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15-Apr 2019 Monday 2:14 PM (281 days ago)               #1
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Champions League: Liverpool Cruise and Have Lady Luck on Their Side, Too

Liverpool 2-0 FC Porto

Goals can be like double-decker buses: You wait for ages for one to arrive and then two come along in the blink of an eye.

Having not scored for club or country since April 21 last year, Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita now has two goals in four days, both of which could be crucial.

It took him just five minutes of the first leg encounter with Porto to net his first home goal for Liverpool and, while there was an element of good fortune, every team needs luck when they’re challenging for honours as the Reds are.

Highlights of the game

Porto had actually started this Champions League tie as the more enterprising of the two sides.

Only two minutes had elapsed when the player dubbed their danger man before kick-off, Moussa Marega, saw his fierce right-footed effort flash wide of the upright with goalkeeper Alisson beaten.

But Liverpool took the lead within five minutes as Keita was left unmarked on the edge of the box from a Roberto Firmino pass. The midfielder’s shot looped up off defender Oliver Torres and beyond the helpless veteran Iker Casillas.

Porto were stunned, Liverpool buoyant.

After Keita and Mo Salah saw shots blocked and the Egyptian went close again following a poor back pass, the Merseysiders doubled their led to take a firm grip on the tie.

This time it was Firmino who applied the finishing touch after captain Jordan Henderson split open the visitors’ defence and Trent Alexander-Arnold delivered a pinpoint cross.

Marega tested Allison on the half hour but Porto were still reeling after finding themselves two goals behind. The SBOBET Champions League 2019 betting odds were truly stacked against the side which thrillingly knocked out Roma in the last round.

There was another nervous first-half moment for Liverpool when Alisson tipped away a deflected cross with the ball deflecting off of Alexander-Arnold’s arm. The incident was checked by VAR but the referee awarded a corner rather than a penalty.

An offside flag denied Sadio Mane an addition to his increasing Champions League 2019 highlights three minutes after the break and a goal which would have made the tie safe.

While Marega tested Allison again midway through the second half, Porto faced the dilemma of whether to risk being ripped open again should they attack. In the end, they offered only a glimpse of a threat as the hosts were largely comfortable.

Jurgen Klopp even felt comfortable enough to replace both Firmino and Mane in the last quarter of the match.

It’s back to the Estádio do Dragão for Porto who will need to be more clinical in attack and ore resolute in defence if they are to pull off a shock.

FC Porto have failed to defy the odds and beat Liverpool during their Champions League quarter-final first leg match
Porto manager Sergio Conceicao and players look upset following their 1-0 defeat to Liverpool in Champions League quarter-final match

Klopp’s side, Champions League runners-up last season, are strong favourites to reach the semi-finals for the second successive year.

Salah could have been sent off in the closing stages for a late tackle on Danilo.  But he escaped serious punishment, perhaps another sign that this talented Liverpool team has lady luck on its side at a crucial stage of the campaign.

Key statistics

Since the start of last season, only Cristiano Ronaldo (24 for both Real Madrid and Juventus) has been directly involved in more goals in the Champions League than Firmino (21 - 13 goals, 8 assists).

Liverpool have now scored 14 goals in seven matches against Porto, conceding only two.

Porto are now without a win in their 19 visits against English opposition.



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Premier League




Liverpool and Porto have now met seven times in European competition, with Porto yet to be successful.

Porto's only two victories in seven previous quarter-final appearances came in the seasons when they were crowned European champions, while their record in two-legged ties with English clubs is won three, lost nine.

This was Klopp’s 400th victory as a manager in his career. A total of 111 have been with Liverpool. He notched 180 triumphs with Borussia Dortmund and 109 with another Bundesliga club, Mainz.

What’s next?

Liverpool host Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday (April 14) before travelling to Portugal next week for the second leg of this tie. They then face Cardiff City on Easter Sunday.

Porto, who are currently joint top of the Primeira Liga, travel to midtable Portimonense at the weekend and then host Santa Clara on April 20, with the second leg sandwiched in between.

Whichever side progresses will then only have a fortnight until the first leg of the semi-final against the winners of the Man Utd v Barcelona tie as the games come thick and fast in the closing stages of the campaign.

 

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15-Apr 2019 Monday 2:17 PM (281 days ago)            #2
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Champions League: Son Shines For Spurs!

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Manchester City

The 60,000 fans in attendance at the brand new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium had the perfect European night in their new home as they beat Manchester City in their Champions League quarter-final first leg.

Heung-Min Son’s late strike was enough to separate the two sides on a tense night in North London, which gives Mauricio Pochettino’s side a slender lead to take to the Etihad Stadium next week.

We’re tracking the Manchester City’s quadruple bid all the way here at SBOBET, and despite tonight’s setback, it’s still very much on. Pep Guardiola will have his players ready for the return leg.

Highlights of the game

Sergio Aguero handed his boss a boost with his return to the starting line-up after being out since the Sky Blues’ victory over Fulham, while Kevin de Bruyne and Leroy Sane began on the bench.

Aguero was immediately thrown into the action on 11 minutes as VAR took centre stage. Raheem Sterling made a good run before firing a shot in, which ricocheted off Danny Rose’s arm and away.

Hugo Lloris came up big as he protected their goal to help them get the Champions League win
Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris denies Sergio Aguero's attempt

There was nothing Rose could do to get out of the way of the ball but VAR spoke and the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped Aguero, and there was a small slice of justice when Hugo Lloris saved his spot kick.

Spurs fans are hoping the move to their new home will lift their side from promising up-and-comers to a real force in European football, and the stadium erupted when Lloris made his save.

The game settled into a pattern of careful possession dominated by Manchester City. Neither team troubled the opposite goalkeeper again until the 24th minute. Quick thinking from Christian Eriksen – playing on after Dele Alli was fouled -- gave Harry Kane a chance, but he shot too close to Ederson.

Danny Rose tested Ederson with a free-kick from a tight angle, and that was the only other shot on target in the first half.

The Sky Blues had a flurry of early corners in the second half. But it was Spurs who got another chance when Harry Kane slid the ball into the path of Heung-Min Son, who brought out another save from Ederson.

There were groans around the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 55 minutes when Harry Kane clashed with Fabian Delph and came off worse as they both slid off the pitch.

Harry Kane's injury is a major blow for Tottenham in their Champions League run
Harry Kane being helped off the pitch after an apparent injury

Kane limped off and was replaced by Lucas Moura. Then, Gabriel Jesus came on to replace Aguero with 20 minutes to go.

City came close on 76 minutes when Sterling fed David Silva and the Spaniard shot from 20 yards, only for Harry Winks to make a vital block.

And Winks’ effort was rewarded two minutes later when Spurs went ahead. Eriksen passed to Son and looked like he’d taken the ball too wide. But he cut back and smashed his shot past Ederson to spark bedlam in the new Stadium.

Pep threw De Bruyne and Sane on in the 89th minute and De Bruyne got round the back of the Spurs defence, but Lloris smothered the danger as the hosts held on and their fans erupted again.

Key Statistics

Manchester City swept into the last eight of the Champions League with a 7-0 mauling of FC Schalke (10-2 on aggregate) but this was a much tougher test and one which has left their chances of progressing in the balance.

The Champions League 2019 betting odds had Guardiola’s team as tournament favourites, marginally ahead of Barcelona, but that could change this week.

Spurs’ win ended a run of four consecutive defeats to the Sky Blues and also ended a run of six straight away wins for City.

Tottenham are now unbeaten in their last seven games at home and Son’s goal was his 18th of the season in all competitions, matching his haul from last season.

What’s next?

Before the return leg at the Etihad next week, Manchester City have a tricky away league game at Crystal Palace. Roy Hodgson’s Eagles are just about safe now and can play with freedom. Tonight’s result might just make that game a little tougher.



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Premier League



The Sky Blues are two points behind Liverpool in the Premier League, with a game in hand. But the Reds have a huge match at home to Chelsea.

The Blues are battling for a top-four place along with Spurs. Tonight’s Champions League 2019 updates from Anfield told the story of a comfortable win for Liverpool so all in all a good night for Jurgen Klopp.

Meanwhile, Spurs have a home game against the bottom club and already relegated Huddersfield Town. That’s about as good as it gets as they prepare for the second half of this European epic.

 

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15-Apr 2019 Monday 2:21 PM (281 days ago)            #3
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Champions League: Barca Edge Ahead at Old Trafford

Manchester United 0-1 Barcelona

La Liga top dogs Barcelona will take a one-goal lead back to the Camp Nou after a narrow win over Manchester United

Barca scored an early goal when Luke Shaw diverted a Luis Suarez header into his own net. The Catalans rarely looked like adding a second, but they still ran out fairly comfortable winners of this Champions League quarter-final first leg.

The Blaugrana are among the hottest SBOBET tips to win the tournament, and while this game won’t be high up in the Champions League 2019 highlights package, they did the job. That should make head coach Ernesto Valverde a happy man tonight.

Highlights of the game

Barcelona took control of the ball from the off, pinning their hosts back for the opening five minutes but without any great early threat. In fact, the Red Devils had the first shot of the game, with Marcus Rashford firing wide from about 25 yards.

But the visitors continued to dominate and it was no real surprise when they went ahead on 12 minutes, with some help from VAR.

Lionel Messi got in behind the United defence and chipped the ball over to Suarez. The Uruguayan then headed it back across the goal and into the net -- with the help of an unlucky deflection from Luke Shaw. The flag went up for offside but Suarez was on; VAR did its job.

Messi was the Red Devils’ chief tormentor back in the 2011 Champions League final as Barca put on a master class to lift the trophy with a 3-1 victory. And the hosts would have hoped to keep him quiet a little longer! Luke Shaw got a yellow card for stopping a driving run by Messi which means the full-back is out for the second leg.

Barcelona Lionel Messi sidelined by Manchester United Chris Smalling and recieves broken nose injury in Champions League QUarter Final match
Barcelona's Lionel Messi receives medical attention after sustaining an injury during the Champions League quarterfinal match at Old Trafford

The hosts began to get into the game and make things a little less comfortable for their visitors; Messi even copped a bloody nose after a collision with Chris Smalling. But Barca threatened again when Suarez collected the ball and laid it back to Philippe Coutinho, who forced David De Gea to save with his legs.

Former Manchester United defender Gerard Pique warned his team-mates to kill off the Red Devils if they got the chance. But the hosts had grown into the half and despite the Catalans' possession, they threatened little apart from the goal.

Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets was lucky to stay in the pitch early in the second half. Already booked, he deliberately handled just outside the box, but the referee missed it.

The Red Devils made a good start to the second period. Rashford had another chance, this time volleying over when he met a ter Stegen punch.

Suarez came close after taking a pass from Nelson Semedo but shot into the side netting. Ernesto Valverde, concerned by his teams’ lack of bite, brought on Arturo Vidal and Sergi Roberto to replace Arthur and Coutinho. Vidal certainly brought the bit as he earned a yellow card after leaving his mark on Fred.

De Gea made another save with his legs, this time denying Jordi Alba. And as the game moved into the last ten minutes, Barca began to control the ball again. Messi had a great chance with a free-kick after Paul Pogba had upended Semedo, but he scuffed his shot and enabled De Gea to save.



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Key Statistics

A run of three defeats in four games for the Red Devils shaped our pre-match

Manchester United vs Barcelona betting tips and we were right, but the hosts played with plenty of passion.

The Red Devils didn’t play badly by any means, but they failed to register a single shot on target. And with 67 per cent possession and over 90 per cent passing accuracy, Barcelona had control of the ball for long periods.

Valverde’s team is now unbeaten in 17 games, a good indication of the task facing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team in the second leg.

What’s next?

It’s back to Premier League matters for the Red Devils at the weekend when they host West Ham United on Saturday evening.  Manuel Pellegrini's Hammers have been inconsistent of late, losing three and winning two of the last five.

This is a big chance for OGS’s team to continue its push for Champions League football next season.

Meanwhile, Barcelona’s huge win against Atletico Madrid last week put the Catalans well in control of La Liga, 11 points ahead. They now have a trip to SD Huesca, who are bottom, six points from safety, and without a win in five.

Valverde can rest some players to prepare for the quarter-final second leg, which is not good news for the Red Devils.

 

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15-Apr 2019 Monday 2:23 PM (281 days ago)            #4
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Champions League: Ronaldo Strikes in Return From Injury

Ajax 1-1 Juventus

The big question heading into the Champions League quarter-final first leg between Ajax and Juventus was the fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese superstar had been sidelined for the past few weeks due to a thigh injury, and despite the big Champions League 2019 news that he was included in the squad, it remained to be seen how sharp he'd be.

But Ronaldo pretty emphatically answered any doubts about his overall health. Not only did he start, but he also scored a crucial away goal as Juventus came away with a 1-1 draw.

As was written on the SBOBET preview of the first leg, the draw looked like the way to go. And after that stalemate, this quarter-final tie is very evenly poised heading into the second leg.

Highlights of the game

Juventus had the first real opportunity of the match after less than two minutes. Federico Bernardeschi worked his way toward the edge of the box to get a shot off, but his left-footed strike was slightly too high.

Ajax's Hakim Ziyech responded with a trio of long-distance efforts of his own. His first shot rippled the side netting, to the dismay of the home fans who thought it had gone in. And his second attempt drew a comfortable save from Juve's Wojciech Szczesny.

But his third effort was his best, as his curling shot was destined for the top corner. Szczesny was equal to it, though, and pushed it over the bar.

Donny van de Beek was the next Ajax player to come close. After some good work from Dusan Tadic, van de Beek found himself in a great position for a shot inside the box. But the young midfielder's strike went agonizingly wide of the goal.

Cristiano Ronaldo finally got his first sniff of goal just before the half-hour mark. He got on the end of a corner kick, but his shot did not trouble Ajax's Andre Onana.

Ronaldo was involved again in Juve's next good chance as he headed a Blaise Matiudi cross toward Bernardeschi. But the Italian forward could not quite direct his shot on the turn on target.

And to the surprise of no one, it was eventually Ronaldo who opened the scoring just before half-time. After sending the ball wide to Joao Cancelo, Ronaldo charged his way into the penalty area to meet Cancelo's cross with a brilliant diving header.

Ajax will definitely bring their A-game if they want to advance to the Champions League semi-final
Ajax's David Neres celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal clash against Juventus

But Ajax weren't down for too long. They hit back immediately after the break through a brilliant solo effort from David Neres. The young Brazilian dispossessed Cancelo on the left wing and cut inside into the penalty area, where he uncorked a brilliant curling strike to beat Szczesny.

Buoyed by Neres' equaliser, Ajax went in search for a second goal. They almost got it through Nicolas Tagliafico, but the Argentinian full-back's well-hit long-range strike went wide.

Juventus then had an opportunity to regain the lead. After Bernardeschi whipped a free-kick into the six-yard box, Juve made claims for a penalty when Rodrigo Bentancur went down after tangling with Tagliafico. But after a brief chat with the VAR official, the referee quickly waved away those claims.

Juventus had the best chance in the final half-hour to steal the win as substitute Douglas Costa hit the post after a strong solo run.

But in the end, Juve had to settle for the draw and the one away goal, which will benefit their Champions League 2019 odds to make it through to the semis.

Key statistics

Ajax dominated much of the play in the first leg at home, which was expected. They had 61 per cent possession and outshot Juve, 19-7. Ronaldo's goal was the only shot Juve had on target all game.

Speaking of Ronaldo, he has extended his lead atop the all-time Champions League goalscoring charts with his 125th goal in the competition. He's 17 goals ahead of Lionel Messi, who was unable to find the back of the net against Manchester United.

What's next?

After reclaiming the lead in the Eredivisie, Ajax will have a relatively easy assignment up next as they host Excelsior, who are second from bottom in the league and have lost their last six matches in a row. Ajax thrashed Excelsior 7-1 in their first meeting this season, so they should still be able to win even if they rest their key players ahead of their trip to Turin.



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As for Juventus, they have the opportunity to clinch their eighth consecutive Serie A title this weekend if they get at least a point against SPAL. That should be a relatively simple task, which means they should also be able to rest their stars for the second leg.

 

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15-Apr 2019 Monday 2:26 PM (281 days ago)            #5
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Champions League: Can Man United Repeat Comeback Magic?

Barcelona vs Manchester United

Manchester United find themselves in a familiar situation in the Champions League quarter-finals. After suffering a first-leg defeat at Old Trafford, United must travel to the Camp Nou to overcome a 1-0 deficit.

Barca had a conservative gameplan in the first leg at Old Trafford, which worked out quite well. United found the Spanish side very tough to break down and did not register a single shot on target. Barcelona are now well-positioned to make the last four of the Champions League for the first time in four years.

The Red Devils already pulled off a huge shock when they overturned a two-goal deficit away from home against Paris Saint-Germain. And 20 years ago, they pulled off one of the most amazing comebacks in Champions League history at the Camp Nou.

But as the Barcelona vs Manchester United betting odds indicate, coming up with another epic away result will be a monumental task, to say the least.

Talking Points

Messi, Barca well-rested

As expected, Barcelona had Manchester United and the Champions League on their mind over the weekend. Manager Ernesto Valverde made wholesale changes for their trip to Huesca, which resulted in a 0-0 draw.

Lionel Messi -- who was left bloodied after a collision with United defender Chris Smalling in the first leg -- was rested, along with Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitic, and Gerard Pique. All of those stars should be back in the line-up for United's visit to the Camp Nou, though.

Messi has been in simply stunning form of late, scoring 13 goals with four assists in his last 10 games for Barca. While his face will be worse for wear no thanks to Smalling, his legs should be fresh and ready to go after getting some much-needed rest.

Barca clearly didn't bother exerting themselves too hard in the first leg, and thanks to United's lack of cutting edge, they didn't need to. But now that they're at home, they should adopt a somewhat more aggressive approach.

The Camp Nou has been a fortress all season long. They've lost just once in 24 home games in all competitions, and that one setback came all the way back in November. They've also scored in each and every one of those games.

Solskjaer magic spell wearing off

Manchester United may have picked up a win against West Ham United over the weekend, but once again, they were far from convincing. That has been the worrying trend for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad over the past few weeks.

Prior to their win over West Ham, they had lost four of their previous five games -- twice against Wolverhampton Wanderers. And in their one win during that span against Watford, they were outshot, 20-8.

There's a growing sense that the Solskjaer's new manager magic has finally worn off. The attack hasn't looked as fluid as it did when he first took over. Meanwhile, the defence continues to be a problem; United haven't had a clean sheet in their last nine games.

Preventing Barcelona from scoring at the Camp Nou will obviously be tough. Although, United are still dangerous on the counter-attack and could have more opportunities to break if Barca commit more players forward at home.

United have lost their last three away games in all competitions. Their last win outside Old Trafford was their remarkable 3-1 second-leg comeback against Paris Saint-Germain, which was without question one of the most improbable Champions League 2019 results.

However, United got very lucky in that match as their first two goals came from PSG errors, while their winner came from a very fortuitous VAR-awarded penalty following a handball. They obviously can't expect to get as lucky again at the Camp Nou.

Manchester United will go head-to-head versus Barcelona in the second leg Champions League quarterfinals.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer before the match between Manchester United and Barcelona at Old Trafford

History

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United are no strangers to epic comebacks at the Camp Nou. They famously got two stoppage-time goals -- with Solskjaer scoring the second -- to beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in the 1999 Champions League final.

But that game aside, the other pieces of history are not on United's side heading into the second leg.

While they did overturn a 2-0 home defeat against PSG to progress, that was only the fourth time in Champions League history that a team has gone through after losing the home first leg.

Now they must win at the Camp Nou, which will take some doing. For one, Barcelona are undefeated in their last 30 Champions League matches. They set that new record after demolishing Lyon 5-1 in the round of 16.

Moreover, United have won just two of their last 16 matches against Spanish clubs (six draws, eight losses), and none of their last seven (three draws, four losses). Apart from their first-leg loss, they also drew at home and lost away against Valencia in the group stage.

Betting Tip

??

Barcelona vs Manchester United Barcelona Asian Handicap -1.50 @ 2.13
April 17, 03:00 (GMT+8)

No matter how you look at it, this is a bad spot for United. Their recent form has been horrendous, with Solskjaer seemingly unable to find any answers to solve their current slide.

And on the other side, Barca have been close to unbeatable at home and will be the fresher of the two after resting their stars over the weekend.

There seems to be just one likely outcome from that combination, which is a comfortable win for Barcelona. The hosts are priced at 1.39 to win in the 1X2 market, while United are a whopping 7.80 to come away with the shock victory.

Barca are also priced at 2.13 to win by 1.50 goals on the SBOBET Asian handicap sports betting market, which would also be a wise way to go.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? =€5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

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15-Apr 2019 Monday 2:28 PM (281 days ago)            #6
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Champions League: The Old Lady is Wary of Dutch Courage

Juventus vs Ajax

The Bianconeri’s assault on the 2019 Champions League continues in Turin on Tuesday night, but the Italian Champions will have to be at their best.

Juventus has been well fancied from the outset of the competition, while Ajax has emerged as a constant threat to the elite, and with the Dutch in fine free-scoring form this could be a humdinger!

A 1-1 draw in Amsterdam has given the Bianconeri an advantage for sure, and the Old Lady is now at odds of 1.31 to advance to the next round with our latest SBOBET odds offering 3.43 on the Dutch to advance. But David Neres’ equaliser, which cancelled out Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener in front of 50,000 fans at the Amsterdam Arena, has left this tie up for grabs.

