Champions League Knockout Stage Preview and Predictions: Juventus at Bayern Munich

German Bundesliga Free Pick: Borussia Monchengladbach at Werder Bremen

Juventus has ridden their positive form winning 17 of their last 18 matches to storm back into Serie A contention after a slow start to the campaign. Juventus are winless in their last four Champions League games against Bayern Munich with their last victory dating back to November 2005.

Bayern doesn’t face nor are they tested by the likes of Juventus in Bundesliga. Captain Philipp Lahm told the media this week: ‘Anyone who knows Bayern and our history as well as our recent seasons knows we can play for the title in all competitions and win them.”

Juventus at Bayern Munich

How they got here:
Juventus finished second in group D giving up first place and a #1 seeding to Manchester City when losing away to Sevilla on Match Day 6. Bayern Munich took first in Group F with 5 wins and 1 loss scoring 19 goals while only allowing 3.

Previous Meetings:
These two sides have met 8 times previously with Juventus winning 3 while dropping four to Bayern, the last during the 2013 Champions League Quarter-Finals where Bayern came away with identical 2-0 victories.

Current Form:
Since that match day 6 loss to Sevilla this Italian squad have won all 10 of their matches conceding only 4 goals while scoring 28 as the team has begun coming together after some big off season changes. The front four strikers of Dybala, Mandzukic, Morata and lesser used Zaza have started finding the net on a regular basis which has coincided with their recent form uprising. Bayern Munich are once again dominated the Bundesliga but have only played 6 matches since match day 6 with 5 resulting in victories and the one lone loss in a club friendly. They’ll have 4 more matches prior to the first leg of this match up at J Stadium.

Odds: To Advance — Juventus +258 Bayern Munich -300

Odds: Leg 1 — Juventus +270 Draw +236 Bayern Munich +121

Predictions:
Juventus made it to last years Champions League Final losing to Barcelona 3-1 but along the way they were faced with a similar task as that which awaits them now when they were underdogs to advance against Real Madrid. The opinion in this corner may not be what German fans want to hear but a Juventus squad that is coming together with every match played and a healthy full eleven are going to be given the nod to upset the German side in this 2 legged tie. Juventus should come away with a positive result in Leg 1 and will head to Munich as they did in Madrid for Leg 2 looking to stifle the home side and get the needed result.

Juventus to Advance at +258 and Juventus Leg 1 at +270

 

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Read moreChampions League Knockout Stage Preview and Predictions: Juventus at Bayern Munich

Champions League Knockout Stage Preview and Predictions: Arsenal vs Barcelona

Champions League Knockout Stage Preview and Predictions: Arsenal vs Barcelona

Arsenal’s form is in question but their 1-0 defeat by Chelsea last month remains their only loss of the calendar year. They have shown up for big matches and international football pundits are upbeat in their chances to get past the last-16 stage for the first time in six years.

Barcelona have won the Champions League in four of the last 10 seasons while no other club has won it more than once in the same period. They could become the first team since AC Milan to win back-to-back European Cup/Champions League titles. The Rossoneri did it in 1989 and 1990.

Arsenal vs Barcelona

How they got here:
Arsenal finished 2nd in group F behind Bayern Munich and qualified in with a match day 6 victory on the road in Greece needing a victory of 2 goals or more versus Olympiacos and did so with a 3-0 victory. Barcelona took the easier route in winning group E with 4 wins and 2 draws while scoring 15 while only allowing 4 goals through their 6 matches.

Previous Meetings:
These two have met numerous times in European play and have met twice in the knockout stages of Champions League recently (2014 and 2015) with the Spanish side coming away victorious in both ties. Some interesting facts for the English side here is their record in ties versus Spanish sides is 5 and 3 and they sport a very good record at home with 8 Wins 2 Losses and 3 Draws against Spanish La Liga sides. Barcelona have almost double the amount of ties versus English opponents in European play with a almost even record of 13 victories and 10 losses but will be looking to reach the quarterfinals here for the 9th consecutive year.

Current Form:
Barcelona’s form is excellent at this moment with 11 wins and 2 draws since Match Day 6 allowing only 5 goals in those 13 matches and never more than 1 in a match. Arsenal come in with 6 wins 2 losses and 3 draws since Match day 6 though only 1 victory in their last 5 and that came in FA Cup play.

