coach in which he was injured as the “hardest 15 minutes” of his life. The 26-year-old is in hospital recovering from an operation on a wrist broken by the explosion, which is expected to sideline the centre-back for four weeks. Bartra was the only player to receive serious injuries in last Tuesday’s blast, which happened as the team travelled to the Westfalenstadion for the first leg of their quarter-final against Monaco.

Dortmund lost 3-2 in the first leg, which was players 24 hours later, with manager Thomas Tuchel saying the players had been “completely ignored” over its rescheduling. Tuchel’s team have lost just three of 12 European away fixtures played since the start of last season (W7 D2 L3), although they have a draw and a defeat in their past two match-ups.

BVB halted a run of successive losses on Saturday, defeating Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1 at home. Marco Reus, making his first appearance since March 4 after overcoming a hamstring injury, opened the scoring. Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim has warned his team to maintain their concentration levels as they aim to reach the semi-finals for the first time since finishing as runners-up in 2004. Monaco are top of Ligue 1 with 77 points from 32 games (2.41 points per game).

Emotions aside, Monaco were 3-2 winners in the first leg, Kylian Mbappé scoring twice to sandwich an own goal from Dortmund’s Sven Bender. Monaco have won five of their six home games in this European campaign, the exception a 1-1 draw with Germany’s Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the group stage. ASM also lost 3-0 in Leverkusen on matchday 6. The Ligue 1 side have won all 12 of the UEFA competition ties in which they won the away first leg.

 

Yesterday’s results: 2-0-0, +3.8 units

Real Madrid WIN v Bayern Munich (one unit @ $2.40) WIN (4-2)
Leicester City v Atlético Madrid DRAW (one unit @ $3.40) WIN (1-1)

 

 

• 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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