Talking Points

Allegri’s striking options

Juventus has power and class running right through its team, with defensive rock Leonardo Bonucci marshalling the defence and world cup winner Blaise Matuidi controlling the middle of the park alongside Rodrigo Bentancur.

And up front, head coach Max Allegri has an array of options. Big Croatian striker.

Mario Mandzukic started alongside the returning Ronaldo in the first leg in the Netherlands, while the quicksilver Paulo Dybala climbed off the bench.

Young Moise Kean could be in for a start according to the coach, having been an unused substitute in Amsterdam. He has deputised well for Ronaldo during the talisman’s injury absence; and while there were eyebrows raised throughout Italy when Juventus went down to humble SPAL at the weekend in a 2-1 defeat, he was on target again.

The latest Champions League 2019 betting odds have Juventus as one of the most likely winners, alongside Manchester City and Barcelona, and when you look at the firepower at his disposal you can see why Allegri holds the cards.

Ajax Captain Matthijs de Ligt’s defensive partnership with Daley Blind will be tested to the full.

De Jong injury doubt

Ajax are aiming to disappoint Champions League 2019 betting odds and win against Juventus
David Neres scored an equaliser for Ajax in the first leg of their UCL match vs Juventus

Barcelona bound Frenkie de Jong has been the star of the show in Amsterdam this season, earning him a lucrative move to the Camp Nou. But head coach Erik ten Hag says he could be missing when he limped off after half an hour of Ajax’s 6-2 win over Excelsior at the weekend. If that rules the 21-year old out of the return clash with Juve, it will be a big blow to the underdogs’ hopes.

But, of course, the Dutch are not a one man team. With fine players such as wing back Nicolas Tagliafico, the classy centre back pairing and Dusan Tadic up front ten Hag’s men are more than comfortable among Europe’s elite. Tadic completed a brace against Excelsior and is in fine scoring form.

History

Both these teams have a rich history in European football, winning six Champions League (European Cup) titles between them.

Of course, Ajax players formed the core of the Holland team which brought Total Football to the world in the 1970s, when Ajax won three of their four European Cups. And as well as winning the competition twice the Bianconeri has appeared in nine finals, including two of the last four.

The Old Lady has won three of the last five games between Juve and Ajax, since 2004, with two draws, those being the last two meetings.

Former Liverpool hit man Dusan Tadic has six tournament goals, one more than Juve’s Ronaldo and Dybala. And, Juve’s loss to SPAL excepted, both sides come into the game in fine form.

Ajax hasn’t lost in its last 5 games, aside from the first leg draw with Juve, the Dutch have won four domestic games in some style, scoring 18 and conceding six goals.

Meanwhile Juventus hasn’t lost in any of its last 12 home matches, winning the last five in a row.

Betting Tip

??

Juventus vs Ajax Over 2.50 goals @ 1.88
April 17 03:00 (GMT+8)

Allegri’s team will be acutely aware that Ajax took a first leg deficit to the Bernabeu and then destroyed Real Madrid in the Round of 16. That was undoubtedly one of the Champions League 2019 results of the tournament and, while Ajax is no longer a surprise package, the hosts will be keen to avoid Los Blancos’ fate.

I think we have a real treat in store here. Juventus’ world class pedigree makes them clear favourites but Ajax is playing with freedom and courage, and scoring for fun. If anyone can get past Bonucci and chums, Tadic can. But then the Bianconeri has an array of attacking options so I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see both team’s scoring.

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16-Apr 2019 Tuesday 2:27 PM (280 days ago)            #7
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Champions League: Liverpool Looking Good for Last Four

Porto vs Liverpool

Liverpool are going great guns at the tail-end of the season. Not only are they back atop the Premier League table for the time being following a massive 2-0 win over Chelsea, but they're also perfectly positioned to make it back to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

The Reds travel to Porto for the second leg after a 2-0 triumph at Anfield. However, they should consider themselves a bit lucky in that game as the Portuguese giants had their chances to grab an away goal.

Nevertheless, the English giants are in a great spot to take care of business and move on to the last four of the competition for the second consecutive season.

Talking Points

Liverpool in control

Liverpool have looked simply sensational over the past month or so. After going through a stretch where they drew five of seven matches in all competitions, they have since won seven on the trot.

That includes impressive victories at Bayern Munich in their Champions League quarter-final second leg, and at home over Tottenham, Porto, and most recently, Chelsea.

The famed front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino have been firing on all cylinders. Salah, in particular, has finally shaken off his recent barren run by scoring two goals in his last three games, which includes his stunning strike to seal the win over Chelsea.

 

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Meanwhile, their new-look midfield of Fabinho, Naby Keita, and captain Jordan Henderson playing a more advanced role has done wonders as they've looked much more effective in attack. Henderson has chipped in with a goal and two assists in his last three games.

But Liverpool are already in firm control of this tie against Porto and don't need to over-exert themselves. It's likely that manager Jurgen Klopp will make some changes to his side as they focus on getting maximum points in their Premier League run-in. That's a major factor why the Champions League 2019 betting odds are much more even this time around.

The likes of James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum, Dejan Lovren, and possibly Joe Gomez could all get some much-needed playing time in Portugal, where they'll be tasked with protecting Liverpool's two-goal lead.

Porto must believe

Porto are back in a similar situation they found themselves in the previous round. They also lost the first leg away against Roma in the round of 16. However, they rallied to win the home leg 3-1 in extra time.

Obviously, though, repeating that feat against a superior Liverpool side will be much, much tougher to do. But as they showed with their performance at Anfield, they aren't completely overmatched in this tie.

Despite being ill during the first leg, Moussa Marega had a couple of good opportunities on goal, which he was just unable to convert. If he's in better health -- and possibly facing a second-string Liverpool defence -- perhaps he can do a bit better at home.

Champions League: Can Porto pull off a miracle comeback win at home?
Moussa Marega in action for Porto during the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals against Liverpool

Marega has produced several of Porto's top Champions League 2019 highlights this season. In fact, he has scored in each of Porto's four home matches in this year's competition, all of which they have won.

Porto had the ideal build-up to the second leg with a 3-0 win over Portimonense. Marega picked up another goal while captain Hector Herrera, who was suspended for the first leg against Liverpool, also got on the score sheet.

While being down 2-0 to Liverpool is not good, it's also not completely insurmountable. Porto simply need to play with the same belief and confidence they did at Anfield, and if they score early, who knows what could happen.

History

The last time Liverpool visited Porto -- which was in the first leg of last season's round of 16 tie -- they completely thrashed the Portuguese, 5-0. That made the second leg a dull affair as they played out a 0-0 draw at Anfield.

However, Porto aren't quite in as deep a hole this time around, which should make the second leg a more interesting affair.

But still, it's important to note that Liverpool have never lost to Porto in seven previous meetings all-time (four wins, three draws).

Betting Tip

??

Porto vs Liverpool Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.91
April 18, 03:00 (GMT+8)

This match will hinge heavily on Klopp's team selection. While it's almost certain that he will rotate, it remains to be seen just how many changes he will make. This second leg won't be a mere formality that last year's was, though, so the Reds may still field a relatively strong squad.

But barring an early Porto strike, it's unlikely that Liverpool will go in search of an away goal and will instead be content with preserving their two-goal advantage. That points to a low-scoring affair at the Estadio do Dragao.

According to SBOBET odds, under 2.5 goals is priced at 1.94. And with the quality in the Liverpool defence, they should be able to keep this game from exceeding two goals at most.

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17-Apr 2019 Wednesday 6:38 PM (279 days ago)            #8
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Champions League: The All-English Affair you won’t be Able to Keep your Eyes Off!

Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur

The last time Manchester City won a tie on aggregate after an away first-leg loss came in 1971. It was the European Cup Winners' Cup and a quarter-final against Górnik Zabrze of Poland.

Even then, they needed a replay after each side won 2-0 at home; City were 3-1 victors in the third game.

Much has changed since then, not least the competition rules and the stature and wealth of City as a club.

That is why when you study the SBOBET Champions League betting odds, you still find them among the favourites to win the competition, despite a first leg defeat last week.

Talking Points

If entertaining Champions League highlights are your thing, this is a game well worth tuning into.

City have scored 16 goals in their four home games in this season’s competition, yet Pep Guardiola’s side have won seven of their last 14 European matches, home and away – losing a further six.

Moreover, City have also now played five games against English clubs in European competition and lost them all. Indeed, Gabriel Jesus's early goal in the quarter-final second leg against Liverpool 12 months ago is the only one they have managed in those five fixtures, with eight conceded.

Manchester City have to overturn the one-goal deficit in the second leg of Champions League against Tottenham
Sergio Aguero misses the penalty kick during the first leg of Champions League quarter-finals

As Champions League games go, City know they have work to do once the action begins. They missed the chance to strike in the first leg when Sergio Agüero had a first-half penalty saved by Hugo Lloris. That proved costly when the ever-influential Heung-Min Son scored what proved the only goal with 12 minutes remaining.

Yet they also know Spurs are missing their talisman Harry Kane so the goal threat of their opponents is somewhat reduced.

City, though, could be without the unsung cog in their midfield should Fernandinho struggle to shake off an injury – he was absent from their weekend Premier League success against Crystal Palace and that would be a big blow.

The pressure is certainly all on the hosts as these sides prepare to clash for the second time in what will be an 11-day triple bill. The Premier League game at the City of Manchester Stadium is scheduled for Easter Saturday (April 20) – three days after this match.

Following a torrid run of league form, which saw Spurs go five games without a win, Mauricio Pochettino’s men could be coming into form at just the right time having won their last three fixtures without conceding a goal.

They will also be pleased to see the statistic that they have progressed to the next round on each of the past nine occasions in which they have won the first leg of a European knockout match (excluding qualifiers).

City are favourites but this is far from a cert. Who is your money on?

 


 

 

History

Over the years there has been very little between Tottenham and City.

In 157 competitive meetings, both have now recorded 61 wins with 35 draws – although City had won three in a row before the first-leg defeat in this tie.

These sides have quite a lot of recent history too – most of it in favour of City.

City have lost just one of their last eight meetings with Tottenham in Manchester (won six, drawn one). Yet in English domestic knockout football, Spurs have won nine of the teams’ 14 ties – including five of the last six.

In this season’s Premier League, a sixth-minute Riyad Mahrez goal proved enough for City to pick up three points against Spurs at Wembley in late October.

Betting Tip

??

Manchester City Total Goal 4-6 @ 2.43
April 18, 03:00 (GMT+8)

If I was a Spurs fan, I’d certainly fancy a punt on my side when the 1X2 odds are available @ 9.50. Even the draw is an attractive looking @ 5.00.

City @ 1.30 suggests this will be a home banker which of course, it will not.

Asian Handicap odds also lean strongly in favour of the home side. You can back City -1.50 @ 1.94 or – 1.75 @ 2.23, whereas Spurs +1.25 @ 2.26 suggests they are real underdogs.

Over 3.50 goals @ 2.26 is tempting, as is Double Chance Spurs or Draw @ 3.25.

I can’t see a goal-free encounter here. In fact, you have to go back to the opening day of the 2010/11 season for the last time these sides played out a goalless draw.

Vincent Kompany and David Silva are the only survivors from that match from either side. In fact, it was Silva’s City debut.

I expect City to pull this tie back and reach the semi-finals but my bet is actually on goals.

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17-Apr 2019 Wednesday 6:40 PM (279 days ago)            #9
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Champions League: Dutch Masters Show Juve the Way

Juventus 1-2 (2-3 on agg.) Ajax

A Champions League clash of real pedigree, the Old Lady against youthful Dutch courage was always likely to provide a contrast of styles and approach.

And so it proved.

What followed in Turin was a quite compelling evening for fans of both sides and SBOBET followers alike.

But there could only be one winner.

That winner was Ajax. The sole side which reached the knockout round after coming through qualifying has produced yet more Champions League 2019 highlights and are in the semi-finals of Europe’s premier competition for the first time in 22 years.

Meanwhile, it’s more misery for Juventus who have lost a record seven European Cup finals, including all of their last five.

Highlights of the game

Ajax suffered an early blow when Noussair Mazraoui sustained a nasty-looking ankle injury and had to come off despite his heroic efforts to continue.

The Dutch side continued their pressing game and Donny van de Beek prodded over from close range under pressure. The play then went up the other end and Paulo Dybala’s powerful half-volley was saved by Andre Onana.

The deadlock was broken after 28 minutes, and Champions League 2019 betting odds everywhere on the planet would have had CR7 as the likely scorer.

From a Miralem Pjanic corner, Cristiano Ronaldo powered a header into the bottom right corner. He made it look easy.

The 34-year-old Portuguese international relishes playing in the Champions League knockout rounds. He has now notched 21 goals in his last 16 appearances in the competition’s latter stages, with an impressive 65 of his total of 126 strikes coming after the group phase.

That advantage lasted only six minutes, however, as van de Beek turned a wayward shot from Hakim Ziyech beyond Wojciech Szczesny.

Dybala failed to reappear for the second half after picking up an injury and was replaced by exciting young talent Moise Kean.

There were naturally some nerves among the home faithful. After a back heel from Serbian international Dusan Tadic – who has netted an impressive 32 goals in all competitions this term, including six in the Champions League (only bettered by Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski) – Lasse Schone’s strike was deflected wide.

Szczesny then produced two top-drawer saves to deny Ziyech and van de Beek as Ajax chased a second away goal.

When Pjanic superbly blocked what would have been a certain Tadic goal, Juve were on the ropes.

Finally, the Dutch club got the goal they deserved when another of their exciting crop of youngsters, teenage captain Matthijs de Ligt, outjumped two defenders to head the visitors in front from a Schone delivery.

Ajax end Cristiano Ronaldo's hopes of a fourth straight Champions League title
Juventus players looking dejected following their 1-2 loss against Ajax at the Allianz stadium

Suddenly, Juventus needed two goals in little over 20 minutes. But it was Ajax who were closest to another -- only an offside flag ruling out a Ziyech curler.

Juventus’ night was summed up in stoppage time when they appealed for a penalty for a handball against Daley Blind and VAR correctly said no.

Could it have been different had Mario Mandzukic and Giorgio Chiellini been available? Possibly, but Ajax’s triumph was fully deserved and most of Europe will applaud their progress.

These are exciting times in the Dutch capital for this enterprising and energetic young side.

Key statistics

Ajax last made it to the Champions League final four in 1997 when their campaign was ended by Juve – the team which had also beaten them in the previous season's final.

Fabrizio Ravanelli gave Juventus an early lead in that final, but Jari Litmanen levelled before the break for holders Ajax. Juve were 4-2 winners on penalties.

Before tonight, Ajax had won only two of their 13 European fixtures against Juventus (one was the 1973 final) and none since 1974.

Juventus had also been unbeaten in their last ten games against the Dutch club, winning five of the last seven.

Ronaldo has scored in each of his last seven Champions League quarter-final matches played (13 goals).

Szczesny also made his 50th appearance in UEFA club competition.



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What’s next?

Juventus have the opportunity to clinch an eighth successive Serie A title when they meet Fiorentina on Easter Saturday. They then travel to Inter Milan for the Derby d'Italia a week later.

Ajax visit Groningen on Saturday with the race for the Eredivisie thrillingly poised. They then host Vitesse Arnhem in Amsterdam three days later followed by a trip to De Graafschap before the Champions League semi-finals, where Spurs or Manchester City await.

Between that tie, they will also meet Willem II in the Dutch Cup final on May 5.

 

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17-Apr 2019 Wednesday 6:42 PM (279 days ago)            #10
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Champions League: Messi Leads Demolition of Man United

Barcelona 3-0 (4-0 on agg.) Manchester United

Manchester United produced one of the most memorable comebacks in Champions League history at the Camp Nou back in 1999. But Lionel Messi and Barcelona made sure there was no such magical comeback this time around as the Catalans knocked out the Red Devils in dominant fashion.

Wonderful strikes from Messi and Philippe Coutinho -- as well as an uncharacteristic David De Gea howler -- comfortably saw Barca through to their first semi-final in four years.

Most Barcelona vs Manchester United predictions strongly tipped the Spanish giants to go through, and they were proven right. Much like in the first leg, they were simply a class above United at the Camp Nou.

Highlights of the game

United began their amazing second-leg comeback against PSG by scoring within just two minutes. And they very nearly scored even earlier at the Camp Nou as Paul Pogba sent Marcus Rashford through on goal just half a minute into the match.

However, the United youngster couldn't capitalise on that glorious opportunity to level the tie as his effort struck the bar.

Rashford had another effort in the 14th minute as he made a determined run at the Barca backline from his own half. But his shot was tame and was easily saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Just a couple of minutes later, though, Lionel Messi showed Rashford and United how to finish at this level. After Barca's press dispossessed Ashley Young, Messi picked the ball up just on the edge of the penalty area, cut inside to his magical left foot, and expertly curled his shot past the diving David De Gea.

Manchester United's David de Gea has failed to hinder Barcelona from winning in recent Champions League game
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea looks defeated after Barcelona scored a goal in their Champions League quarter-final match

Messi doubled Barcelona's lead just four minutes later. His right-footed strike was nowhere near as fierce as his first goal, but instead of making what should have been a routine save, De Gea allowed the ball to slip underneath his body and into the net. Game over.

Messi had a couple of opportunities to complete his hat-trick in the first half, but two of his strikes went well over the bar. Messi then turned provider as his free-kick found Ivan Rakitic, but De Gea was equal to the Croatian's header.

The Argentine also played a crucial part in Barca's wonderful move in first-half stoppage time as he found Jordi Alba marauding into United's penalty area. The Spaniard crossed to Barca's other full-back, Sergi Roberto, but his shot was somehow denied by De Gea.

Barca continued their assault on the United goal after half-time, with a Messi strike at the edge of the box deflected wide by Ashley Young.

But the hosts finally hammered the final nail in United's coffin at just over the hour mark care of Philippe Coutinho. The former Liverpool man uncorked one of his trademark top-corner curlers, which should easily make its way in the list of top Champions League 2019 highlights.

The third goal didn't stop Messi from searching for his hat-trick, though. The Argentine even attempted an audacious overhead kick, but it went just wide.

Alexis Sanchez came the closest to giving United a consolation goal in the 90th minute. But ter Stegen produced a wonderful save to stop the former Barca man's diving header as United left the Camp Nou empty-handed and eliminated from Europe.

Key statistics

With the win, Barcelona are through to the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2015.

Messi's brace ups his goal tally this year to 45 goals in 42 games. He's now the Champions League's top scorer this season with 10 goals.

Messi also snapped his 12-match goal-less drought in the Champions League quarter-finals; his last goal in the last eight came back in 2013.



As for Manchester United, this 4-0 aggregate defeat was their worst ever in a two-legged European tie. That topped their 5-2 defeat against AC Milan in the 1957-58 European Cup semi-final and 4-1 against Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the 1991-92 Cup Winners' Cup.

Moreover, they've now lost four straight away games in all competitions, the first time that's happened since 1999. Current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer just so happened to feature in all four of those defeats.

What's next?

Barcelona will look to take another step toward clinching the La Liga title this weekend as they host mid-table Real Sociedad. They also travel to Deportivo Alaves and host Levante before their semi-final first leg against the winner of the Porto-Liverpool quarter-final.

As for United, their Champions League elimination will now allow them to focus solely on qualification for next year's tournament. They're still two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal with five games remaining.

United travel to Merseyside to face Everton this weekend. Then they host City in the Manchester Derby in just over a week's time. Watch out for the SBOBET tips for that massive match, which also has major implications in the Premier League title race.

 

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22-Apr 2019 Monday 12:52 PM (274 days ago)            #11
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Champions League: Simply Stunning! Simply Stratospheric!

Manchester City 4-3 (4-4 on agg.) Tottenham Hotspur

Since it became Manchester City’s home in 2003, the Etihad Stadium has played host to some unforgettable occasions.

But it’s barely credible, with a nod to a last-gasp title triumph in 2012 that it has witnessed anything quite like this — a Champions League clash which quite literally had everything, ended with VAR making the final call.Drama, suspense, controversy – where does one begin.

Few reports can cram in the amount of Champions League 2019 highlights this produced.

Yet, if you SBOBET fans need time to recover, spare a thought for these two sides and their supporters.

Fittingly, both sets of fans stayed to the end to applaud their heroes for this was a night where both teams provided them aplenty after an amazing contest.

As City fans sang their club tune ‘Blue Moon’, knowing their players had given everything, Spurs players and fans were delirious - bouncing up and down in front of each other.

Highlights of the Game

City, with 11 straight home wins behind them (now 12), made a dream start as Raheem Sterling cut inside Kieran Trippier inside four minutes and found the net.

Three minutes later and the unsung Son Heung-Min got Spurs the away goal they craved (they would need two more) as the South Korean rifled the ball beyond Ederson.

Forward Son Heung-min scores vital early goals for Tottenham against Manchester City for Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg
Son Heung-min celebrates as he scores for Tottenham into semi-finals

Son struck again within three minutes as Aymeric Laporte overran the ball and was robbed by Lucas Moura before a quick interchange with Christian Eriksen, who then moved it to Son whose finish was unstoppable.

Yet again, within 60 seconds, City were back on level terms. This time it was Bernardo Silva who equalised as the hosts went straight back down the other end and saw his shot take a cruel deflection off Danny Rose.

When it took a further 12 minutes before another goal, it felt like a drought!

This time it was Sterling as he grabbed his second of the night from a stunning Kevin de Bruyne ball.