Odds: To Advance — Arsenal +440 Barcelona -541

Odds: Leg 1 — Arsenal +356 Draw +307 Barcelona -125

Predictions:
Barcelona come in as large favorites to make it to the quarterfinals for the 9th consecutive season but the thoughts in this corner are that Arsenal will put up a decent fight on home ground in Leg 1 similar to their match during group play at home versus a strong Bayern Munich squad. I’d expect the trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez to receive some aggressive defending as Arsenal will defend with some force. If the trio are able to break through for the all important away goal the task becomes all that more difficult for the English side. The opinion here is that Barcelona wins this two legged tie but we’ll expect an Entertaining and physical Leg 1.

Barcelona to Advance at -541 Draw +307 in Leg 1. We’ll add that the first half Under has value at Under 1 1/2 if that line is still readily available.

 

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Read moreChampions League Knockout Stage Preview and Predictions: Arsenal vs Barcelona

Champions League Knockout Stage Preview and Predictions: Roma vs Real Madrid

Champions League Knockout Stage Preview and Predictions: Roma vs Real Madrid

Real Madrid breezed through the group stage of the Champions League and are the assumed favorites in their date on the pitch when they pay a visit to Italy for the first leg of their last-16 clash versus Roma.

Roma vs Real Madrid

How they got here:
Roma finished 2nd in group E which was dominated by Barcelona while conceding more goal than they scored 11-16. Real Madrid were group A winners with a record of 5 wins and 1 draw while scoring 19 and conceding only 3.

Previous Meetings:
These sides have met in European play 8 previous times with Madrid winning 4 losing 3 with a draw to close out their record. They haven’t met in a meaningful match since meeting in the Champions League round of 16 in 2008 and the Italian side came away with victories in both matches by a 2-1 identical scoreline. Only Totti and De Rossi remain from that side while Real Madrids squad has changed and for
the better with a solid 11 with more talent on the bench as well.

Current Form:
Roma’s form since match day 6 comprises of 3 wins 3 losses and 4 draws and they’ll play 2 more Serie A matches with the final one 5 day’s prior to hosting Madrid in Leg 1. Real Madrid have accumulated 8 wins 2 losses and 2 draws since match day 6 although one of those losses was a 3-0 win awarded to Cadiz in Copa del Rey action after Madrid had won their match although fielding an ineligible player.

Odds: To Advance — Real Madrid -540 Roma +439

Odds: Leg 1 Roma +315 Draw +282 Real Madrid -107

Predictions:
This one seems straight forward as Real Madrid are playing some skillful and impressive soccer with very few blips on their record this season. This will also mark the first Champions League game for new manager Zinedine Zidane who took over for Benitez in January. With the Roma side struggling against the better Serie A squad and having virtually backed into this round of 16 it’s this corners opinion that Real Madrid not only advance to the Quarter Finals but will do so winning both legs.

Real Madrid to Advance at -540 and Real Madrid -107 in Leg 1.

 

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Read moreChampions League Knockout Stage Preview and Predictions: Roma vs Real Madrid

Champions League Knockout Stage Preview and Predictions: Gent vs Wolfsburg

Champions League Knockout Stage Preview and Predictions: Gent vs Wolfsburg

A 2-1 victory versus the previously unbeaten Zenit St Petersburg assured Gent’s place in the last 16, becoming the first Belgian side to progress to the Champions League knockout stage in the process.

Wolfsburg moves forward in the qualification with a 3-2 matchday six home win against Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United. Four wins out of six, including three home wins, saw the German side take top spot with 12 points, finishing two clear of second-placed PSV.

Gent vs Wolfsburg

How they got here:
Gent finished second in group H winning half of their games while losing 2 with a draw to complete the 6 game schedule. Wolfsburg were group B winners with a record of 4 wins and 2 losses and captured top spot with a dramatic match day 6 victory over Manchester United 3-2 also eliminated the United side from any further Champions League play.

Previous Meetings:
These teams have not previously met and their only previous matches against any German opponents date back to the early 2000’s when facing and beating Bremen in 2001 winning the two leg tie. Wolfsburg come into this 2 leg affair with much more recent Euro play having made it to the Europa League quarterfinals last season before falling to Napoli (6-3 aggregate). There have been no prior meeting for this German side with any Belgium opponents.

Current Form:
Since the 2-1 victory over Zenit on match day 6 this Gent squad have won 7 of 8 matches while dropping 1. They’ll play a final domestic match 5 days prior to hosting Wolfsburg in Leg 1. Wolfsburgs form after the match day 6 victory over Man United has been somewhat spotty, they drew at home before dropping a road match prior to the Bundesliga winter break. They picked up 3 victories in friendlies after the break but again lost and drew in the first two Bundesliga matches of 2016 and will play 2 more with the last being 4 days prior to Leg 1.

