Champions League betting: Madrid could lose the battle, but win the war


As has been emphatically proven in recent weeks: it’s not how much of the football you have that matters, but more what you do with it.

Despite having possession of it for just 28% of the match, Real Madrid put one of UEFA’s Champions League footballs into the back of Bayern Munich’s net in the first leg of this tie in the Spanish capital, and in truth they could have done so at least twice more.

But Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria fired over when well-placed, ensuring that Karim Benzema’s tap-in was the only strike of a first leg which has left this second one finely poised.

Bayern are undoubtedly the kings of the possession game, having lived up to Pep Guardiola’s mantra once again at the Bernabeu, but is that going to be enough against a Real side who have such pace and verve on the break?

Unlike their last trip to Germany and the lucky escape against Borussia Dortmund, there will be no complacency from Carlo Ancelotti’s men here as the club’s elusive 10th European Cup looms into view.

If Real can score at the Allianz Arena – something that each of Bayern’s last eight visitors, including Arsenal, Manchester United and Kaiserslautern of the German Second Division have done, then Bayern will need to score three times. They managed that against five of those last eight opponents, but Real concede less than a goal a game in Spain and went through the entire month of January this year without letting in any.

That looks to be the key here, with the likes of Ronaldo and the recovered, flu-free Gareth Bale able to punish Bayern should they step out of line.

You can expect the hosts to have the vast majority of the ball again, but Real will be fine with that as they seek to merely soak up the pressure.

Backing a Real win with a one goal start – effectively the exact situation of the tie – could well be the way to go at 2.08 here, and might be preferable to the 1.68 available on the visitors to qualify for the Lisbon final.

But that of course rules out the possibility of arguably the most likely outcome here, a Bayern win on the night but a Real triumph on away goals.

The hosts are 1.72 to win in 90 minutes, with a 2-1 scoreline looking good at 8.50, whilst half-time draw, full-time Bayern is an interesting 4.80.

 

Team news

 

Right-back Rafinha is available for the Germans despite a domestic suspension at the weekend, whilst Thiago Alcantara has returned to training and may feature.

As mentioned above, Bale has returned to training for Real and will feature along with Ronaldo and Benzema according to Ancelotti, who is still without Alvaro Arbeloa, Jese Rodriguez and Sami Khedira.

 

Goalscorer betting

 

Ronaldo’s odds of 2.65 to score at any time are surely as big as the Portuguese has been at any point of his Real Madrid career, and at that price you surely have to consider him to find the net.

He’s also 9.00 to score a header, whilst Bayern’s David Alaba could also be worth a small play at 5.75 any time considering he’s on penalty duty.

 

Correct score prediction

Bayern Munich 2 Real Madrid 1 – 8.50

 

Best bet

Cristiano Ronaldo to score at any time – 2.65