Spurs were hanging on by the end of the first half and then behind just before the hour as De Bruyne showed his class again and Sergio Aguero – who had a hand in the first two goals – rifled the ball past Hugo Lloris at the back post.

Yet, somehow, via a hip, substitute Fernando Llorente – only on the pitch because of an injury to Mousa Sissoko –then helped the ball into the net and Spurs were ahead on away goals.

When, in the third minute of stoppage time, Sterling fired home, City were on cloud nine, Spurs crestfallen.

Then VAR intervened and ruled it offside.

An astonishing end to a stratospheric night.

It’s easy to forget Spurs were 12 minutes away from being eliminated by PSV Eindhoven after four group games.

Now they are in the semi-finals of Europe’s premier club competition for the first time since 1962, under the late great Bill Nicholson, after an emotional rollercoaster.

Words can barely do occasions like this justice.

Key Statistics

Son is now the highest scoring Asian player in Champions League history with 12 goals, overtaking Maksim Shatskikh of Uzbekistan.

England has now provided seven different Champions League semi-finalists in the competition’s history – more than any other nation (Arsenal, Chelsea, Leeds, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd).

Sterling has been involved in 43 goals (29 goals and 14 assists) in 50 games in all competitions this season (club and country), more than any other English player from the top five major leagues.

Four goals in the opening 11 minutes of Manchester City vs Tottenham is the fastest four goals have ever been scored in a single Champions League match.

City are still the top scorers in this season’s Champions League with 30 goals.

Tottenham have won 18 of the 20 ties in UEFA competition in which they won the home first leg. Their last aggregate defeat when winning in the home first leg came against Kaiserslautern in the 1999/2000 UEFA Cup second round.

Pep Guardiola has only lost three times in his 16 managerial contests with Mauricio Pochettino (won nine, drawn four) - the pair also crossed paths as coaches in Spain with Barcelona and Espanyol respectively.

City have scored 20 goals in their five home games in this season's competition.



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What’s Next?

A third meeting in the space of 11 days, that’s what is next.

It’s City v Spurs again at the Etihad Stadium in under 72 hours in a crucial Premier League match.

City then have a Manchester derby at Old Trafford and a visit to Burnley to negotiate.

Spurs host Brighton next Tuesday and West Ham on April 27 after the completion of the trilogy.

The Champions League 2019 betting odds were not expecting a Spurs v Ajax semi-final but that is exactly what we have.

 

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02-May 2019 Thursday 6:23 PM (264 days ago)            #12
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Could We Be Set for a Champions League Classic?

Barcelona vs Liverpool

It certainly has all the hallmarks of one.

Two Champions League matches, one tie, 180 minutes (and maybe more) which have the potential to leave a lot more than just SBOBET followers on the edge of their seats.

Both teams have produced their own Champions League 2019 highlights this season – Barcelona were too strong for Man United in the quarter-finals with Liverpool’s most notable success coming against Bayern Munich in the last 16 - but only one side can now progress to the final in Madrid on June 1.

Both sides are also in the hunt for domestic honours, neither taking anything for granted.

Catalan coach Ernesto Valverde will not even consider La Liga retained, despite being within touching distance. Although he did feel comfortable enough to rest star man Lionel Messi in midweek.

Indeed, he may be minded to rest the likes of Messi, Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen this weekend too with this Euro blockbuster firmly on the horizon.

Talking Points

Liverpool will face a tough challenge in the Champions League when they face Barcelona
Mohamed Salah controls the ball during Liverpool's Premier League match against Chelsea

It may well be nonsense but if there’s any validity in reports that Liverpool talisman Mo Salah and manager Jurgen Klopp have suffered a breakdown in their relationship, then the timing couldn’t be worse.

A journalist this week reiterated claims that the pair no longer get on as well as they used to and that Real Madrid are interested in bringing the Egyptian to the Bernabeu.

That aside, the main talking points from my perspective focus on two questions.

Will Suarez return to bite the hand that once fed him? (no pun intended given his history of cannibalism). Indiscipline may have marred some of his time in England, but he propelled Liverpool to within an inch of long awaited title glory in 2013/14 and is fondly thought of by the red half of Merseyside.

Then there is the question: how will this Barcelona defence react when being attacked?

United failed to ask serious questions in the quarter-final before self-destructing early in the second leg.

Liverpool seem more threatening right now and could put a rearguard which is not as strong as it once was under real pressure.

In addition, I’ve not even mentioned another former Liverpool forward, Philippe Coutinho, who left for Barcelona 16 months ago for a club record fee.

With the speed, directness and interchanging of their attacking play too strong for many, the smart money would suggest the winner of this tie will be the favourite to be crowned 2019 European champions.

However, Ajax or Spurs will have something to say about that so I jump the gun.

Let’s just enjoy this delicious looking semi-final first.

 

opacity 0

 

 

History

Considering the pedigree of both clubs, Barcelona and Liverpool haven’t actually crossed paths on too many occasions.

They haven’t met for more than a decade but what two meetings they were.

A meeting in the last 16 in 2007 saw Liverpool knock out then holders Barcelona on away goals.

Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise scored the goals that night after Deco had put Barcelona ahead was only half the story.

Barca won the second leg at Anfield with a solitary goal from Eidur Gudjohnsen, but the Merseysiders prevailed on away goals.

Their only other meeting in the Champions League group stages came in 2001/02 when Barca won a thrilling match 3-1 at Anfield.

Michael Owen put the hosts in front but goals from Patrick Kluivert, Fabio Rochemback and Marc Overmars turned things around.

The group match at the Nou Camp ended goalless.

Liverpool had the edge on their way to winning the 2001 UEFA Cup.

They also drew 0-0 in Spain in the first leg of the semi-final before a Gary McAllister penalty settled the second leg.

Overall, Liverpool have won three of their meetings, three have been draws and Barcelona have two victories.

Betting Tip

??

Barcelona vs Liverpool Total Goal 4-6 @ 2.81
May 2, 03:00 (GMT+8)

The Champions League 2019 betting odds back Barca as favourites at home, but Liverpool should be written off at their peril and very generous odds are available to back Jurgen Klopp’s side.

1X2 odds have Barca @ 1.81, the draw @ 3.55 and Liverpool at a distant @ 4.20.

Asian Handicap -0.75 Barcelona @ 2.04 and Asian Handicap + 0.50 Liverpool @ 2.13 seem a more accurate barometer of the way these teams are closely matched.

With so much attacking talent on show, and the ethos of both sides, you can see why total goal 0-1 would payout @ 4.50.

Total goal 2-3 @ 2.03 and over 3.00 goal @ 2.05 also reflect that.

Who said semi-finals were tight, cagey affairs!

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?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

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02-May 2019 Thursday 6:28 PM (264 days ago)            #13
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Champions League: Spurs and Ajax Aim for Euro Glory

Tottenham Hotspur vs Ajax

Champions League football returns to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday night when Spurs and Ajax begin their battle for a place in the final.

With Liverpool and Barcelona fighting it out in the other semi-final, Champions League Spurs vs Ajax gives one of the less fancied sides a golden opportunity to make the showcase climax at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid.

Both teams have made it to the last four the hard way, Spurs knocking out Manchester City in a dramatic tie, while Ajax saw off Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo and all with a stunning win in Turin.

Talking Points

No Kane, no Son for Spurs

Spurs will be without their two most dangerous front men for this clash. Harry Kane is still out injured while Heung-Min Son will miss out, having received a yellow card in the scintillating quarter-final second leg.

 


 

 

These two strikers are a huge miss, top scoring in the Premier League for the Whites with 19 and 12 goals, as well as in the Champions League in which Kane has five goals and Son four. So Lucas Moura is likely to take the key role up front and could be joined by the much maligned Fernando Llorente. That may not look like the most frightening pair but Moura is starting to show his early season form where his scintillating pace caused serious problems for the best Premier League defences.

Llorente was the unlikely hero when Spurs stunned Manchester City with three away goals to reach this semi-final. But that 4-3 second leg defeat was one of three in four games for Pochettino’s men. Having won the first four matches at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, without conceding a goal, there was an air of invincibility in their new home for the Whites. But West Ham put an end to that on Saturday with a 0-1 win to leave Spurs top four fate still undecided. Fifth placed Arsenal is four points behind their North London rivals with a game in hand.

Pochettino has problems in midfield too, with Moussa Sissoko set to miss out with a groin injury and Harry Winks is also doubtful.

Christian Eriksen has so often been the key player for Spurs, and he was in the midweek win over Brighton with a late winner. The Dane is the hosts’ best chance of a first leg lead to take to Holland.

Ajax are favourites to reach Madrid

People have started to wake up and take notice of this Ajax team and they start this tie as marginal favourites to progress to the final at odds of 1.90, while Spurs is at 2.00.

With Son and Kane missing ten Hag will tell his players they have a real chance to steal a march in this game, and they have made it to this stage with two highly impressive second-leg away wins. Former Southampton striker Dusan Tadic is a real livewire and put in a brilliant performance to inspire Ajax to a 1-4 win against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Tadic made the first two goals and scored the third with a beautiful finish as the Dutch pulled off the shock of the Round of 16.

Ajax beat Juventus 3-2 on aggregate in the Champions League quarter-final
Ajax's Dusan Tadic, David Neres and Matthijs de Ligt celebrate after the match vs Juventus

Tadic has six goals and four assists in the competition and the impressive Nicolas Tagliafico has three goals. And if Spurs’ midfield problems are anything to go by, Matthis de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong could find the space to step up and launch attacks.

This is a side playing with supreme confidence and so it was less of a surprise when  ten Hag’s vibrant young team saw off Juventus in Turin, and coming into this match in fine domestic form, the Dutch have some useful momentum.

History

While Spurs best performance in Europe was a UEFA Cup win back in 1984 Ajax is Champions League royalty and is aiming to reach a seventh Champions League/European Cup final, having won the tournament four times, three in the early seventies when they introduced total football to the world. Their last triumph came in 1995 and they reached the final again a year later.

With no previous Spurs vs Ajax results to work on; we’ll take a look at recent form to guide our SBOBET tips.

While Spurs is having a minor stutter, the league win over Brighton sandwiched by

defeats to Manchester City and West Ham, Ajax hasn’t lost in eight and has a winning streak of four away from home.

Betting Tip

??

Tottenham Hotspur vs Ajax Over 2.50 goals @1.85
May 01, 03:00(GMT+8)

All three results are in play according to the latest Spurs vs Ajax betting odds with a home win at 2.38, an away win at 2.97 and the draw available at 3.20.

While Ajax arrives in better form, Spurs is still a dangerous side, even without their star strikers and I can see an entertaining clash with goals at both ends. A 2-2 draw is available at odds of 12.00 and that could be good value too.

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02-May 2019 Thursday 6:35 PM (264 days ago)            #14
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Champions League: Advantage to the Ajax Aristocrats

Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Ajax

A Champions League bid for Euro glory that few SBOBET pundits expected after the group stages.

Yet after producing Champions League 2019 highlights galore to get here, this meeting between two of these great football clubs was always going to generate excitement.

Spurs had triumphed over then Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund before seeing off English champions Manchester City in an epic.

Ajax had delivered in Madrid (against the reigning European champions) and Turin (against Italian champions Juventus) and were unbeaten on their travels in the UEFA Champions League this season.

A cracker was in prospect.

Highlights of the game

While Ajax enjoyed a complete break from competitive action last weekend, a lethargic-looking Spurs went down to a narrow defeat at home to West Ham.

Yet, in the words of boss Mauricio Pochettino, it was impossible to be tired for this one.

Pundits had a mixed take on what was to follow.

Some pointed to Spurs’ fine home record, with the London club winning won eight of their last ten UEFA Champions League home matches – including the last four.

Others suggested that with the injured Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min absent, Erik ten Hag’s men had a golden chance to take control.

"To Dare To Do" was the message that greeted the sides as they emerged onto the pitch. And given both had ended long waits to make it to this stage – the most recent of Ajax’s eight European Cup semi-finals came in 1997, and Spurs' only appearance in the competition’s last four was 57 years ago – there was no time to waste.

Tottenham Hotspur supporters are stunned following Ajax's domination during their Champions League semi-final match
Tottenham Hotspur fans cheer for the team during the Champions League semi-final first leg clash against Ajax

Within 14 minutes, Ajax had a crucial away goal.

Donny van de Beek may not have been a household name at the start of this season, but he is certainly more known now and will be highly regarded for this finish.

Released by an incisive Hakim Ziyech ball, van de Beek raced clear and sold Hugo Lloris more than one dummy before calmly slotting the ball into the net.

With Brazilian David Neres also prominent, Ajax controlled the next quarter, and the home side at times resorted to desperate defending and conceded a series of corners.

If a glorious passing move had ended with a second goal 10 minutes later, I’d have feared for Spurs.

But after Joel Veltman, Dusan Tadic and van de Beek linked up, Lloris was quick to block when a ball to Neres would have resulted in Ajax doubling their advantage.

An accidental collision with team-mate Toby Alderweireld brought a long stoppage to play. The luckless Jan Vertonghen ultimately had to leave the field with suspected concussion and a broken nose, but the only positive to emerge for the home side was that the halt in play also halted the visitors’ momentum.

Dele Alli had the home side’s first shot on target five minutes after the restart as Spurs started to probe, but their final ball was often wasted and the visitors looked fairly untroubled.

It took a combination of Alderweireld, Victor Wanyama, and Moussa Sissoko to close down Tadic as he raced towards goal after Ajax threatened to get back into their first-half groove.

That groove returned 12 minutes from time and saw Tadic unselfishly square the ball to Neres, whose shot beat Lloris but not the post.

Spurs survived but were unable to build up any sustained pressure and Ajax thoroughly deserved their success.

This tie is not yet over but it’s advantage Ajax.

Key statistics

Ajax have scored the most away goals in the tournament this season (11).

Ex-Ajax players Christian Eriksen, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, and Davinson Sánchez were all named in the Spurs starting line-up.



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Ajax have scored in nine consecutive Champions League away games for the first time in their club history.

van de Beek (22years 12days) is the third youngest Ajax goalscorer in a Champions League semi-final after Nordin Wooter (19years, 237 days) and Mario Melchiot (20 years, 170 days).

Ajax are the first Dutch club to have reached the Champions League semi-finals since PSV in 2005.

Ajax are the sole side still involved who came through qualifying. They are the first side in European Cup history to reach the semi-finals having come through three qualifying rounds.

Three Ajax players have recently played for English clubs: Daley Blind (Manchester United, 2014–18), Tadić (Southampton, 2014–18) and Zakaria Labyad (Fulham, 2016).

What’s next?

The sides will meet again in Amsterdam a week tomorrow (May 8) with the Champions League 2019 betting odds evenly poised.

In between, Spurs travel to Bournemouth in the Premier League, while Ajax have another major game – the Dutch Cup Final against Willem II on Sunday (May 5).

 

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02-May 2019 Thursday 6:41 PM (264 days ago)            #15
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Champions League: Messi Magic Does It Again Against Luckless Liverpool

Barcelona 3-0 Liverpool

Five-time champions of Europe, both craving a sixth title – no wonder this Champions League tie was so richly anticipated.

In the end, a one-sided scoreline means Barcelona have one foot in the final in Madrid a month today.

Yet don’t let that fool you.

This was a close game with little to separate the sides until the closing stages.

Highlights of the game

Once again, when the dust settles, all the talk will be of the man with magic in his boots and all SBOBET fans and football fans the world over can only admire Lionel Messi.

As he did to Manchester United in the quarter-finals, the brilliant Argentine produced more Champions League 2019 highlights to leave next week’s second leg close to irrelevant barring a comeback to match all comebacks.

There were eight minutes remaining when, 35 yards from goal, the diminutive number 10 swerved a free-kick into the net that was simply outrageous.

Liverpool rues missed chances during the Champions League tie with Barcelona
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson react after conceding their first goal during the Champions League semi-final match with Barcelona

It was hard not to admire the brilliance, even if the score was extremely harsh on the Merseysiders.

To prove the point, even after Messi’s wonder strike, Sadio Mane saw a shot hacked off the line by Ivan Rakitic before Mo Salah fired the rebound against the upright.

Earlier, Marc-Andre ter Stegen had prevented a Salah effort from fizzing into the bottom corner. The Barca goalkeeper also denied James Milner at point blank range.

In the first half, Mane was also denied with just the goalkeeper to beat after a fine ball from Jordan Henderson, who came on for the injured Naby Keita – another sign of the bad luck Liverpool were experiencing.

Ultimately, though, Liverpool’s failure to take their chances and Barca’s clinical finishing was contrasting and leaves the Champions League 2019 betting odds firmly in the Catalans' camp.

A frenetic opening period had seen play switch from end-to-end before the opener arrived courtesy of one of two lost loves who are still fondly thought of by the red half of Merseyside.

Luis Suarez’s movement was timed to perfection as he got between Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip and flicked a Jordi Alba cross past Alisson.

After that the newly crowned champions of Spain, retaining the title they have won for the past two seasons in some style, were second best for spells against opponents faring well domestically and abroad in their own right.

Then Messi made it two.

After laying the ball off to Suarez, the Uruguayan struck the ball with his knee and it clipped the top off the crossbar before Messi, continuing his run, controlled the rebound and poked the ball into an empty net.

Then came the magic moment and dispirited Liverpool were suddenly three behind in a contest in which they had more than held their own.

This game highlighted the stark realities of Champions League football at the highest level.

Having a more clinical edge is one thing, having Messi, for whom you run out of superlatives, is very much another.



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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 


Key statistics

Messi has scored 26 goals in 33 matches against English clubs – more than he has managed against teams from any other country. No player has more against teams from a particular country in the competition’s history (level with Cristiano Ronaldo against German clubs).

This was Liverpool’s joint-heaviest Champions League defeat after also losing 0-3 to Real Madrid in October 2014.

They have also now lost more matches in the Champions League this season (four in 11 matches) than in all other competitions combined (three in 38 matches).

Barcelona have won 15 of their 25 two-legged ties with English clubs, including the last five. The 2012 semi-final defeat by Chelsea is the only reverse in their last nine contests, all in the knockout phase.

This was Barcelona’s fifth game against English opponents this season; they were 4-0 aggregate winners against United in the quarter-finals and took four points off Tottenham Hotspur in the group stage.

Three of Barcelona's eight semi-final defeats in this competition have come against English opponents, with only one victory.

This is Barcelona’s 12th Champions League semi-final – fewer only than Real Madrid (13) in the competition's history.

Barcelona are unbeaten in 32 Champions League home matches, a run that began in September 2013 (won 29, drawn three).

Barcelona are the only undefeated team left in the competition (won eight, drawn three).

What’s next?

Barcelona travel to Celta Vigo in La Liga on Saturday when they are expected to rest key players.

Liverpool cannot afford that luxury as they visit Newcastle in the Premier League.

The second leg takes place next Tuesday (May 7).

 

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07-May 2019 Tuesday 5:16 PM (259 days ago)            #16
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Liverpool Need a Champions League Miracle at Anfield

Liverpool vs Barcelona

Barcelona are just 90 minutes away from reaching their first Champions League final in four years. The Spanish champions hold a commanding 3-0 lead over Liverpool after a somewhat fortunate first-leg win at the Camp Nou.

Liverpool also have a host of injury concerns to deal with heading into the second leg at Anfield, which does not bode well for their chances of staging a miraculous comeback.

But while most Champions League 2019 predictions likely have Barca going through, they of all teams must know that even a three-goal first-leg lead is not entirely safe and shouldn't be taken for granted.

Talking Points

Liverpool's major injury concerns

Liverpool are losing key players at exactly the wrong time in their season. First, striker Roberto Firmino picked up a muscle injury which saw him start the first leg against Barcelona on the bench. Then, midfielder Naby Keita went down with a groin injury during the first leg and had to be subbed off.

And now, Liverpool's superstar forward Mohamed Salah suffered a head injury which saw him stretchered off in their dramatic 3-2 win over Newcastle over the weekend.

While manager Jurgen Klopp has not yet completely ruled Salah out of the second leg, he did come out with big Champions League 2019 news that that Firmino will indeed miss out, which is a huge blow for the Reds. And based on how serious Salah's injury looked, it would be quite a surprise if he does suit up against Barca.

Liverpool are so reliant on Firmino, Salah, and Sadio Mane to carry their attack. Those three have combined for 70 of the team's 105 goals in the Premier League and Champions League combined, along with 19 assists.

With all due respect to the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, and Xherdan Shaqiri, but they are a significant step down from Firmino and Salah. As if Liverpool's chances of staging a comeback against Barcelona weren't hard enough, doing so without two of their top three forwards will make that task even more daunting.

 


 

Barcelona must take care of business

After three consecutive years of quarter-final failure, Barcelona are now on the cusp of returning to the Champions League final. And clearly, it would be a disaster if they somehow conspire not to make it to Madrid.

For one, they have a comfortable 3-0 lead to protect at Anfield against what could be a significantly shorthanded Liverpool side in the second leg.

And since they've already clinched another La Liga title, they had the luxury of resting basically their entire first-choice side in their weekend match against Celta Vigo, which they lost 2-0.

That means they should be fresh and well-rested for their trip to Anfield, where they likely won't have to exert too much effort in terms of attacking.

Of course, Barca must also be wary of being too complacent. They famously had a 4-1 first-leg lead against Roma in last year's quarter-final and were subsequently knocked out on away goals after a 3-0 second-leg defeat. But surely, they will have learned their lesson after such an embarrassing exit.

Champions League: Luis Suarez is not holding back against former club
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring Barcelona's first goal against former club Liverpool

History

Anfield has been an absolute fortress for Liverpool in Europe. The Reds have never lost in 10 Champions League semi-final home matches (eight wins, two draws), and have conceded just four goals.