Odds: To Advance — Gent +255 Wolfsburg -296

Odds: Leg 1 Gent +233 Draw +250 Wolfsburg +130

Predictions:
Arguable Wolfsburg had the tougher route to this round of 16 with opponents such as Manchester United and a PSV squad that have played exceptional soccer and lead their domestic league. Gent in the opinion of this corner were the best of bad lot as Valencia and Lyon have looked out of sorts during their domestic league campaigns. The opinion here is this Wolfsburg squad which plays at a high level in a much better domestic league (Bundesliga) than that of Gent (Jupiler) will wear down their opponents over the course of these two legs and will advance to the quarter finals. I’ll expect Wolfsburg to leave Belgium with a favorable result as well.

Wolfsburg to Advance at -296 and to win Leg 1 +130.

 

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Read moreChampions League Knockout Stage Preview and Predictions: Gent vs Wolfsburg

Champions League Knockout stage Preview and Predictions: Chelsea vs. Paris SG

Match of the Day Prediction: Chelsea vs West Ham

Chelsea have included Ghana defender Abdul Baba Rahman in their squad for the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League. The 21-year-old has struggled to command a regular spot since arriving from German side Augsburg. Regardless of the Ghana international struggles with Augsburg he has been named in a 23-man squad announced by the English champions. Chelsea takes the pitch against French giants PSG in the 1/16th stage.

Chelsea vs Paris SG

How they got here:
Paris Saint-Germain finished second in Group A behind Real Madrid with a record of 4 Wins 1 Loss and 1 Draw and allowed only 1 goal in a 1-0 loss away to Real Madrid while scoring 12 times. Chelsea finished first in Group G capturing first place on the final match day 6 with a victory over FC Porto.

Previous Meetings:
These two met in the round of 16 last season with the first match ending in a draw at Parc de Princes in France as Chelsea drew first blood before PSG equaled at one to send the both team back to Stamford Bridge for Leg 2. Once again Chelsea opened the scoring and while PSG did draw level Chelsea would again regain the lead in Extra time until a Silva strike put PSG level and they moved on to the quarter finals winning on the away goals rule. (Aggregate 3-3) They also met the previous season in the quarter finals with PSG securing a 3-1 home victory in Leg 1 before Chelsea came away victorious in Leg 2 at Stamford Bridge 2-0 and advancing on the away goals rule (Aggregate 3-3)

Current Form:
Since dropping a 2-1 result to Leicester City in December Chelsea have gone 9 games without tasting defeat 5 Wins 4 draws and have played arguable better since the departure of Mourinho. PSG have played virtually unbeatable soccer since dropping a 1-0 result to Real Madrid in match day 6 they have
gone 18 wins 1 draw in their next 19 matches after the defeat. Both squads are fairly injury free and will have full line ups available for Leg 1 in France.

Odds: To Advance — PSG -152 Chelsea +135

Odds: Leg 1 — PSG -128 Draw +267 Chelsea +490

Predictions:
This match up is fairly even in the opinion of this corner and once again could come down to aggregate and away goals deciding which side will advance to the quarter finals. PSG must secure a solid victory on home soil and must avoid conceding the all important away goal that Chelsea will seek. In my opinion PSG will secure a leg 1 result and head to Stamford Bridge with something along the score line of 2-0 and should do just enough at Stamford Bridge to get them through to the next round.

PSG in Leg 1 at -128

 

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Champions League Knockout stage Preview and Predictions: Benfica vs Zenit

Champions League Knockout stage Preview and Predictions: Benfica vs Zenit aty WagerTalk

The business end of Champions League is about to begin. Carmine Bianco previews the Knockout Stage and it all begins with Benfica having to get past a Portuguese coach and three former players in the Zenit ranks as they bid to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in four years.

Benfica vs Zenit

How they got here:
Benfica finished 2nd in Group C behind Atletico Madrid (Spain) dropping their final game at home 2-1 to Atletico to drop out of first.

Read moreChampions League Knockout stage Preview and Predictions: Benfica vs Zenit

Serie A Betting Action: Juventus vs Napoli

Juventus vs Napoli – Goals galore expected in tense title thriller in Turin! Juventus and Napoli meet in Turin tonight, facing off in a match that will undoubtedly have a major say in the destination of the Serie A title. The Bianconeri are just two points behind their opponents, and a win for either side could end the other’s hopes of clinching the ultimate prize.

Read moreSerie A Betting Action: Juventus vs Napoli