Moreover, Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 21 European home matches (15 wins, six draws), with their last loss coming back in 2014.

As for Barcelona, they have had a lovely time against English opposition in Europe. They have won 12 of their last 16 European games against English clubs, with only a solitary defeat.

They have also won five of their last seven away games against English clubs (one draw, one loss), which includes wins at Tottenham and at Manchester United in this year's competition.

Betting Tip

??

Liverpool vs Barcelona Under 3.00 Goals @ 1.89
May 08, 03:00 (GMT+8)

Liverpool will be up against it in the second leg. They need at least three goals just to force extra-time and four to win the tie. And that's while keeping Barcelona goalless, which will be a tough task in its own right. Obviously, scoring goals will be much tougher without Firmino and Salah.

Meanwhile, Barca likely won't go out searching for goals at Anfield unless they really need to. That's why SBOBET tips this game to be a low-scoring second leg, with the total going under 3.0 goals.

The draw, which is currently priced at 3.40, is also an intriguing bet since Liverpool likely won't give up their unbeaten run at home without a fight.

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07-May 2019 Tuesday 5:18 PM (259 days ago)            #17
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Champions League: Ajax or Spurs…Who has the Nerve?

Ajax vs Tottenham Hotspur

All roads lead to the Netherlands this week when Spurs heads to the Amsterdam Arena to take on Ajax in the Champions League semi-final second leg.

The hosts have a one-goal lead, and that makes them favourites to reach the first final in over two decades. The good times are rolling back at Ajax, the best side in football in the seventies, and this current crop is 1.32 to advance to the final, with Spurs at 3.38 to overturn their first-half deficit.

And while Spurs had a bruising defeat to Bournemouth over the weekend the Dutch side had a weekend off. With two games to go in the Dutch Eredivisie Erik ten Hag’s team is in pole position, ahead of PSV Eindhoven on goal difference. But their full focus has been on Europe and Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs.

The Champions League 2019 betting odds tell us that Barcelona are the overwhelming favourites to win the tournament, having hammered Liverpool 3-0, and with Leo Messi in such scintillating form who can argue with that? But whichever side can hold its nerve in Amsterdam on Wednesday, a real chance to win the tournament awaits.

 


 

 

Talking Points

Ajax: The Fearlessness of Youth

This Ajax team has been the big Champions League 2019 news with its joie de vivre and the hunger to take on all comers. They have already beaten Real Madrid and Juventus, two of the pre-tournament favourites and are in a great position to see off Spurs.

The loyal Ajax fans can start to dream of a glittering final and a return to the days of Johann Cruyff, as this current group of young players roll back the years. 19-year-old Matthijs de Ligt and 21-year-old Frenkie de Jong have been outstanding for Ajax this season, at home and in Europe, and they are bound to approach this next challenge without fear.

The 6 ft 2 central defender De Ligt shows maturity beyond his years, and he looks set to form a partnership in the national team with Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk, which could soon be the best in the world.

Donny van de Beek’s early strike gave Ajax the crucial away goal and a first leg lead over Spurs. That was his third goal of the competition, and alongside De Jong and Lasse Schone, he completely dominated the Spurs midfield at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

And if the Ajax midfield continues its fine form, then livewire striker Dusan Tadic will have every chance of adding to his six Champions League 2019 goals.

Donny van de Beek made the difference in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals against Tottenham Hotspur
Donny van de Beek scored the crucial away goal for Ajax during the first leg of the Champions League semifinals

Spurs: Has the Fear of Failure gone?

There are signs that Spurs may be losing their composure in the run in at the end of such a promising season, going down to nine men in the weekend defeat to Bournemouth. And when Chelsea was sweeping Watford aside on Sunday, the Blues fans taunted their Spurs counterparts, chanting; “Tottenham Hotspur…it’s happening again!” in reference to Spurs perceived tendency to choke at the final hurdle, most notably when Leicester City won the Premier League from under their noses back in 2016.

But Arsenal’s failure to beat Brighton has virtually assured Spurs of a top-four place, and that might take some of the pressure off the Whites on Wednesday. And, of course, Mauricio Pochettino’s team has the ability to fight hard when their backs are against the wall, stunning Manchester City to reach this semi-final.

Christian Eriksen possesses the visitors’ coolest head and the knack of scoring crucial goals in the big moments so Spurs fans will hope the Dane is on his game.

History

As four-time winners and twice runners up of Europe’s premier competition, Ajax has Champions League pedigree in spades. But Pochettino’s Spurs has been in the higher echelons of European football in recent years.

But the force seems to be with this young Dutch team which has pretty much dismantled Real Madrid and Juventus already in this competition.

Ajax hasn’t lost in the last nine games or in any of its last seven home matches.

Meanwhile, Spurs has suffered a crisis in confidence, losing five of its last six and the last five away matches in a row.

Betting Tip

??

Ajax vs Tottenham Hotspur Ajax Asian Handicap -0.25 @ 1.87
May 09, 03:00 (GMT+8)

The latest odds right here at SBOBET have Ajax is 2.16 to win and Spurs at 3.20 with the draw at 3.40.

So this clash could easily go either way and while Spurs’ near qualification for next year’s Champions League has lifted a little pressure, the hosts come into the game in much better form and I’m backing them to finish the job on Wednesday.

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11-May 2019 Saturday 5:14 PM (255 days ago)            #18
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Champions League: Liverpool Perform a Miracle to Beat Barca!

Liverpool 4-0 (4-3 on agg.) Barcelona

Liverpool pulled off one of the most incredible Champions League comebacks of all-time tonight, overturning a three-goal deficit to stun Barcelona and make it to the Madrid final.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp said his side would suffer in the Camp Nou in the run-up to the first leg, and how right he was. But all that was forgotten tonight as the valiant Reds put Lionel Messi and co. to the sword, and all the suffering was felt by the Catalans!

Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum both bagged a brace in another Anfield night that will go down in folklore.

Highlights of the game

The Reds came into the match on the back of a dramatic late win at Newcastle at the weekend thanks to an 86th-minute goal from Origi, and I bet he couldn’t believe his luck when he fired this tie into life on just eight minutes.

Jordi Alba, for reasons best known to him, headed the ball into the path of Sadio Mane, who then released Jordan Henderson to shoot. Marc-Andre ter Stegen made the save, but Origi was on the spot to turn the ball into the empty net.

Anfield erupted in the belief this could be another one of those famous Champions League nights, but they had a warning from Lionel Messi. The Argentine released a wicked shot which Alisson did well to tip over the bar.

Liverpool midfielder Fabinho picked up a yellow card for a foul on Luis Suarez, and that made his job of keeping Messi quiet more difficult. And moments later, Messi fed Philippe Coutinho, who brought out another good save from Alisson.

As the first half came to a close, the crowd roared its approval with the comeback dream still on.

After receiving a kick from Suarez, Andy Robertson didn’t make it out for the second half, and so James Milner moved back to left back with Georginio Wijnaldum slotting into midfield.

Both keepers were called into action early in the second period. ter Stegen made a smart reaction save from Virgil Van Dijk’s first-time flick, and then Alisson did well to keep out a low effort from Suarez.

And then the roof came off the stadium as Liverpool struck twice in two minutes to level the scores with over half an hour remaining.

Georginio Wijnaldum has played a huge role in Liverpool's thrashing of Barcelona in a crucial Champions League game
Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates with Trent Alexander-Arnold after scoring a goal in a crucial Champions League semi-final against Barcelona

It was the substitute Wijnaldum scoring both. His first was a sharp finish from a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross. And then two minutes later, as another cross flew into the Barca box, the Dutchman rose highest to plant his header beyond ter Stegen to make it 3-3. Remarkable!

But Barca knew one goal would leave Liverpool needing two. Messi burst through to force Alisson into another good save. Van Dijk then cleared when Suarez looked ready to poke home an Alba cross. And then…

It happened!

Alexander-Arnold saw Origi in space and whipped the ball in for the striker to finish beautifully, sparking pandemonium in the stadium. Barca were asleep and paid the price.

There was one more crowd eruption to come when the ref blew for full time to draw a close to this simply unbelievable game.

Key statistics

Liverpool needed a miracle tonight at Anfield with the pre-match Liverpool vs Barcelona betting odds suggesting the hosts would do well to pull even one goal back. But it took less than ten minutes for Origi to ignite the tie with a goal that made him Liverpool’s 50th Champions League scorer.

Georginio Wijnaldum’s double strike made him the first-ever substitute to score twice against Barcelona in the competition.

What’s next?

Well, the high drama just keeps on coming folks, when the Premier League comes to a thrilling climax next Sunday. It’s been an epic battle between two sides which have traded blow for blow and shown just how far ahead of the chasing pack they actually are.

Manchester City are the overwhelming favourite, just needing a win at Brighton to retain the title. But Jurgen Klopp’s aim was always to remain in the hunt until the very last day when he knows that anything can happen. On paper, the Reds have the tougher assignment when Wolves visit Anfield.

With La Liga already won, Barcelona hosts fourth-placed Getafe at the Camp Nou on Sunday. Jose Borderlas’ Madrid minnows have had a sensational season and have a great chance of winning a Champions League place. And I’m not sure how Ernesto Valverde will lift his players for that game.

But next up for SBOBET Champions League fans is the other semi-final tomorrow night when Ajax start with a one-goal advantage against Spurs.

The young Dutch side has taken the competition by storm, registering the most spectacular Champions League 2019 results by putting out Juventus and Real Madrid en route to the last four.

 

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11-May 2019 Saturday 5:17 PM (255 days ago)            #19
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Champions League: Can You Believe That?!

Ajax 2-3 (3-3 on agg.) Tottenham Hotspur

This could never possibly live up to the epic quarter-final second leg victories both clubs achieved?

It was surely never going to match the incredible drama of the other semi-final second leg 24 hours earlier?

But that’s exactly what it did do after a stirring comeback which was probably even better than anything that preceded it in this season’s competition – and my word that is saying something after yet another Champions League football night to remember for SBOBET fans.

What a way for Lucas Moura to mark his 50th appearance in UEFA club competition!

What a way for this energetic young Ajax side, which has provided such joy, to bow out.

Highlights of the game

This was a tie which home manager Erik ten Hag described as the most important in the stadium’s history.

Not since Louis van Gaal’s 1997 vintage lost the first leg of their Champions League semi-final 2-1 to Juventus had the four-time European champions reached this stage of the competition that, this season, began for them in July against Sturm Graz.

Spurs were also aiming to embrace the moment and reach the final of Europe’s elite club competition for the first time.

However, they had to find a cure for the travel sickness after losing nine of their previous 10 away games in all competitions and improve on a first-leg showing in which they managed only one shot on target, the club’s joint-lowest total in a Champions League fixture.

A late switch saw winger David Neres drop out of the starting XI but a vibrant Ajax side, fresh from winning the Dutch Cup, didn’t let that enforced change unsettle them as they made a flying start.

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After Dusan Tadic’s shot forced Hugo Lloris to make an impressive save, the hosts took a fifth-minute lead to extend their aggregate advantage.

Young captain Matthijs de Ligt lost his marker and then beat his man to thump home a header.

The returning Heung-Min Son saw his cross come shot hit the base of the post. The South Korean and Christian Eriksen then saw their efforts saved by Andre Onana.

Yet it looked a tall order for Spurs nine minutes before the break when Tadic cut the ball back to Hakim Ziyech, whose left-footed shot was superb and beyond Lloris into the far corner. It was now 3-0 on aggregate to the Dutch.

It was the latest of many Champions League 2019 highlights for Ajax. Surely, it was game over for Spurs against hosts which had lost just once in 24 matches at home this season.

But gloriously resilient Spurs were determined to prove they are a better side than the one which had shown up for most of this tie so far.

Before the hour, Moura sprinted through a gap and met Dele Alli’s pass, sliding the ball past Onana.

Then, after Onana kept out substitute Fernando Llorente, Moura spun and slammed the rebound into the net.

The small margins between failure and success were highlighted in the closing moment when the unfortunate Ziyech saw his shot come back off the post before being denied by the goalkeeper again.

Then, with 96 minutes on the clock, came magnificent Moura.

These two last nights have told us that, while the leading clubs in England can afford many top players, it takes more than just talent to win these types of games.

This was a brilliantly gutsy display, a never-say-die attitude and a "feat of escapology to make your bones vibrate," according to one newspaper.

Incredibly, it will be Spurs who face Liverpool at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid on June 1. Save the date!

Key statistics

There were only 204 seconds between Moura’s first two goals.

De Ligt is the fourth teenager to score in a Champions League semi-final, after Nordin Wooter (1996, Ajax), Obafemi Martins (2003, Inter Milan) and Kylian Mbappé (2017, Monaco).

Spurs have conceded seven goals in the opening 15 minutes of matches in the Champions League this season, the most of any side.

Ajax were the first side in European Cup history to reach the semi-finals having come through three qualifying rounds.

Ajax have only lost three of 28 European matches in which they won the away first leg.

What’s next?

Ajax's incredible season comes to an end as they lose to Tottenham in the Champions League
Ajax players feel disjointed after a terrible loss against Tottenham Hotspur in Champions League semi-final

This talented young Ajax have somehow now got to try and lift themselves and win their final two league matches of the Eredivisie against Utrecht and De Graafschap to win the title.

Spurs host Everton in the Premier League on Sunday and then have a nearly three-week wait before the Champions League Final on June 1.

I bet you can’t keep your eyes off those Champions League 2019 betting odds!

 

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11-Sep 2019 Wednesday 1:51 PM (132 days ago)            #20
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Champions League Final: Europe’s Biggest Prize

Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur

There’s no denying it; the UEFA Champions League final is the biggest domestic clash in European Football…if not the world.

And all eyes will be on the Wanda Metropolitano this weekend when Liverpool takes on Spurs for Europe’s biggest prize. It’s a clash that Premier League fans, in particular, will be relishing as everyone will have their favourite between these two.

Manchester United fans will be cheering on Spurs while Arsenal supporters will become Merseysiders for the day! Having reached last season’s final, Liverpool has been there or thereabouts in the Champions League 2019 betting odds but Spurs have been rank outsiders.

Now it’s a shootout between two of the best sides in England and, over 90 plus minutes, Spurs will have every chance of pulling off another upset. Jurgen Klopp would not have chosen Liverpool’s league rivals as an opponent at this stage of the competition, that’s for sure.

Talking Points

Comeback Kings

Few would have given Klopp’s team much hope when they kicked off in the second leg of their semi-final against Barcelona, 3-0 down after the first leg. That was, without doubt, one of the top Champions League 2019 highlights, but Spurs have launched their own spectacular comebacks to reach the final in Madrid.

A stunning hat-trick from Lucas Moura, including a third goal right at the death, took Spurs through to the final having broken Ajax hearts and Mauricio Pochettino knows his team will never give up.

Champions League: Lucas Moura steps up for Tottenham Hotspur when it matters
Lucas Moura celebrates after scoring a hat-trick during the second leg of the Champions League semi-final match against Ajax

Is this Mo’s Moment?

Liverpool star striker Mo Salah is hoping to banish the painful memories of last season’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid, when the Egyptian limped off with an injury in the first half, leaving Reds fans wondering what might have been.

And now, 12 months later, he hopes things will be very different at the Wanda Metropolitano as Liverpool heads into the final as favourites. He said: “It’s not just a dream. I hope it becomes a reality and I score in the final. I am so happy that I have the chance to play another final. I hope I can play the full game this time. I am very excited about that. I hope we can right what happened last season, get a good result, and win the competition."

Red danger

Jurgen Klopp’s side has one of the most feared attacks in world football but the threat to opposing defences comes from all over the pitch. Liverpool’s wing-backs Trent Alexander Arnold and Andrew Robertson have made an incredible 23 assists in the Premier League season, a remarkable return when you consider their defensive responsibilities. And they will be sure to test their opposite numbers in Madrid.

 


 

 

Cometh the hour, cometh the man

Spurs fans are hoping their injury-plagued skipper Harry Kane will be fully fit at the weekend and coach Pochettino has been sweating on the fitness of his main man, but Kane has announced himself ready to play. And he is sure to occupy the thoughts of the Liverpool team and fans.

Kane was injured in the first leg quarter-final clash against Manchester City, but if he is anywhere near 100 per cent he could be the man to win the game. Liverpool wing-back Andy Robertson says: “Of course, Harry Kane is a world-class striker and whether he's fit or not, he could be a match winner for them. We obviously hope not.

"It doesn't really make a difference which team starts for them; we need to concentrate on us and on being 100 per cent defensively and attacking. It doesn't really matter who plays.”

Spurs fans won’t agree with that!

History

Liverpool has had the better of the head-to-head, winning 26 of the 56 meetings since 1993, with 14 wins for Spurs and 16 draws.

Harry Kane and Lucas Moura have five goals each in this competition while Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino all have four each for the Reds.

And Liverpool has the psychological edge, having done the double over Spurs this season with a pair of 2-1 wins

Betting Tip

??

Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur Over 2.50 Goals @ 1.90
June 2, 03:00 (GMT+8)

At SBOBET odds of 1.94, Liverpool is odds on to win this match, but it’s going to be a nail-biter for both sets of fans. Spurs at 3.75 and the draw at 3.45 in 90 minutes are both possible outcomes and I don’t see either team having it all its own way.

It would be a dream for either set of fans to see their heroes lift the title, but if I have to get off the fence I think it could well be Liverpool lifting the title.

I expect to see goals and for an alternative bet, how about 2-1 to Liverpool at odds of 7.60?

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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11-Sep 2019 Wednesday 1:53 PM (132 days ago)            #21
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Premier League West Ham vs Manchester City: Unstoppable City on the March!

Tottenham Hotspur 0-2 Liverpool

Whatever happens in the future, whatever lies ahead, Liverpool will always have Saturday, June the first 2019.

The night a dream became a reality under the floodlights of Madrid.

The night a sixth Champions League title was won and they were crowned kings of Europe.

After producing Champions League 2019 highlights galore stretching all the way back to September last year, both these clubs deserved enormous credit.

Yet there could only be one winner. Only one of the fine institutions in the English game could prevail. And so it was Liverpool. In truth, the contest was poor and devoid of quality but the victors will not care one jot - and nor should they.

Highlights of the game

Harry Kane and the Tottenham Hotspur get defeated by Liverpool in the Champions League final
Harry Kane looks dejected after the final whistle as Tottenham Hotspur lose to Liverpool in Madrid

SBOBET followers are intelligent enough to know there is little between these clubs, even if the Champions League 2019 betting odds reflected Liverpool as clear favourites.

The way both clubs reached the showpiece of the season was a story in itself and showed that either club was deserving to claim club football’s top prize. In fact, this is the top prize in world football without question.

Those who watched in Madrid – and plenty did without tickets for inside the Wanda Metropolitano – or elsewhere in the world (and there were some heart-warming stories) will always remember the occasion.

Ultimately, it boiled down to a decision in the first minute which set the tone for the 89 minutes that followed.

Slovenia’s Damir Skomina adjudged Tottenham's Moussa Sissoko to have handled the ball in the penalty area and, while some branded the decision laughable, the man that mattered made the decision and Mo Salah wasn’t going to miss the chance to give Jurgen Klopp’s men a dream start.

That gave the Merseysiders with the advantage and, while Spurs had long spells of possession, they largely lacked urgency. Chances were few and far between on both sides before substitute Divock Origi sealed the contest and the crown with three minutes remaining.



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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

Key statistics

Mohamed Salah’s opener for Liverpool is the second fastest goal in a Champions League final, only behind Paolo Maldini (00:50) for AC Milan versus Liverpool in 2005.

A substitute has now scored in five of the last six Champions League finals: Marcelo (2014), Yannick Carrasco (2016), Marco Asensio (2017), Gareth Bale (2018), and Origi (2019).

Klopp is the fifth German manager to win the European Cup, after Dettmar Cramer, Jupp Heynckes, Ottmar Hitzfeld and Udo Lattek but only the second German to win the trophy with a non-German side (Heynckes with Real Madrid).

Only five sides have lifted each of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup, UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League and European Cup Winners Cup.

Tottenham and Liverpool have met 170 times in all competitions, the Reds winning 80 to Spurs’ 48, with 43 draws.

Tottenham are the 40th side to feature in a European Cup final, and the first debutants since 2008.

The sides have been paired together only once previously in UEFA competition, in the 1973 UEFA Cup semi-finals, won on away goals by Liverpool after a 2-2 aggregate draw. Alec Lindsay gave Liverpool a first-leg advantage at Anfield and Steve Heighway’s goal in the White Hart Lane return, in between a Martin Peters double for the holders Spurs, proved decisive. Liverpool went on to win the trophy.

Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid) and Fernando Llorente (Juventus) both played as substitutes and ended up on the losing sides in the 2014 and 2015 Champions League finals.

This was Harry Kane’s 50th appearance in the competition.

What’s next?

Both sides will be back in this competition next season but Liverpool with the prestige of Europe’s number one. They are kings of Europe.

 

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11-Sep 2019 Wednesday 1:56 PM (132 days ago)            #22
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Champions League: Europe’s Giant Discover Their Fate

It was the competition that provided more drama than you could shake a stick at.

The top competition in world football – yes, even exceeding the World Cup – produced Champions League 2019 highlights galore.

I had my personal favourites with one, in particular, standing out on such a level it was simply stratospheric.

There were others I enjoyed too which upset the SBOBET Champions League betting odds in a big way.

Indeed, virtually everywhere you looked at the 2018/19 Champions League, it made for a compelling viewing.

Now it’s back and raring to go again.

So, what of today’s draw?

Well there are certainly some groups to savour.

Two of the underachievers from last season, 13-time winners Real Madrid and Paris St Germain, will meet in Group A for example, and both should progress.

Then there is Group F which looks particularly competitive with Barcelona meeting Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan and underdogs Slavia Prague.

Juventus and Atletico Madrid will renew hostilities in Group D. Their meeting last spring was the stuff of dreams for Juve fans led by the inspirational Cristiano Ronaldo.

Yet the one that stands out as four closely matched sides is probably Group H which comprises Europa League winners Chelsea, every neutral’s favourite side from last season in beaten semi-finalists Ajax, the improving Valencia and One Lille.

Chelsea’s group is the most eye-catchingly deadly, while the Spurs also face a tricky one with Bayern Munich, Olympiakos and Red Star Belgrade waiting.

As for the other English clubs, it looks to be an excellent draw for holders Liverpool and a decent one for English champions Manchester City.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will presumably be relieved to be facing Napoli, Salzburg, and Genk after he described as ‘crazy’ the possibility they could be pitted against heavyweights such as Real in the group stages.

Certainly, he had a point when he highlighted the strength of the teams involved in the tournament as further evidence that a European Super League is not needed.

As well as Liverpool and Napoli, there are some other reunions.

City are meeting the Ukrainian champions for the third year in a row, while PSG and Real are renewing a rivalry having last faced off in the 2018 last-16, en route to Real clinching a third successive tournament victory.

Ronaldo’s bid for a sixth Champions League title begins against a familiar foe too, of course.

Diego Simeone and Atleti must be sick of the sight of the Portuguese star, who has scored a remarkable 25 goals in 33 games against the Spanish side, including an incredible treble in last season’s competition to overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit.

Aside from the obvious giants, there are others to watch out for.

Big-spending Inter Milan, with Antonio Conte now in charge, and boosted by the arrival of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, are one of the more exciting projects on the continent.

For fellow Serie A side Atalanta, this is also the moment it has been waiting for.



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After finishing third last season, the side is competing in the Champions League for the first time in its 112-year history.

Ajax, meanwhile, could struggle to replicate their feats of reaching the semi-final last season after losing key players Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Kasper Dolberg and Lasse Schöne.

Everyone has their favourite version of the competition that started out as the European Cup. Some stubbornly believe it was better when restricted to national champions only, ignoring the huge financial gains and not inconsiderable drama that has played out over the past 20 years or so. Others feel it is just about perfect at the moment, with the right balance struck between commitments at home and in Europe.

Personally, I feel only the top two from each of the major leagues should be included.

It is not going to happen now though and the excitement about this draw showed why this format of the Champions League is here to stay – in effect, a mini European super league without actually splitting up respective domestic combat.

The usual questions will be asked in the months ahead.

Can Liverpool reach a third successive final as they bid to retain the crown? Will Tottenham Hotspur go one better after falling short in the final last year? Can Pep Guardiola and Manchester City secure the Champions League win that they desire?

Lionel Messi is desperate for another European triumph. And for Real Madrid - could Zinedine Zidane cobble together another tilt at the trophy with Eden Hazard in tow?

The road to Istanbul starts here.

 

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11-Sep 2019 Wednesday 2:00 PM (132 days ago)            #23
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Champions League: Cavani Close to Return, Emre Can Out, New Format Foiled

The new season of the Champions League is set to kick off in just a few days' time. Last season provided some terrific action and surprising results, which culminated in Liverpool topping Tottenham in an all-English final.

This year's competition figures to provide more of the same, with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus expected to be prominently involved in the latter stages.

Those two clubs, who are among the big favourites according to the Champions League 2019 odds, are also involved in some of the biggest news stories ahead of the opening round of matches. Meanwhile, there's also a report regarding the very future of the competition.

As usual, SBOBET is here to get you caught up with all these big news items before the tournament begins in earnest.

Edinson Cavani expected to face Real Madrid

Without question, one of the marquee matchups in the opening round of Champions League games is Paris Saint-Germain vs Real Madrid.

Although, it seemed as if PSG would be without their top three forwards with Neymar suspended for the first three Champions League games and both Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani picking up injuries.

According to French newspaper L'Equipe, however, Cavani appears to be close to returning from his hip problem and is expected to feature against Madrid. He could even make it back for their weekend match against Strasbourg in Ligue 1.

PSG do still have Mauro Icardi -- whom they acquired on loan from Inter Milan during the transfer window -- in case Cavani can't quite make it in time.

But even if he only makes it on the bench, Cavani should still be a welcome addition to the PSG side against a formidable opponent like Real Madrid.

At 32 years of age, the Uruguayan is still capable of scoring some important goals. He had 23 goals in 33 games for PSG last season, including two in the Champions League.

 Cavani scored the last time PSG faced Real, which was in the second leg of their round of 16 tie back in 2018. The French champions lost that match 2-1 and 5-2 on aggregate.

Emre Can left out of Juventus' Champions League squad

Emre Can is not part of Juventus’ Champions League plan
Juventus midfielder Emre Can celebrates after scoring their second goal versus Napoli

Juventus midfielder Emre Can was handed some surprising news last week when he was informed he wasn't part of the team's 22-man Champions League squad.

“The fact that I am not in the Champions League squad is extremely shocking for me, mainly because I was promised something different last week. There were talks with other clubs [before the transfer window closed] and one of the conditions for me to stay was to be part of the Champions League squad.”

Can also revealed that the phone call where he was informed of the decision didn't last a minute and that he wasn't given an explanation as to why he was omitted from the squad. He added that he'll seek talks with the club to discuss his situation.

Can, who arrived in Turin on a free transfer in the summer of 2018, made 37 appearances and scored four goals in his debut season for Juventus last season under Massimiliano Allegri. But it appears he is not a key part of new manager Maurizio Sarri's plans.

Juventus' six central midfielders included in the squad over Can were Miralem Pjanic, Sami Khedira, Aaron Ramsey, Blaise Matuidi, Adrien Rabiot, and Rodrigo Bentancur.

It's a testament to Juventus' remarkable strength in depth that they could not even find room for players of Can and veteran forward Mario Mandzukic's calibre on their squad.

But even without those players, Juventus -- who made it to the quarter-finals last season -- are still more than capable of providing a number of Champions League 2019 highlights this season.



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Revised Champions League format foiled

There will be no change in the current Champions League format... for now. That's after a proposal to alter the tournament will likely be delayed or scrapped after it was met with strong opposition.

Juventus and European Club Association chairman Andrea Agnelli acknowledged that their plan to drastically change the competition from 2024 onwards has been unable to win support of other members, who have "different views" on the matter.

The proposal would see the competition transformed into a three-tier European League with promotion and relegation.

The top tier would be the new version of the Champions League, but 24 of the 32 teams would keep their places for the following season and would no longer need to qualify through their domestic leagues.

 That change, which would favour the top European clubs, was strongly opposed by lower-ranking leagues that say the battle for Champions League places is a key aspect of their competitions.

It remains to be seen if the top clubs' goal to see the competition changed will ever come to fruition. But for the next five seasons, at least, the Champions League will continue on with its current format.

 

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17-Sep 2019 Tuesday 12:11 PM (126 days ago)            #24
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Champions League: Dortmund Aiming to Take Down Messi-less Barca

Borussia Dortmund vs Barcelona

Matchday 1 of the new UEFA Champions League season will feature some terrific matchups such as PSG-Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid-Juventus.

But Borussia Dortmund vs Barcelona has the potential to be the best matchup of them all still doesn't play. The two sides possess a wealth of attacking options which should make for one highly entertaining encounter.

Despite the likely absence of Lionel Messi, the Champions League 2019 betting odds still have Barcelona as slight favourites. But the Signal Iduna Park is one of the most intimidating places to visit in all of Europe and Dortmund will be ready to show the Spanish champions why.

Talking Points

Dortmund's dangerous attack

After their shock 3-1 defeat to Union Berlin before the international break, Borussia Dortmund bounced back in a big way with a 4-0 thumping of Bayer Leverkusen.

Marco Reus starred with two goals, while Paco Alcacer continued his torrid early-season form as he scored the opener.

Alcacer is currently one of the most in-form strikers in all of Europe. The Spanish marksman has scored in nine consecutive matches for club and country dating back to the preseason and has five Bundesliga goals to his name.

The former Barcelona man will want nothing more than to extend his amazing streak by scoring against his old club.

Meanwhile, Reus and Sancho have also been playing at a consistently high level to start the season. Sancho logged another assist in the Leverkusen win, giving him a league-leading four assists through four games to go along with two goals.

Those three should fancy their chances of putting some goals past a Barcelona defence which has shipped at least two goals in its last three games.

Dortmund have been close to unstoppable offensively at home. With their win at Leverkusen, they have extended their streak of scoring at least two goals in their last 19 home games (16 wins, two draws, one loss).

Still no Messi, but Suarez back

Barcelona are yet to get talisman Lionel Messi back in the lineup after he suffered a calf injury just before the start of the season. And according to the latest Champions League 2019 updates, it doesn't appear as if Messi still will be ready to make his return against Dortmund.

However, they did get Luis Suarez back for their weekend match against Valencia. The Uruguayan marked his return from an injury layoff with two late goals in Barca's big 5-2 win.

But before Suarez could come in, 16-year-old Ansu Fati stole the show as he scored for the second game running -- and he did it within two minutes. He also grabbed an assist to become the youngest player to record a goal and an assist in a La Liga match in the 21st century.

Champions League: Can Luis Suarez fill-in Lionel Messi's absence when they play against Borussia Dortmund?
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring Barcelona's fourth goal against Valencia

Even without Messi, it's scary to think how much attacking talent Barcelona possess, with Griezmann, Fati, Suarez, and even Frenkie de Jong, who was excellent against Valencia.

Barcelona have already scored five goals twice in their first four La Liga matches. However, they have yet to win away from home and will now play in one of the most intimidating arenas in all of European football.

History

Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund have met just twice all-time in European competition. Both came in the two-legged 1997 UEFA Super Cup. Barcelona won the first leg 2-0 at the Camp Nou and the drew the second leg at Dortmund to win the tie 3-1 on aggregate.

Barcelona have crashed out of the Champions League in devastating fashion in the past two seasons, but they have still been outstanding during the group stage. They come into the match riding a 14-match unbeaten run during the Champions League group stage (10 wins, four draws).

Betting Tip

??

Borussia Dortmund vs Barcelona Borussia Dortmund Asian Handicap +0.25 @ 1.92
September 18, 03:00 (GMT+8)

SBOBET odds have Dortmund priced at 2.91 at home on the 1X2 market, while Barcelona are at 2.35 despite the increasing likelihood that Messi won't be available.

Taking Dortmund +0.25 at 1.93 on the Asian Handicap market seems like the smart play for this match, though. As their terrific home record over the past year bears out, they will be very tough to beat at Signal Iduna Park. Even keeping them to under two goals will be quite a task for Barca's defence.

There's a decent chance Dortmund can come away with a win against a Barca side that hasn't looked convincing away from home without Messi. And even a draw would still yield half of the winnings, so you're still coming out ahead.

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17-Sep 2019 Tuesday 12:17 PM (126 days ago)            #25
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Champions League: If Goals are Your Thing, Head to Stamford Bridge!

Chelsea vs Valencia

The Champions League is back and this is where both these clubs want to be.

Chelsea may have had a year out but they responded to their absence in the best possible way by sealing a return via the Premier League and also by winning its sister competition, the Europa League.

Valencia, twice runners-up at the start of the century, have also responded to a barren spell of their own by qualifying for a second successive year – even if the man who guided them there was last week harshly sacked.

The SBOBET Champions League betting odds show it’s unlikely either of these clubs is ready to make a genuine bid to win the competition.

Indeed, the quarter-finals is probably a realistic aim.

But that’s not to say both will not produce Champions League highlights along the way.

 


 

 

Talking Points

Considering one side hit five and the other conceded five on Saturday, the contrasting fortunes are clear.

Chelsea come into this one on the back of crushing Wolves on their own turf.

A match in which Tammy Abraham joined Cristiano Ronaldo and Dele Alli in becoming only the third Premier League player aged 21 or younger to score two or more goals in three consecutive appearances.

Chelsea actually have 11 Premier League goals this season and Abraham has scored seven of them during an outstanding start to the campaign.

Scoring goals hasn’t been a problem but they have conceded 13 in just six games so far.

They may be young and a little naive but the side is bursting with youthful promise and energy and will have a spring in their step as Valencia arrive in town.

Valencia have slightly more experience in their ranks but are seemingly in a state of shock after Marcelino was sacked as boss last week.

Their players decided against speaking to the media after the game against Barcelona to avoid having to give their opinion on his dismissal.

Under the ownership of Peter Lim, Valencia is a club under scrutiny and Chelsea will want to take full advantage.

Their biggest uncertainty surrounds the fitness of N'Golo Kante, who missed the trip to Molineux at the weekend and remains a doubt.

The Blues boss may decide to allow the Frenchman to fully recover rather than risk another injury after suffering from a knee problem throughout pre-season.

There is a boost though with the news Callum Hudson-Odoi could return to the 18-man squad after coming through unscathed in an under-23s match having recovered from a ruptured Achilles.

Tammy Abraham is expected to play his Champions league debut against Valencia
Tammy Abraham earns himself a match ball after scoring a hat-trick for Chelsea against Wolverhampton Wanderers

History

These sides have met on six occasions – all in the past 12 years in this competition – and Chelsea have yet to taste defeat with three victories and three draws.

In fact, the clubs met four times in nine months in 2007.

Their quarter-final clash in April 2007 was a thriller.

The sides drew 1-1 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg when David Silva and Didier Drogba traded goals.

A last gasp Michael Essien goal booked Chelsea’s place in the semi-finals with a 2-1 success in the second leg, this after Fernando Morientes and Andriy Shevchenko were on target.

The sides also met in the group stages of the competition the following season.

Again, Chelsea fought from behind to win 2-1 in Spain.

David Villa gave the Spanish side an early advantage but a Joe Cole goal and a Drogba strike gave a real boost to the new Stamford Bridge regime – Avram Grant had recently been appointed manager.

The other group encounter ended goalless.

The sides also met in the group stages of the Champions League in 2011/12 – the year Chelsea went onto win the tournament.

Current boss Frank Lampard fired the west Londoners in front before a late Roberto Soldado penalty earned Valencia a point.

Chelsea cruised to a 3-0 home win in the return fixture thanks to a Drogba double and a Ramires goal.

Betting Tip

??

Chelsea vs Valencia Over 2.75 Goals @ 2.31
September 18, 03:00 (GMT+8)

The surprise for me would be if this ends goalless.

Not with both sides able to score and concede seemingly at will.

Chelsea are favourites with home advantage clear. They are priced 1X2 @ 1.80 with Valencia @ 3.80 and the draw at a close 3.70.

I was very tempted by the Asian Handicap odds predicting a Chelsea win – 0.75 @ 2.11, although also feel Valencia will have a point to prove of their own and + 0.25 @ 2.47 is attractive.

A repeat of their last meeting eight years ago – correct score 3-0 – is available @ 17.00, while correct score 1-1 is worth a punt @ 6.40.

I can see this being a cagey affair but not a tight one.

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17-Sep 2019 Tuesday 12:20 PM (126 days ago)            #26
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Champions League: Naples Is Natural For Nights Like These

Napoli vs Liverpool

Champions League nights are unique and, as the group stages of the 2019/2020 tournament begin, there is much anticipation – especially about fixtures like this one.

Both these sides created their own memorable Champions League highlights last season, none more so than Liverpool as they embarked on an adventure which saw them crowned European champions for the sixth time in June.

Now they return to Naples to launch their defence of Europe’s premier club competition in a contest which pits together two of the top managers currently in the game.

Talking Points

Carlo Ancelotti is seemingly happier with the strength of his squad this season.

Overall, Napoli may still appear slightly short of being ready to mount a sustained challenge for either this tournament or Serie A but the experience and guile of the veteran coach has ensured they can take on the best of Europe on their day, despite only having a fraction of the budget.

He has certain standards and, despite showing his frustration in the past week at building work going on at the club, he will not let his professional standards slip or affect his players when it comes to the essential matter of winning football matches.

It’s clear they need to improve their recent displays in Europe though.

Liverpool will face Napoli in their Champions League opener
Liverpool lifting the Champions League 2018 Trophy after winning against Tottenham Hotspur

Napoli are in the group stage for the sixth time – all in the last nine seasons – but have only reached the knockout stages twice in that time and have finished third in their section in the other three campaigns.

They have also only won four of their last 12 UEFA Champions League matches (drawn three, lost five) – all those victories coming at the Stadio San Paolo.

In fairness, last year they were up against big-spending Paris St Germain and Liverpool in a much tougher group than they should experience this season.

Arkadiusz Milik and Lorenzo Insigne, last year’s match winner in Naples against the Merseysiders,are not fully fit but Ancelotti can call upon Fernando Llorente, recently recruited from Spurs.

The Spaniard made his debut in their 2-0 victory over Sampdoria on Saturday night when Dries Mertens scored both goals, the second after an assist from substitute Llorente.

They welcome a Liverpool side who, under Jurgen Klopp, are in the form of their life.

They are the first team in the history of the English top flight to win 14 successive matches and score more than once in each win and are five points clear in the English Premier League after the first five matches of the season.

Not only are they in scintillating form but their front trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are at the top of their game- Mane in the Champions League has been particularly impressive, having registered 14 goals in 24 appearances to date.

Even at this stage of the season, they look a good bet to finally end their domestic title drought and have the confidence that being champions of Europe brings.

If Liverpool fans are looking for good omens, they may be pleased to know that German referee Felix Brych will take charge.

His record with Liverpool is three wins, a draw and just one defeat, most recently the 5-2 Champions League semi-final victory with Roma in April 2018.

 


 

 

Napoli have a rather worse history with Brych, winning once 4-2 with Benfica and losing the other two to Chelsea and Manchester City.

Whether you believe in omens or not, this should be an exciting night in Naples.

History

These teams have met four times over the past nine years – the only times they have faced each other competitively.

In the 2010 Europa League, the sides drew 0-0 in Naples before Liverpool won 3-1 at Anfield when captain Steven Gerrard scored a hat-trick in the last 15 minutes.

Then last season they met at this stage in the Champions League.

A late Insigne goal sealed a 1-0 home Napoli success.

It was the same score at Anfield in the rematch, a game which saw Liverpool qualify for the knockout stages at the expense of their opponents.

Betting Tip

??

Napoli vs Liverpool Napoli Asian Handicap 0.00 @ 2.26
September 18, 03:00 (GMT+8)

Liverpool go into the tie as favourites and you can back them 1X2 @ 2.31 with Napoli 1X2 @ 2.87. The draw, maybe a favoured prediction for many, is on offer @ 3.45.

The Asian Handicap betting odds favour Liverpool at a tempting -0.50 @ 2.31, given the Merseysiders’ form.

Napoli 0.00 @ 2.28 is another of the SBOBET Champions League betting odds with a clear appeal.

A repeat of the fixture in Naples last season – correct score Napoli 1-0 Liverpool – will payout @ 11.50.

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17-Sep 2019 Tuesday 12:40 PM (126 days ago)            #27
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Champions League: Spurs Start Off Against Greek Giants

Olympiacos vs Tottenham Hotspur

After coming so close to claiming European club football last season, Tottenham Hotspur are ready to start over again.

The runners-up to Liverpool in last year's Champions League final will kick off this year's campaign with a trip to Greece to face Olympiacos.

The Greek giants have made it back to the Champions League group stage after a one-year absence and will be desperate to end their winless run in the competition.

But the Champions League 2019 odds will be against them as they face a Spurs side that is eager to build some momentum after a somewhat rocky start to the season.

Talking Points

Olympiacos' strong start

Olympiacos have failed to win the Greek Super League in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1996. But they have gotten off to a great start in this year's campaign.

They've won their first three matches of the season without conceding a single goal. After winning their first two matches by a single goal (both penalties), they thrashed Volos NFC 5-0 at home in their most recent outing last weekend.

Two of their new free transfer signings -- Youssef El Arabi and Mathieu Valbuena -- were once again on the scoresheet. The two veterans have gotten their Olympiacos careers off to a great start. El Arabi already has four goals in six appearances, while Valbuena has three in nine.

The Greek giants also impressed in qualifying for the Champions League group stage. After defeating Viktoria Plzen 4-0 in the second qualifying round, they won both legs against İstanbul Başakşehir en route to a 3-0 aggregate win.

They then crushed Krasnodar 6-1 on aggregate, which included their second 4-0 home win of the qualifying stages.

Valbuena's presence will provide the Greeks some much-needed experience playing in the Champions League after his spells with Marseille and Lyon.

Meanwhile, the Olympiacos defence has been very impressive, conceding just once in their first nine matches in all competitions this season. But Spurs will be an entirely different level of competition compared to the ones they've faced to start the season.

Spurs still finding form

It's been a somewhat rocky start to the season for Tottenham. After their 3-1 win on the opening weekend of the season, they went winless in their next three matches.

Although they drew 2-2 at Man City, they were significantly outplayed. They then suffered a home defeat to Newcastle and surrendered a two-goal lead to Arsenal in the north London derby, which ended in a 2-2 draw.

However, they finally showed some promising signs that they are about to turn things around with their convincing 4-0 win over Crystal Palace over the weekend. Heung-Min Son opened his account for the season with a brace.

Champions League: Can Son Heung-Min help the Spurs win versus Olympiacos?
Son Heung-min celebrates with Erik Lamela after scoring their third goal against Crystal Palace

Harry Kane will be eager to make some Champions League 2019 highlights after having his mini scoring run snapped against Palace. The England skipper had scored in each of his last three outings for club and country, including four in two matches for England during the international break.

Midfielder Giovani Lo Celso will miss the next couple of months after picking up a hip injury. But fellow Tanguy Ndombele could be ready to return to the starting lineup after only coming on as a sub against Palace. Dele Alli could also be set to get his first start of the season after he played half an hour against Arsenal.

History

Olympiacos and Tottenham have met just twice all-time in European competition, which in the second round of the 1972-73 UEFA Cup. Tottenham won the first leg 4-0 and lost the second 1-0 to move on to the next round. Their most recent meeting came in a club friendly in 2009, which Tottenham also won, 3-0.

Olympiacos' have not won any of their last eight Champions League group stage matches, with their last win coming back in November 2015. That was their third win in four games as they looked set to make the knockout round for the first time since 2010. But they lost their last two matches to Bayern Munich and Arsenal and had to settle for a Europa League place.

And in their last trip to the group stage in 2017-18, they lost five of six matches and drew the other as they made a quick European exit.

Betting Tip

??

Olympiacos vs Tottenham Hotspur Tottenham Hotspur 1X2 @ 1.91
September 19, 00:55 (GMT+8)

SBOBET odds have Tottenham favoured at 1.90 on the 1X2 market, while Olympiacos are at 4.00 and a draw is at 3.40.

While Olympiacos' early-season winning run looks impressive, the calibre of their opponents is nowhere near the level of Spurs. Moreover, their squad doesn't seem to have the talent that can rise up another level.

Spurs should just have too much quality for the Greeks and get their Champions League campaign off to a winning start.

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17-Sep 2019 Tuesday 12:42 PM (126 days ago)            #28
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Champions League: Atleti Wants Revenge Over Juventus!

Atletico Madrid vs Juventus

We have a replay of the 2019 ‘tie of the tournament’ to look forward to, when Atletico Madrid meets Juventus in Wednesday’s Champions League opener.

Who will forget the drama in Turin when Cristiano Ronaldo overturned a two goal deficit to fire Juve into the quarter finals, at Atleti’s expense? Certainly not Diego Simeone that’s for sure! The Rojiblancos’ head coach has prided himself in his team’s ability to shut out the best strikers, so it must have pained him to see it capitulate when Ronaldo threw down the challenge.

There have been some changes in personnel at both clubs since that game, but the scars in Madrid are still visible and Simone’s men are out for revenge.

The pre-tournament Champions League 2019 betting odds pitch these two European giants as strong outside bets, with Manchester City again the favourite, and likely quarter-finalists. Neither will want to lose this tie.

Talking Points

Atleti’s Perfect Start ended

After winning their first three league games, all by the odd goal, Los Rojiblancos went down to a two goal defeat away to Real Sociedad at the weekend, and they can have no complaints. Sociedad had the better of the game, dominating possession and having five shots on target to Atleti’s two. Simeone will hope it’s a blip.

Joao Felix has arrived in Madrid as the eventual natural successor to the departed Antoine Griezmann. He’s made a bright start to his career in Madrid, but was hooked on 57 minutes against Sociedad, replaced by Angel Correa, and then the hosts scored their two goals in the following five minutes.

Juve’s Defensive Prowess

For so long Atletico Madrid has boasted the best defence in Europe, marshalled by the imperious Diego Godin, partnered by Jose Gimenez. Well Gimenez is still there, but with all respect to his latest partner Stefan Savic, opponent Juventus has a centre back pairing to rival the best.

Cristiano Ronaldo have scored in Juventus' win against Atletico Madrid last Champions League 2018
Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo playing against Fiorentina

Matthisj de Ligt and Juve legend, Leonardo Bonucci are putting together a defensive partnership to test the best strikers in Europe. De Ligt works alongside Virgil Van Dijk for the Netherlands, and he must be counting his lucky stars that he now partners one of the toughest defenders in domestic football at Juventus.

Having returned to the club Bonucci has been installed as captain, and he is the epitome of the granite defender Italian football has become famous for.

Sure, Ronaldo is as likely to dominate the Champions League 2019 news as anyone, but anyone who can breach the Juve defence deserves special mention.

Step up Joao Felix!

The early signs in Serie A are that the Old Lady may have a battle on her hands from Inter Milan. Antonio Conte has led the I Nerazurri to three successive wins at the top of the table and two points ahead of I Bianconeri as they dropped two points in a goalless draw away to Fiorentina on Saturday

Maurizio Sarri has a deep squad to call on, with players of the calibre of Federico Bernardeschi, Rodrigo Bentancur and Adrien Rabot vying for a place from the sidelines in the early part of the Serie A season.

History

In one of the 2018/2019 Champions League comebacks of the tournament, a second leg hat-trick by Ronaldo overturned a two goal deficit to see Juventus overcome Atleti in the most dramatic fashion imaginable. That took I Bianconeri through to the quarter finals and left Diego Simeone scratching his head. Ronaldo used his head to level the scores before slotting home a late penalty which sparked bedlam in Turin.

That was the Old Lady’s only victory over Los Rojiblancos is five attempts, while losing three and drawing one.

Atleti’s defeat to Sociedad ended a run of five consecutive wins for Simeone’s team while Juventus is unbeaten in four, and has four wins from the last six games.

But Los Rojiblancos are unbeaten in ten games at home.

Betting Tip

??

Atletico Madrid vs Juventus Atletico Madrid First Half Asian Handicap 0.00 @ 1.78
September 19, 03:00 (GMT+8)

Atleti is at 2.44 to win this first competitive meeting since last season’s epic clash; with I Bianconeri at 2.91 and the draw is available at SBOBET odds of 3.15. The hosts will take heart from their 2-0 win at the Wanda Metropolitano, and shut out of their minds the eventual outcome. And they did beat Juve in the International Champions Cup in August.

I think it will be a tight game and 2-3 goals at 1.93 could be a decent alternative bet, but I expect Simeone’s team to take the game to their visitors.

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17-Sep 2019 Tuesday 12:48 PM (126 days ago)            #29
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Champions League: All Roads Lead to Paris for Clash of the Heavyweights

Paris Saint-Germain vs Real Madrid

It is the heavyweight Champions League clash of the week and one which would grace the latter stages of the competition, let alone a Group A opener.

A match featuring plenty of talent ready to create the opening Champions League highlights of the new seasons.

While not all the stars will be on show at the Parc des Princes for a variety of reasons, it remains THE fixture in Europe this week.

Talking Points

In one corner you have the most successful club in Europe with 13 European Cup/Champions League titles, including three on the bounce until their reign was brutally ended by Ajax last spring.

That was a victory that seemed to mark the end of a generation, Real no longer able to conquer without Cristiano Ronaldo who at times had singlehandedly driven them to the 2018 final just months previously.

In the other corner, you have a club which has spent as much as any of Europe’s elite in recent times in a desperate attempt to win the trophy for the first time.

A club with a point to prove, with an outlay which has been vast yet has fallen short when it matters most, even throwing away a 2-0 advantage to bow out against an understrength Manchester United last season.

A club which is desperate to make an impression on the Champions League. Remember, the Parisians have failed to make it past the Round of 16 for the last three seasons after three straight quarter-final appearances.

While Zinedine Zidane returned to the Real role shortly after that Ajax defeat last March, he is now building a new team he hopes can emulate its predecessors.

Still one with stellar names such as Toni Kroos, French forward Karim Benzema and, for now anyway, Gareth Bale, but also blooding new faces expensively assembled this summer such as Chelsea favourite Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Eder Militao.

This match will certainly provide an opportunity for Los Blancos’ new signings to showcase their ability.

In contrast, Thomas Tuchel’s side will likely be without their attacking trident as Edinson Cavani has not recovered from an injury, nor Kylian Mbappe, while Neymar will not be able to feature due to the suspension he received for his ridiculous comments about the referee in last year’s last 16 elimination.

Neymar to miss Champions League clash against Real Madrid through suspension
Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar celebrates after scoring the game-winner against Strasbourg

Not that the histrionics of the Brazilian will be missed much, by opponents or his own team judging by the reception he received in his first start of the season at the weekend.

His determined but unsuccessful push to return to Barcelona this summer, which involved him even offering to pay 20m euros of his own money to force it through, has naturally gone down like a lead balloon.

So no Neymar, no longer Ronaldo, no Mbappe – no problem. A blockbuster still awaits.

History

When these two sides meet, Real Madrid win when it matters.

Granted, they have only met on five occasions in recent years but Real have firmly put the Parisians in their place.

They first met in the group stages of the 2015/16 competition when a goalless draw in Paris was followed by a 1-0 Real success in Madrid, courtesy of a Nacho Fernandez goal.

They would go onto win the competition.

Fast forward to 19 months ago and many felt PSG was best placed to end Real’s European domination.

They travelled to Madrid having spent big on the likes of Neymar and Mbappe and critics thought they looked on course when Adrien Rabiot put them in front.

Of course, then Cristiano Ronaldo and co showed them why they were European champions.

He netted twice and Marcelo the other in a 3-1 win before they completed a 5-2 aggregate success with a 2-1 victory in the Paris second leg – Ronaldo and Casemiro the men on target.

Paris have not beaten Madrid since George Weah scored the only goal at the Bernabéu in their UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final first leg in March 1994.

Betting Tip

??

Paris Saint-Germain vs Real Madrid Total Goals 2-3 @ 2.04
September 19, 03:00 (GMT+8)

The SBOBET Champions League betting odds favour the hosts this time, especially as Real appear to be a club in transition.

The hosts are priced 1X2 @ 2.19 with Real @ 3.00 and the draw @ 3.55

Asian Handicap odds also lean towards the Ligue One champions with PSG -0.50 @ 2.21 an attractive option, although so is Real 0.00 @ 2.42.

A re-run of their last meeting in Paris 18 months ago – correct score PSG 1-2 Real – is on offer @ 11.00. PSG have not kept a clean sheet in their past six Champions League home games.

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18-Sep 2019 Wednesday 6:56 PM (125 days ago)            #30
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Champions League: Penalty Agony for Chelsea

Chelsea 0-1 Valencia

A penalty miss in the closing minutes spoiled Frank Lampard’s first European game as Valencia picked up a surprise win at Stamford Bridge in this Champions League Group H opener.

Rodrigo’s goal on 74 minutes was enough to settle the tie, but only after Ross Barkley had missed a penalty with just three minutes remaining. It was the perfect tonic for Los Che’s new head coach Albert Celades, who has taken over the La Liga team at a torrid time.

The Valencia players are still refusing to speak to the media after the sacking of former boss Marcelino but they put in a classic smash and grab performance to come away from Stamford Bridge with all three points.

The Champions League 2019 betting tips aren’t about to change dramatically, with neither of these teams in the group of favourites, but Valencia have given themselves a good chance of navigating a tough group which also contains Ajax.

Meanwhile, the pick of the Champions League 2019 results elsewhere was a 6-2 win for Salzburg over Genk, while Napoli shocked champions Liverpool with two late goals in a 2-0 victory.

Highlights of the game

The first action of the game was not what Chelsea fans wanted to see. Young Mason Mount has been in inspirational form in his breakthrough season, but former Arsenal enforcer Francis Coquelin floored him with a wild challenge on just nine minutes.

Ross Barkley misses the opportunity to score crucial equaliser for Chelsea against Valencia in Champions League at Stamford Bridge
Referee Cuneyt Cakir checks the pitch side tv camera before awarding a penalty during the Champions League match between Chelsea and Valencia

Coquelin picked up a yellow card for his trouble, but Mount failed to recover and limped off to be replaced by Pedro.

Mount’s injury seemed to affect the hosts as they played at a low tempo for much of the first half. Los Che fired a warning shot when Rodrigo let fly from outside the box but his effort hit Kevin Gameiro as it headed towards goal.

Willian was Chelsea’s most creative player, and he embarked on a clever run through the Valencia defence before shooting just wide.

That sparked a Chelsea onslaught in the last five minutes of the half. First, Mateo Kovacic put in a brilliant cross to find Willian, who chested the ball down but fired over the bar.

Then Jorginho and Pedro both had shots blocked before the best effort of the half came on the stroke of half-time. It was Willian again who found space to fire in a fizzing shot which Jasper Cillessen saved well at his near post.

Valencia started the brighter in the second half and had a great chance to break the deadlock when a corner found Gameiro free and in space on the edge of the box, but he curled his effort over when he should have hit the target.

Chelsea gradually came back into the game with an effort from Marcos Alonso tipped round the post by Cillessen, and then Pedro had a shot blocked.

But the Blues’ progress was promptly halted on 74 minutes when Los Che went ahead with their best move of the night. Skipper Dani Parejo floated a delightful ball over the Chelsea defence and the unmarked Rodrigo collected the ball six yards out before finishing with a bouncing shot which left Kepa grasping at thin air.

Chelsea threw men forward in a desperate bid to level and the crowd howled when Fikayo Tomori’s header appeared to hit Daniel Wass on the arm. Then followed an agonising two minutes as the referee was instructed to consult VAR. And when he eventually pointed to the spot the home fans roared their approval.

But ecstasy turned to agony after Ross Barkley, who insisted he took the penalty, smashed it against the crossbar.

Key statistics

SBOBET football fans will know Chelsea boss Lampard captained the Blues to Champions League glory in 2012. And in his first Champions League match as head coach, he would have been pleased how his side finished a first half in which they won the shot count by nine to three with three to one on target.

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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

And while the second half followed a similar pattern, with six shots on target to two in favour of the Blues, the game turned on those two big moments as Rodrigo scored and Barkley missed.

What’s next?

Chelsea now have a huge Premier League game to look forward to when leaders Liverpool head to the Bridge. That will be a big test for the Blues as they search for a first home win of the season, but they can hope that the Reds are still shaking after their own disaster in Naples.

Valencia took a 5-2 thumping at the hands of Barcelona last weekend and they head back to the Mestalla where Leganes are the visitors. The Madrid minnows have held their own in La Liga over the past two seasons, but they have made a disastrous start this time and are rock bottom after four defeats.

 

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18-Sep 2019 Wednesday 6:58 PM (125 days ago)            #31
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Champions League: Napoli Leave It Late to Beat the Champions

Napoli 2-0 Liverpool

A passionate Stadio San Paolo is a perfect setting for Champions League nights.

The passion of the Partenopei in Naples is very special when at its finest, as is the atmosphere to which fans of European champions Liverpool create.

So this was always destined to be an exciting night between two evenly matched teams who edged each other 1-0 at home in their two respective group clashes last season.

Would it be as tight again?

Highlights of the game

The SBOBET Champions League betting odds favoured Liverpool but expected it to be close, and so it proved.

It was always unlikely to be a stalemate mind.



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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

Jose Callejón, Dries Mertens and captain Lorenzo Insigne all started for Napoli with exciting new signing Hirving Lozano also in the line-up as Carlo Ancelotti opted for an attacking 4-4-2.

Liverpool, meanwhile, were kicking off their defence of Europe’s premier competition -- against the team who came perilously close to ousting them from last season’s competition -- with a forward trio gaining wide acclaim in every passing week.

In fact, it’s hard to imagine now that Champions League news statistics show us Liverpool didn’t attempt a single shot on target in their 1-0 defeat here last season.

Sure enough, there was action on both ends from the first whistle. Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian producing a double save to deny Fabian Ruiz before Lozano nodded in from an offside position.

Then the highly-rated Kalidou Koulibaly produced two first-class tackles to sniff out danger from the visitors who saw Sadio Mane force Alex Meret into a save and Roberto Firmino fire over the crossbar.

Back up the other end and from a ball whipped in dangerously by Mertens, it required a desperate header from centre-back Joel Matip to stop Lozano nodding in the opener.

Liverpool were inches away from breaking the deadlock themselves just before the break as Mario Rui stopped Mo Salah as he was about to tap home before Firmino headed a matter of inches wide.

The entertainment continued straight after the restart at both ends.

Adrian got a hand to keep out Mertens' cushioned volley. Rui then did just enough to stop a two against one counter-attack in Liverpool’s favour and Menet produced a superb one-handed save to prevent Salah from scoring after a Kostas Manolas mistake.

The crucial and arguably questionable moment came eight minutes from time when Callejon was adjudged to have been fouled in the box by Liverpool full-back Andrew Robertson.

Referee Felix Brych pointed to the spot while the VAR chose not to intervene -- and that is a debate for another day -- and Mertens converted clinically, despite the best efforts of Adrian.

While it was clear to see why Brych awarded a penalty at full speed of play, it’s moments like this where the video assistant system needs to intervene. Liverpool, of course, benefited from a similarly poor decision in the opening minutes of last season’s final. However, two wrongs don’t make a right.

As time ticked, Liverpool had to threaten more in attack and a rare, sloppy error from centre-back Virgil van Dijk – recently voted the best player in last season’s UEFA Champions League – effectively settled the contest.

His back pass to Robertson in stoppage time was uncharacteristically poor and substitute Fernando Llorente -- also a late sub for Spurs in last season’s final defeat to Liverpool -- had a modicum of revenge as he slipped the ball past the onrushing Adrian.

It's a good start for Napoli in this year's Champions League after getting all the three points in their first match
Napoli players celebrate after defeating Liverpool in the Champions League at the San Paolo Stadium

San Paolo roared. In an even contest, their team had proved clinical when it mattered the most.

Napoli are up and running!

Key statistics

Napoli have scored eight penalty goals in the Champions League, with seven different goalscorers.

This was the first time the reigning Champions League winners have lost their opening game since AC Milan did so in 1994-95 against Ajax – who also went onto beat them in that season’s final.

The last Italian team to defeat the reigning European Champions in the group phase were Juventus against then holders Chelsea in 2012 (3-0).

Jurgen Klopp’s side have lost their last three matches in Italy, but have only been beaten in four of their last 10 away games against Italian clubs.

This was the first Champions League appearance of his career for Adrian, 32.

What’s next?

Napoli will resume Serie A action at the weekend on September 22 with a trip to newly-promoted Lecce before entertaining Cagliari next midweek.

For Liverpool, it’s a visit to Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday before taking on MK Dons in the League Cup next midweek.

 

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18-Sep 2019 Wednesday 7:00 PM (125 days ago)            #32
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Champions League: Dortmund Denied Win As Messi Makes Debut

Borussia Dortmund 0-0 Barcelona

Borussia Dortmund vs Barcelona had the potential to be one of the most entertaining matchups of Champions League Matchday 1. Both teams possess some amazing attacking talent and have been scoring for fun in their respective domestic leagues.

Unfortunately, there were no attacking fireworks on display as the two sides played out a 0-0 draw. Even the return of Lionel Messi couldn't provide the match with the clinical touch it desperately needed.

Dortmund were slight underdogs according to the Champions League 2019 betting odds, but they will likely be the more disappointed of the two teams after they created the better opportunities and failed to capitalise. Captain Marco Reus was the main culprit as he saw his second-half penalty saved.

Highlights of the game

The big Champions League 2019 news heading into the match was that Messi finally made his return to the Barcelona squad after missing the start of the season with a calf injury.

However, the Argentine only started on the bench as 16-year-old wunderkind Ansu Fati kept his place alongside Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez after some impressive performances.

Griezmann had the first significant sight on goal in the match as his shot was deflected just wide for a corner. And on the ensuing set play, Gerard Pique's glancing header flashed across the face of goal with no Barca player able to get a crucial touch.

Dortmund's first real chance came on 25 minutes, and it was a good one. Thorgan Hazard came in from the wing and supplied a delightful through ball to Marco Reus, whose shot was well-saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Reus and ter Stegen were former team-mates at Borussia Monchengladbach, and they would have another crucial face-off later on in the match.

The hosts then began a period of sustained pressure as they created a number of chances. Hummels came close with a header off a free-kick, while full-back Achraf Hakimi tried his luck with a left-footed shot that went wide.

Dortmund's attacking trio of Reus, Paco Alcacer, and Jadon Sancho then combined on 39 minutes, but Sancho disappointingly skied his shot way wide.

Sancho did make amends 10 minutes after the break as he won Dortmund a penalty. Barca full-back Nelson Semedo initially did well to contain Sancho's dribble, but he then caught the young Englishman's foot with his challenge.

Up stepped Reus to face ter Stegen, and it was the German goalkeeper who got the better of his old friend as he made a brilliant save going to his left.

After missing the start of the season, Lionel Messi starts on the bench in Barcelona's Champions League opener
Lionel Messi comes on the pitch to replace Ansu Fati during Barcelona's Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde finally brought on Lionel Messi for his season debut just before the hour mark. But even with the Argentine's arrival, Dortmund were still creating the better opportunities. Paco Alcacer had a great chance from point-blank range, but his shot ballooned well over the bar.

Dortmund brought on their own substitute in Julian Brandt on 73 minutes, and the young German very nearly broke the deadlock three minutes later. His stunning strike from distance had ter Stegen beaten all ends up, but it cannoned back off the bar.

Reus would have two more chances at beating ter Stegen from close range, but the Barca keeper would once again prevail.

ter Stegen made headlines recently after his verbal spat with Manuel Neuer about wanting more playing time for Germany, and this performance in his home country has certainly helped his case.

With stoppage time running down, the last chance of the game fell to Messi. But the Argentine talisman, who was far from his influential best after coming on, could not provide a magical late winner as Barca had to settle for a point.



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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

Key statistics

While Barcelona controlled much of possession during the match (59 per cent to 41), they did not do much with it. They created just seven shots, only one of which was on target.

On the other hand, Dortmund had 13 shots and four on target, but they couldn't put any of them away. Reus was responsible for nearly half of those shots (six) and all four on target, but he just didn't have the beating of his old friend ter Stegen on the night.

Meanwhile, Paco Alcacer's streak of scoring in nine consecutive matches for club and country has finally been snapped.

What's next?

After failing to find the back of the net against Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund will look to rediscover their scoring touch when they visit Eintracht Frankfurt on the weekend.

As for Barcelona, they will also be away from home to visit a surprising Granada side which has won back-to-back matches and has scored nine goals in four matches thus far this season.

As always, SBOBET will have complete odds for all those Bundesliga and La Liga matches.

 

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19-Sep 2019 Thursday 5:14 PM (124 days ago)            #33
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Champions League: Atleti Fight Back for a Big Point

Atletico Madrid 2-2 Juventus

Group D of the 2019/20 Champions League is underway and in the clash of the two big guns, Atletico and Juventus shared the points in a four-goal thriller in Madrid.

After a goalless first half, the match exploded into life in the second as Juve went two goals ahead before the hosts fought back to level it up in the 90th minute.

This game was the start of a revenge mission for the Rojiblancos after losing their round of 16 tie to Juventus in last season’s competition, having led 2-0 after the first leg. So to come back from a two-goal deficit in this game must have been sweet.

Highlights of the game

This was a game for SBOBET Champions League fans to look forward to, with both sides expected to progress to the latter stages. Roared on by a packed Wanda Metropolitano crowd, Atleti started at a furious pace and came close three times in the space of three minutes.

With 10 minutes gone, Diego Costa found Joao Felix in space in the centre of the box. The young Portuguese forward fired low towards the bottom right corner, but Juve keeper Wojciech Szczesny tipped it round the post.

From Koke’s corner, Jose Gimenez rose highest to meet the ball but headed inches over the bar. And then Szczesny made an outstanding save when Kieran Trippier crossed for Felix to head towards the top corner from close range.

The busy Juve keeper was on hand again on 16 minutes to deny Renan Lodi, whose shot was destined for the bottom corner.

Midway through the first half, Los Rojiblancos keeper Jan Oblak saw his first action as he comfortably saved a long-range effort from Cristiano Ronaldo.

Former Spurs star Trippier says he was persuaded to make the switch to La Liga by the defensive coaching prowess of Diego Simeone. But the wingback is also a handful going forward, and he sent in another good cross which Stefan Savic met, but his header was blocked.

I Bianconeri began to grow into the game and both Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic had shots from distance charged down. But the visitors struggled to carve out a clear-cut chance until Juan Quadrado crossed for Ronaldo, whose header was too close to Oblak.

Juan Cuadrado scores a first-half goal to give Juventus a 0-1 lead in Champions League game against Aletico
Juventus' Juan Cuadrado celebrates after hitting a 48th-minute goal against Atletico Madrid

Simeone will have been the more content manager at the break, but Maurizio Sarri was certainly the happier three minutes into the second half. Higuain found Quadrado with space and time in the centre of the box to fire an unstoppable shot into the top left corner.

It was harsh on the hosts, who had been the more ambitious in the first half, and they tried to hit back quickly. Trippier crossed for Gimenez but his header was blocked, and when the centre-back had a shot moments later, it flew narrowly past the top-right corner.

Juve delivered another hammer blow on 65 minutes when Alex Sandro crossed and Blaise Matuidi powered his header home. But the Rojiblancos were not beaten and halved the deficit five minutes later when their two centre-backs combined, with Gimenez flicking on a cross and Savic nodding home. Game on!

Koke tested Szczesny with a shot arrowed towards the bottom corner, and as the game began to get stretched, Oblak did well to save from Higuain after good work from Rodrigo Bentancur.

And with 90 minutes on the clock, Atleti grabbed the dramatic equaliser when Tripper swung in a corner and Hector Herrera directed his header into the bottom right corner to send the home fans wild.

Key statistics

The pre-match Atletico Madrid vs Juventus betting odds placed a draw at 3.15 and that was the fair result.

While Juventus had the lion’s share of possession, the hosts had more chances, winning the shot count by 19 to 11, with four to two on target.

Los Rojiblancos made it 11 games unbeaten at home with that last-gasp equaliser, while Juventus are unbeaten in five.

What’s next?

European football is back on 1st October when Atleti face Locomotiv Moscow and Juve host Bayer Leverkusen, and you can keep up with all the latest Champions League 2019 news right here at SBOBET.

In the meantime, it’s back to domestic matters. Los Rojiblancos sit in second place in La Liga, a point behind Sevilla, and they should put the leaders under more pressure on Saturday when they entertain 16th placed Celta Vigo back at the Wanda Metropolitano.



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Four points is a modest start for the visitors, but they have already faced Real Madrid, taken a point from Sevilla and beaten Valencia, so they will be no pushover.

I Bianconeri would have expected to beat Fiorentina last time out in Serie A, but they were held to a goalless draw and will hope to get back to winning ways when they entertain midtable Verona on Saturday.

 

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19-Sep 2019 Thursday 5:17 PM (124 days ago)            #34
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Champions League: Di Maria Propels PSG Past Real Madrid

PSG 3-0 Real Madrid

Even without the trio of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Edinson Cavani, PSG managed to score a convincing 3-0 win against the listless Real Madrid to get ahead in Group A of the Champions League.

Held at the Le Parc des Princes, the Parisians have put on a show in front of their home crowd while Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane looked distraught as he watched his squad succumb to defeat.

Angel Di Maria, a former Los Blancos forward, bagged home a brace and was clearly the best player of the match. Fellow teammate Thomas Meunier added a goal of his own during added time for good measure.

Consider PSG’s win as a stern warning for all of their competitors in the Champions League as they’re more than ready to take the crown away from Liverpool this time.

On the other hand, the loss gave Real Madrid more questions than answers as most of their fans had a field day on social media criticising Eden Hazard and Zinedine Zidane, and the pressure continues to pile on for these two prominent figures.

With that said, allow SBOBET to help you re-live some of the best Champions League 2019 highlights in this thrilling match.

Highlights of the game

Zinedine Zidane watched Real Madrid facing a hard fought challenge in the Champions League
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane reacts during the Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane continued his experiment by putting out an attack-heavy starting XI with Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard, and Gareth Bale on the frontline while they were missing a key cog in Sergio Ramos.

As for Thomas Tuchel and the Parisians, their attack featured the trio of Angel Di Maria, Mauro Icardi, and Pablo Sarabia in a similar 4-4-3 formation. Neymar was out due to a suspension for insulting league officials, while Cavani and Mbappe were out due to injuries.

There wasn’t anything much during the match’s first 12 minutes as both teams had their turns in trying to find their first goal of the evening. However, everything changed just when the clock ticked at the 13th minute.

After a nice chip on the left flank, Juan Bernat fielded in a lovely pass to a cutting Di Maria for a strong leftie goal that went past the hands of Thibaut Cortois.

Eden Hazard, who was underwhelming for the most part, tried to draw level after a long-range attempt just inside the box few minutes later, but the shot was too far wide?btag=656693_AB from the right.

It was Di Maria who torched Los Blancos’ porous defence again at the 33rd minute. The former Real forward found an open space at the top of the box and launched a left strike to put themselves up 2-0, leaving Neymar and Mbappe laughing with joy at the sidelines.

Gareth Bale, meanwhile, tried to put one in for Real via free kick but the shot went over the post at the 29th minute. Just ten minutes before the break, he volleyed in his first goal of the match. However, the referees waved it off since it was a handball after checking through the VAR.

The Welsh skipper was the bright spot for the Los Blancos team that looked discombobulated in this fixture.

To cap it all off, PSG full-back poured in the team’s third goal at the 91st minute after finding himself wide open after getting past multiple Los Blancos defenders. It was a fitting end to the match that was dominated by the home team.



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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

Key statistics

With the win, PSG managed to snap Real Madrid’s unbeaten opening game streak in the Champions League since 2006.

The Parisians had nine total shots with five of them on target, while Los Blancos had 10 with none of them on target. It was the first time for Los Blancos in 167 Champions League games that they failed to muster a shot on target.

PSG holds the edge in terms of their passes (619 passes made on 89-per cent accuracy) and possession (53-per cent).

Real Madrid’s Champions League 2019 odds of advancing to the next round took a hit with this loss against the Parisians. Los Blancos would have to win in their remaining games against Club Brugge and Galatsaray at the group stage in order to advance at the next round.

What’s next?

PSG will resume their Ligue 1 campaign against the likes of Lyon, Stade Reims, and Bordeaux all over next week. Their next Champions League fixture will be against Galatasaray on October 2nd.

After their previous fixtures against Villareal and Levante, Real Madrid will resume their undefeated La Liga campaign by facing the likes of Sevilla, Osasuna, and Atletico Madrid before clashing with Club Brugge on October in their second Champions League game.

 

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01-Oct 2019 Tuesday 5:05 PM (112 days ago)            #35
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Champions League: London Meets Bavaria in Potential Classic

Tottenham Hotspur vs Bayern Munich

Spurs must have dreamed of Champions League nights like these.

A new multi-million pound, state-of-the-art stadium hosting some of the world’s finest footballers is enough to get even the most reserved SBOBET football fan drooling.

While German champions Bayern Munich have hit the ground running this season and top the Bundesliga after the weekend action, Spurs have made an unconvincing start to the Premier League campaign and are currently 10 points off the pace.

However, as we all saw last season, there is nothing quite like a big European night to inspire Mauricio Pochettino’s side to create even more Champions League 2019 highlights.

 

Talking Points

Certainly, the Argentine coach will have been lifted by Saturday’s victory over Southampton, a result and spirited performance to bring him and his players some much-needed relief after winning just two of their previous nine top-flight matches -- a run stretching back to last season.

It also went some way toward dispersing storm clouds that had been gathering following back-to-back defeats: an embarrassing midweek League Cup exit to League Two Colchester following an unfortunate reversal at Leicester City.

Meanwhile, Bayern’s hard-fought 3-2 win at newly promoted Paderborn saw them take up a familiar place at the top of the Bundesliga standings and was further proof of their quality, even when not playing well.

Any side with the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Robert Lewandowski, Ivan Perisic, Manuel Neuer and Lucas Hernandez is a talented one.

Champions League: Robert Lewandowski is expected to lead Bayern Munich to win as they visit Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Robert Lewandowski celebrates after scoring against Paderborn

Indeed, Lewandowski has just become the first Bayern player to reach double figures after six matches and only the second after former Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored 10 times in eight successive matches to start the 2015/16 campaign.

As the German champions come to London, Spurs should not forget their own qualities which helped them reach last season’s Champions League final, seeing off the likes of Manchester City, Ajax and Bayern’s arch-rivals Dortmund along the way.

Although reportedly unsettled, Christian Eriksen remains a top performer and Harry Kane and Lucas Moura, underused according to many of the Spurs faithful, are quality players.

They complement the defensive expertise of Belgian duo Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, who is seemingly now back in favour after not being included in the early part of the campaign.

New signing Tanguy Ndombele has also settled well and showed another example of his all-around game with a goal against Southampton.

Perhaps what will please Pochettino most of all, though, is the character his troops showed in that game. Playing for more than an hour with 10 men, they refused to be beaten and held on for a 2-1 win.

Two of the greats of club football, one with an established European pedigree, the other with only a fleeting one but a match-up of genuine quality. Another entertaining night awaits in north London.

 

History

These sides have met just four times competitively in their history – and those four games were crammed into 15 months in the early 1980s.

In the 1982/83 European Cup Winners’ Cup, the two were paired together in only the second round and Steve Archibald netted for Spurs in a first leg 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane.

Bayern were far too strong in the second leg, however, emerging 4-1 winners (5-2 on aggregate).

The following season, little over 12 months later, they were drawn against each other in the third round of the UEFA Cup.

The Germans won the first leg 1-0 at home before Archibald and Mark Falco goals overturned the deficit in the second leg.

Spurs, famously, went onto win the tournament that season, defeating Anderlecht on penalties.

 

Betting Tip

??

Tottenham Hotspur vs Bayern Munich 1X2 Draw @ 3.65
October 2, 3:00 (GMT+8)

Our Champions League 2019 betting odds favour Bayern who are priced 1X2 @ 2.16 with Spurs 1X2 @ 2.99 and the draw @ 3.65.

I would imagine this will be fairly tight with not too many goals so how about under 2.75 goals @ 2.19, total goal 0-1 @ @ 4.70 or even total goal 2-3 @ 2.04?

An obvious bet for this clash would be to opt for a score draw, so how about a correct score of 1-1 @ 6.60?

I have a sneak for Spurs in this one but the odds Double Chance Spurs or Draw @ 1.64 don’t do it for me.

Bayern Munich -0.50 @ 2.16 with Asian Handicap odds does appeal and I was so tempted to plump for a home win with Asian Handicap betting Spurs +0.25 @ 2.03.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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01-Oct 2019 Tuesday 5:10 PM (112 days ago)            #36
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Champions League: Juve About To Take Charge

Juventus vs Bayer Leverkusen

When Bayer Levekusen heads to the Juventus Stadium on Tuesday night, the Bundesliga side will be under no illusion of the task which awaits it.

The first round of Champions League 2019 results didn’t go as planned for either of these two teams and both will be determined to get back on track.

But Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus is setting itself to take control of Champions League Group D, having drawn its opener, while Bayer is yet to get off the mark. To face the Old Lady in Turin can be daunting at the best of times, but when defeat means you will be anchored at the bottom of the group; then the stakes are higher.

 

Talking Points

Juve’s midfield power

Juventus’ attack, spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo and supported by Gonzalo Higuain or Paulo Dybala is admired throughout world football. And its defensive pairing of Leonardo Bonucci and Matthijs de Ligt is one of, if not the, best in Europe.

But Sarri also has a wealth of talent in the middle of the park, and he is favouring a diamond which can cut through opposing defences at will. After a 2-0 win over SPAL on Match Day Six, I Bianconeri sits in second place in Serie A, two points behind pacesetters Inter Milan. And new recruit Aaron Ramsay played just behind the strike duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala. The former Arsenal star is finding his feet in Serie A and he could be a big player in Europe too.

At the back of the diamond Miralem Pjanic too carries a serious threat. He was on target against SPAL and also last week in a narrow win against Brescia. With the gifted Rodrigo Bentancur in reserve Sarri has a strong hand in midfield.

Juventus was in control of its opening tie at 2-0, but Los Rojiblancos fought back to take a point.  And that will have annoyed Sarri to the core.

Champions League: Kevin Volland will be one of Bayer Leverkusen's attacking resource as they visit Juventus
Kevin Volland celebrates with Bayer Leverkusen after Lokomotiv Moscow scored an own goal

The Champions League 2019 betting market has the Old Lady in a clutch of teams, including Real Madrid, Liverpool and FC Bayern, behind the favourites Manchester City and Barcelona.

In the In the SBOBET football world we see I Bianconeri as a possible winner, and this is the type of game they will expect to navigate successfully.

Die Werkself’s attacking promise

Bayer too will be disappointed to have made a slow start to the 2019/20 Champions League campaign, losing to Lokomotiv Moscow having dominated the game from start to finish. 1-2 down at the break, the Bundesliga side pressed throughout the second half, finishing with 78 per cent possession and having 17 shots on goal, but the resolute Lokomotiv defence held out.

Leverkusen has made a solid start to its domestic campaign, fifth on 13 points and just a single point behind leaders FC Bayern. Last season Peter Bosz’s team won five of its last six games to qualify for the Champions League and he has plenty of attacking resource, with Kevin Volland, Kai Havertz and Leon Bailey all capable of stretching a defence.  Havertz and Volland were both on target in an impressive 0-3 away win at Augsburg yesterday, making it three for the season for Volland.

 

History

Die Werkself arrives in Turin with a modest record compared to its illustrious hosts, twice winners of Europe’s Premier competition.

Five times Bundesliga runners up and Champions League runners up in 2002, losing to Real Madrid, Bayer’s greatest moment was as winner of the UEFA Cup in 1988, beating Espanyol in a penalty shootout.

While Juve has won the Champions League twice, the most recent success was in 1996, and that’s far too long ago for Italy’s biggest team.

They come into the match in good form, unbeaten in eight games and six at home, winning the last three at the Juventus Stadium.

But Bayer arrives with back to back wins in the Bundesliga and they won’t roll over.

 

Betting tip

??

Juventus vs Bayer Leverkusen Juventus First Half Asian Handicap -0.50 @ 2.04
October 2, 3:00 (GMT+8)

When you look at the riches in Juventus’ squad then a home win at 1.46 looks very likely, with the draw at 4.20 and 6.80 for a surprise Leverkusen victory.

Die Werkself has firepower sure enough, but not enough to break down Locomotiv, and I think Bonucci and De Ligt will present an even stiffer challenge. For Bosz’ team to convert promise into goals they will need the night of their lives. But I think they will have to come from behind and that will give them a mountain to climb.

1-0 at 6.60 is the most likely result, but I favour 2-0 at 7.00, a goal in each half.

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01-Oct 2019 Tuesday 5:13 PM (112 days ago)            #37
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Champions League: Resurgent Real Welcome Club Brugge to the Bernabeu

Real Madrid vs Club Brugge

The last time Real Madrid were in action in the Champions League, they were thumped 3-0 by a Paris Saint-Germain side that was missing its biggest stars.

However, Zinedine Zidane's men have finally started to turn things around since that humiliating performance against PSG, particularly in defence.

The Spanish giants will have their sights set on keeping their promising unbeaten run alive as they host Club Brugge to the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Belgians picked up a point in their opening group match against Galatasaray. But the Champions League 2019 betting odds will be stacked against them against Real, which is why they will be elated if they can pick up another point in their trip to the Spanish capital.

 


 

 

Talking Points

Real returning to form

Real Madrid have responded quite well to that 3-0 defeat to PSG a few weeks ago. They came back to win back-to-back games in La Liga against high-flying Sevilla away (1-0) and Osasuna (2-0) at home.

They are still at the top of the La Liga table after a 0-0 draw against Atletico in the Madrid derby. Despite failing to score, Real manager Zinedine Zidane should be encouraged that his side put up another clean sheet, their third in a row.

They kept the Atletico attack under wraps, so much so that keeper Thibaut Courtois had barely anything to do in the entire match.

Real captain Sergio Ramos was a huge reason for Real's success against Atleti. And the good news for Real is that their skipper has finally served his two-match Champions League ban and will be ready to make his return to the competition against Brugge.

Meanwhile, reigning Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric could also make his way back to the starting XI. The Croatian midfielder, who had the past three weeks due to a groin injury, was included in the squad against Atleti and played 22 minutes after coming on as a substitute.

In attack, though, Eden Hazard remains far from his best. The Belgian was unable to create any sort of spark against Atletico as he continues to work his way back into full match sharpness. But perhaps this matchup against relatively inferior competition can help the Belgian get back to his best.

Champions League: hazard is still struggling at Real Madrid
Eden Hazard reacts after failing to score during the match between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain at Parc des Princes

And even if Hazard continues to struggle to create Champions League 2019 highlights, Real should have more than enough attacking talent with the likes of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Vinicius Jr. and James Rodriguez to get the job done against Brugge.

Brugge still unbeaten

Club Brugge have continued their fine start to the season. They are currently top of the Belgian league with six wins and two draws in their first eight matches and have scored 21 goals while conceding just three.

Brugge have conceded just one goal in their last five matches in all competitions and are coming off a dominant 5-0 win over Mechelen. Krepin Diatta, Brugge's 20-year-old forward, has been in terrific form of late, scoring four goals in his last four matches.

Brugge have also been quite competitive in European competition. With their draw against Galatasaray, they are now undefeated in their last five group stage matches (one win, four draws) and have kept clean sheets in four of those contests.

And including qualifying for this year's tournament, they have gone unbeaten in their last nine in the Champions League (four wins, five draws).

Obviously, though, Real Madrid will be a major step up in competition for the Belgian leaders, especially as they visit the Bernabeu.

 

History

Club Brugge and Real Madrid have met just twice in European competition, and surprisingly, it was the Belgians who came out on top.

Those only two meetings came in the 1976-77 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round. After a goalless first leg in Spain, Brugge went through thanks to a 2-0 home win.

Real will head to the match having lost three of their last four Champions League matches -- including their last two at home. They lost 3-0 at home to CSKA Moscow in their final group game last season and were also hammered 4-1 at home against Ajax in the knockout round.

 

Betting Tip

??

Real Madrid vs Club Brugge Under 3.50 Goals @ 1.96
October 02, 00:55 (GMT+8)

SBOBET odds have Real Madrid as huge 1.27 favourites to claim all three points against Club Brugges, who are priced at 9.00 to score a massive upset.

Clearly, it would be a major shock if Real don't win this match, and they most likely won't. But with the odds set as they are, there's not much upside in the 1X2 market.

But there is value in the over unders, particularly the under. Real haven't been nearly as dominant in attack considering all the talent they have at their disposal.

And while Brugge will struggle to score themselves against an improving Real defence, their own competent backline could make things difficult for Los Blancos, which will likely result in a relatively low-scoring affair.

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01-Oct 2019 Tuesday 5:15 PM (112 days ago)            #38
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Champions League: Liverpool Fighting on Two Fronts

Liverpool vs Red Bull Salzburg

It’s all going swimmingly in the Premier League for Liverpool; top by five points, but now they must turn their attention to Champions League matters when Red Bull Salzburg heads to Anfield on Wednesday.

This is shaping up to be another monumental season, SBOBET football fans!

While the Reds have pulled ahead of Manchester City at the start of the domestic season, they have already had a jolt in Europe, and now meet Red Bull Salzburg, who made a flying start to their Champions League campaign and sit proudly at the top of Group E.

US-born coach Jesse Marsch has Die Mozartstadter playing without fear, having won their domestic title over the past six seasons, and the Austrians will embrace their opportunity under the floodlights at Anfield.

 

Talking Points

Premier League or Champions League?

As six times winners of the Champions League and reigning champions, Liverpool’s European record is of legendary status. Only Real Madrid and Milan have won more, while no-one in England comes close.

But Liverpool have never lifted the Premier League trophy, last winning the top flight in 1990 before the new league took shape. And that is a burning irritation that will get worse on Merseyside for every year they have to wait.

 


 

This is the best Liverpool side in three decades, but the problem is that it is up against Manchester City season after season, and the Sky Blues have more depth in their squad.

The Reds had a tough examination in the Premier League against Sheffield United on Saturday and needed a slice of luck to win after the Blades keeper Dean Henderson let a shot slip through his legs.

Sadio Mane was uncharacteristically wasteful in front of goal at Bramall Lane but the Reds nevertheless got over the line against the newcomers to make it seven wins from seven and a club record of 16 consecutive victories.

The reigning champions made a losing start in this European campaign though, going down by two goals away to Napoli, and that raised questions around where Liverpool’s priorities lie this term.

But the Champions League 2019 betting odds have the Merseysiders as a semi-final prospect at least, and there’s no way Klopp wants to surrender his side’s European crown without a fight. He needs to juggle his squad carefully and avoid injuries to his key men.

Red Bull’s Erling has Wings!

Liverpool have a wonderful front line of Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah, but the Austrians sure know how to find the net!

A 6-2 win over Genk was beyond Red Bull’s wildest dreams in their opener. It was one of the Champions League 2019 results of the round as 19-year-old striker Erling Haaland announced himself onto the European stage.

The young Norwegian hit a stunning first-half hat-trick in the mauling of Genk and is joint top scorer in the competition. The Austrian champions also had Hwang Hee-chan, Dominik Szoboszlai and Andreas Ulmer on target, but it was Haaland who rightly stole the headlines.

Erling Haaland scored a hat-trick in the Champions League
Erling Haaland earns himself a match ball after scoring a hat-trick against Genk in the Champions League

The son of former Manchester City star Alf-Inge Haaland has already scored 14 domestic goals and is sure to be a real handful on Wednesday night.

 

History

This is the first meeting between the European champions and the Austrian champions so we’re going to have to rely on recent form.

Of course, Klopp’s Reds have made a perfect start to their Premier League campaign, winning seven from seven, but Salzburg are unbeaten in 10 matches, and 10 away from home.

Red Bull are 13 times winners of the Austrian Bundesliga, winning the last six in a row. They also have a decent record in the Champions League, winning 24, drawing 15 and losing 17 matches in the competition.

But this is sure to be their biggest test so far.

 

Betting Tip

??

Liverpool vs Red Bull Salzburg Half Time Full Time - Home Home @ 1.74
October 03, 03:00 (GMT+8)

Liverpool are at 1.30 to win this tie, with the draw at 5.60 and Red Bull at 8.50 to spring a major surprise. But while the visitors arrive on the crest of a wave and clearly have a sharp cutting edge, getting past Virgil Van Dijk is a different prospect to the Genk rearguard.

And in a very competitive Liverpool front line, Mane will want to make amends for his misses on Saturday, while Klopp will ensure his team is set up to avoid another slip-up in the Champions League.

I expect the Reds to come out all guns blazing and to take hold of this tie by half-time.

3-1 is the most likely scoreline at 8.50 and that looks about right to me.

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01-Oct 2019 Tuesday 5:18 PM (112 days ago)            #39
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Champions League: City Collide with Upstart Croatian Champions

Manchester City vs Dinamo Zagreb

Manchester City are surprisingly not top of their Champions League group through one game. The English champions currently are second to Dinamo Zagreb, who are on top via goal difference after they produced one of the biggest surprises of Matchday 1 with their 4-0 win over Atalanta.

The Citizens will have their chance to take command of Group C as they welcome the Croatian upstarts to the Etihad Stadium.

The Champions League 2019 betting odds don't give Dinamo much of a chance to pull off an upset. But as they showed against Atalanta, it would be foolish to underestimate their abilities.

 

Talking Points

City continue dominance

Manchester City's shocking defeat to Norwich seems so long ago now. Since that unexpected setback, City have been on a sensational run.

It began with their comfortable 3-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in their Champions League opener. They then walloped Watford 8-0 at home. And after dealing with Preston in the Carabao Cup, they took care of Everton 3-1 over the weekend.

It's a testament to City's excellence that they've conceded just one goal in those four matches despite being without top centre-backs Aymeric Laporte and John Stones.

Fernandinho has stepped into the centre of that defence and has done a creditable job deputising alongside Nicolas Otamendi.

Meanwhile, the attack remains close to unstoppable. City have scored at least two goals in each of their nine matches thus far this season and at least three in seven of them.

Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling have both scored in each of the last two games. Bernardo Silva bagged a hat-trick in the win over Watford. Kevin De Bruyne has been running the show and has a goal and four assists in his last three games. And Sergio Aguero is still banging in the goals; he already has eight to his name this season.

Champions League: Raheem Sterling managed to score in each of Manchester City's last two games
Raheem Sterling celebrates with Manchester City after scoring their third goal against Everton

Even Riyad Mahrez is hitting his best form. The Algerian winger has three goals and two assists in his last three starts.

With so many attacking options at their disposal, it's just hard to imagine City being unable to get on the scoresheet, especially at home.

Dinamo Zagreb in fine form

Dinamo Zagreb's 4-0 dismantling of Atalanta was without a doubt one of the biggest surprises of the opening round of fixtures. They completely caught the Italian side off-guard as they made a number of Champions League 2019 highlights en route to their convincing victory.

Mislav Orsic had the game of his life as he recorded a famous hat-trick. Spain Under-21 international Dani Olmo was also one of their standout performers. But it was a complete team effort which saw them run Atalanta out of the park.

Dinamo did suffer a bit of a hangover as they immediately lost 1-0 to Varazdin in their domestic league. But they have since recovered with back-to-back away victories against Karlovac (7-0) in the cup and Lokomotiva Zagreb (4-0) in the league. Orsic continued his fine form as he scored a goal in both games.

Based on their performance against Atalanta, it wouldn't be too much of a surprise if Dinamo decide to try and play with City. And if they do, they could cause their hosts some problems. While City have conceded just once in their last four games, their defence has looked vulnerable of late.

 

History

City's meeting with Dinamo will be their first ever against a Croatian side. They will head into the match in free-scoring form in the Champions League. They've scored 17 goals in their last five matches in the competition and 19 in their last four at home.

As for Dinamo, they have won just once against English opposition in UEFA competition. That lone victory came at home against Arsenal back in 2015/16.

They have had no such luck in England, though. They're winless in their six trips to England, losing five of those meetings.

 

Betting Tip

??

Manchester City vs Dinamo Zagreb Manchester City First Half Asian Handicap -1.25 @ 1.98
October 2, 03:00 (GMT+8)

While Dinamo's big win over Atalanta was impressive, it would pale in comparison if they got all three points against City. SBOBET odds have them priced at an astronomical 18.50 to win at the Etihad, with City overwhelming 1.075 favourites.

Clearly, there's no value to be had on the 1X2 market. Instead, look to the First Half Asian Handicap to turn a handsome profit.

With the form City are in at the moment, I foresee them building up a big lead on Dinamo within the first 45 minutes. They're unlikely to score five goals in the first 18 minutes like they did against Watford, but they should still be able to clear the -1.25 handicap.

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01-Oct 2019 Tuesday 5:21 PM (112 days ago)            #40
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Champions League: This Red Bull Clash Could Be A Licence To Thrill

RB Leipzig vs Olympique Lyonnais

Meetings between German and French teams have traditionally been exciting to watch.

Throw in the atmosphere of a Champions League night under the Red Bull Arena lights and we could be in for a treat.

Never mind that neither of these sides are among the favourites to contest the latter stages of the tournament – not according to the SBOBET Champions League betting odds.

There are plenty of reasons to be excited about this contest featuring some of Europe’s highly rated up and coming talent.

 

Talking Points

It’s no secret the Red Bulls have done well since the arrival of coach Julian Nagelsmann at the helm. The attacking trio of Marcel Sabitzer, Timo Werner, and Yussuf Poulsen have been instrumental to their strong start of the season.

Indeed, they’ve accounted for eight out of their 14 goals for this term and their chemistry is getting better as they go along.

That was until FC Schalke came to town in the Bundesliga at the weekend and recorded a 3-1 success to knock them off the top of the standings.

Perhaps Leipzig had half an eye on the visit of Lyon. Perhaps Lyon had one eye on this contest too – they went down 1-0 to home to surprise high-flyers Nantes in Lique One.

 


 

 

Either way, both sides will be keen to return to winning ways and produce Champions League highlights.

Leipzig already have an advantage over their opponents in Group G.

That’s after two goals from Werner secured them an impressive win at Portuguese champions Benfica in their group opener.

Indeed, with Sabitzer acting primarily as the main playmaker, Nagelsmann has unlocked another dimension to his game with the likes of Werner and Poulsen freely roaming into the box for goals.

Werner has five goals in six career Champions League appearances, three more than any other player for Leipzig. Some pundits even say that if he constantly hits his potential, Leipzig may mount a serious title challenge back home.

Saturday aside, the Red Bulls’ defence also looks stronger after conceding only 29 goals last season.

Lyon are not in fine form, it must be said.

Third place in Lique One last season, they began the new campaign in scintillating style with 3-0 and 6-0 victories over Monaco and Angers respectively.

They have since gone seven without victory in all competitions - the club’s longest such run since an eight-game streak in 1996 and one which has left them in 11th place in the league.

Yet, there’s no denying they have their own attacking talent to watch out for.

Moussa Dembele has scored six goals and is currently the joint-top scorer in the league.

Meanwhile, strike partner Memphis Depay, who netted in their opening Champions League group game at home to Zenit St Petersburg a fortnight ago, is an exciting match winner on his day.

Memphis Depay scored an equaliser in Olympique Lyonnais' Champions League opener against Benfica
Memphis Depay in action during Olympique Lyonnais' match against Nantes

The club also has experience of winning on some big European nights so a visit to Germany will certainly not faze them.

With sharp-shooters on show, sit back and enjoy this clash – it may not be one of the stand-out fixtures of the week but chances are it will be one of the most entertaining.

 

History

This is the first meeting between the clubs. It is only Leipzig’s fifth game against a French club. Their largest continental win to date came away at Monaco in November 2017 (4-1).

Lyon, in contrast, are in the same Champions League section as a German club for the second year in a row.This is their 16th Champions League group campaign – four more than any other French club – and fourth in five seasons.

The French club have lost only two of their last nine European away fixtures (won four, drawn three).

Nagelsmann faced Lyon twice last season while in charge of Hoffenheim, drawing 3-3 in France before a 2-2 draw at home.

Lyon have lost four of their last eight matches against Bundesliga opposition (won one, drawn three) and are without a win in four visits to Germany (drawn twice, lost twice).

 

Betting Tip

??

RB Leipzig vs Olympique Lyonnais Total Goal 4-6 @ 2.61
October 3, 03:00 (GMT+8)

The hosts are firm favourite with our odds.

You can back them 1X2 @ 1.63 whereas Lyon are priced well adrift @ 4.90. The draw is available @ 3.95.

With Asian Handicap odds, RB Leipzig are -0.75 @ 1.81 and -1.00 @ 2.09, with Lyon +1.00 @ 1.84 and +0.50 @ 2.42.

If you fancy the French club to put their disappointing domestic form behind them, how about Double Chance Lyon or Draw @ 2.18.

For two attacking-minded teams, it should not come as a surprise that goals are expected – total goal - 2-3 @ 2.07 and total goal 4-6 @ 2.61.

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03-Oct 2019 Thursday 6:12 PM (110 days ago)            #41
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Champions League: Conte’s Inter Dream of Camp Nou Conquest

Barcelona vs Inter Milan

Two of the biggest names in European football collide once again in the Champions League as Barcelona host Inter Milan at the Camp Nou.

The Blaugrana -- who are once again one of the favourites to win the competition according to the Champions League 2019 odds -- have not had the best start to the season, in large part due to the absence of Lionel Messi.

But the Argentine talisman is back in training and could potentially feature against Inter following a slight groin problem.

As for Inter, they are riding high atop Serie A thanks to the leadership of new manager Antonio Conte. However, they disappointed in their Champions League opener against Slavia Prague and will be desperate to avoid a repeat at the Camp Nou, where they have struggled over the years.

 

Talking Points

Barca still not at their best

The good news for Barcelona is that they will head into this big match against Inter having won back-to-back games for the first time this season. After edging out Villarreal 2-1 at home, they defeated Getafe 2-0 away on the weekend.

But the bad news is that their performances have remained unconvincing. They were outshot 11-8 by Villarreal at home and just barely outshot Getafe, 10-9. They were also fortunate to come away with a draw against Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League opener.

Antoine Griezmann scored in the win over Villarreal, but he has not had much of an impact while playing out wide for most of the season.

The big Champions League 2019 news ahead of the match is that Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele are both back in training and could potentially make their return against Inter.

However, Messi hasn't look anywhere near his best in the three halves he's played since returning from a calf problem. It seems unlikely that after returning from another injury issue, he will suddenly get back to his usual brilliant form.

Barcelona welcome Inter Milan at Camp Nou for the Matchday 2 of the Champions League group stage
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi joins Barcelona training ahead of Inter Milan clash at Camp Nou

That means the likes of Griezmann and Luis Suarez will need to be the ones to break down an Inter defence that has been outstanding during the early part of the season.

Inter in impeccable form

Inter Milan just can't stop winning in Serie A at the moment. Their 3-1 win at Sampdoria over the weekend was their sixth in six matches as they remain ahead of Juventus in the standings.

Alexis Sanchez -- on loan from Manchester United -- finally made his first Inter start, and much like Inter's other new signings, he made an immediate impact.

A deflection off his back led to Inter's opener, while he also scored a goal of his own a couple of minutes later. Unfortunately, though, his dream debut was spoiled as he was sent off for diving.

It seems unlikely that Sanchez will start against his old side, though, with Conte likely to go back to Romelu Lukaku partnering Lautaro Martinez up front. But after his impressive debut, Sanchez has shown he will be a nice weapon to have as a substitute.

 


 

Amid the arrivals of Lukaku, Sanchez, and Nicolo Barella, it's been Stefano Sensi who has arguably been Inter's most impressive player thus far this season. The 24-year-old midfielder had another goal and an assist against Sampdoria and now has three goals and two assists on the season.

The Inter midfield has been a big reason for their early success this season, and they will be crucial in containing Barcelona's talented, albeit underachieving, attack.

 

History

Barcelona and Inter have met eight times in total, with two meetings coming the last year's group stage. Barca won at home 2-0 while the two drew 1-1 at the San Siro.

The Catalans continued their flawless record at the Camp Nou against Inter. They have won all four of their home matches against the Italians, with eight goals scored and none conceded. Inter have won just once, with three draws.

Barca also have a brilliant home record in general in this competition. They are currently on a record 32-game unbeaten run in Champions League home games (29 wins, three draws), and have won 10 of their last 11 with 33 goals scored.

 

Betting Tip

??

Barcelona vs Inter Milan Inter Milan Asian Handicap +0.75 @ 2.20
October 03, 03:00 (GMT+8)

Despite Messi's uncertain status and Inter's impressive start, SBOBET odds somewhat surprisingly have Barca as 1.57 favourites with the Italians priced at 5.60. Perhaps Barca's remarkable home record and their great history against Inter had something to do with those odds.

Either way, there's value to be had with Inter. While their performance against Slavia Prague was concerning, it's hard to see Conte making the same mistakes again.

That's why I'm going with the Italians on the Asian Handicap market and taking the +0.75 handicap. You'd win with a draw or an Inter win, and even if they lose by a single goal, you'd still only lose just half of your potential payout. That's why it's a bet worth making.

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03-Oct 2019 Thursday 6:15 PM (110 days ago)            #42
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Champions League: Late Comeback Gets Real Out of Jail

Real Madrid 2-2 Club Brugge

Real Madrid were was within five minutes of a stunning home defeat to Brugge tonight, until Casemiro scored a dramatic late leveller.

It’s a result which leaves Los Blancos at the foot of Champions League Group A on a single point, but it could have been a lot worse after a brace by Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis gave the Belgians a 2-0 half-time lead.

Los Blancos have turned their form around since their disastrous opening to their Champions League campaign in Paris, climbing to the top of La Liga, but they came mighty close to another setback tonight.

Real Madrid should still qualify for the knockout stages and our SBOBET tips team will watch Zinedine Zidane’s side closely, but on this evidence, a tournament win looks doubtful.

 

Highlights of the game

Brugge warmed up with a 0-5 victory away to Mechelen, which put them top of the Belgium 1st Division, a point ahead of Standard Liege and with a game in hand. And they came to Madrid without fear, starting this game with a bang and going ahead in just the ninth minute.

Los Blancos top scorer Karim Benzema had already planted a header narrowly wide when the visitors struck. Percy Tau teed up Emmanuel Bonaventure, and he shot low and hard into the net. He looked for all the world to be offside, but after a VAR review the goal stood and the underdogs celebrated.

Take a look at the Champions League 2019 highlights make up your own mind!

Real fought back in search of a speedy equaliser. Eden Hazard crossed for Raphael Varane but his shot was charged down. Luka Modric also came close with a shot and Varane was off target when he met a Toni Kroos corner.

Emmanuel Bonaventure scored a brace as Club Brugge lead in the first of Champions League
Club Brugge's goalkeeper Simon Mignolet go for the ball during the Champions League match between Real Madrid and Club Brugge

As the pressure increased, the Belgian defence got in a good block to stop Benzema when he met a Casemiro cross with a powerful header. Varane had another effort saved and then Brugge keeper Simon Mignolet made another stop from a long-range Casemiro shot.

Kroos came close again and Lucas Vazquez had two attempts thwarted; then the unbelievable happened when Brugge doubled their lead.

Brugge's 20-year-old striker Kreppin Diatta, who had scored four goals in his last four games and has an electric turn of pace, turned provider in the 39th minute as the visitors stunned the hosts and the home crowd. He found Bonaventure in space, and this time the striker smashed the ball into the roof of the net.

ZZ responded to the first-half shock by swapping his keeper at the break, taking off Thibaut Courtois and bringing on Alphonse Areola. It wasn’t clear whether Courtois had taken a knock, but I’m sure the Real boss hoped his replacement wouldn’t be a big player in the second half.

Los Blancos came out on the attack again and began to stretch the Brugge stopper. Mignolet made a fine save to deny Eden Hazard in the bottom right corner, and then Casemiro had an effort saved.

Los Blancos' pressure was eventually rewarded on 55 minutes when Sergio Ramos met a corner and headed low into the net. The Real skipper looked offside but, again, VAR didn’t intervene. That evened it up I guess!

The hosts piled on the pressure and Hazard came very close with a shot from outside the penalty area. Modric also let one fly, but it sailed just past the top right corner of Mignolet’s net.

As the clock ticked down, Brugge flew into the tackles to protect their lead. With 77 minutes on the clock, Lois Openda picked up a yellow card for a foul on Modric, and a minute later Ruud Vormer was booked for a nasty challenge on Hazard.

Brandon Mechele had a chance to give Brugge breathing space when he met a Vormer corner but his header flew past the right post. But that was Vormer’s last positive contribution as his evening took a turn for the worse.

He picked up his second yellow card for a foul on Vinicius Junior, and from the resulting dead-ball kick, Casemiro headed home to lift the roof off the Bernabeu!



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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

 

Key statistics

Few pre-match Real Madrid vs Club Brugge betting tips will have dared to predict a two-goal lead for the underdogs at half-time.

With almost 70 per cent possession and a shot count of 12 to three, Los Blancos pretty much dominated the first half. But all of Brugge’s three shots were on target and two ended up in the net.

The shot count ended up a 27 to seven, and Los Blancos had 14 corners to Brugge’s one, but it took a late equaliser for Los Blancos to avoid three consecutive Champions League losses for the first time ever.

Even so, Brugge are now unbeaten in nine matches.

 

What’s next?

A 0-0 draw with Atletico was enough to see Los Blancos take their place at the top of La Liga and next they face Granada at the Bernabeu. The new boys have made an unbelievable start to the campaign and will be primed for this clash between the top two.

Meanwhile, Brugge are at home to KAA Gent in the Belgian First Division and that will be a good test; the visitors have taken 13 points from the last five and are in third place.

 

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03-Oct 2019 Thursday 6:19 PM (110 days ago)            #43
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Champions League: Gnabry the Unlikely Hero as Bayern Force Spurs Humiliation

Tottenham Hotspur 2-7 Bayern Munich

There are some results which can leave an observer speechless.

This was one such occasion. A night where one team was so flawless it capitalised on virtually every opportunity, virtually every opposition mistake.

No-one could have possibly predicted what was to follow in what pre-match had all the hallmarks of a Champions League classic.

For this was the first time in 36 years that Spurs and German giants Bayern Munich had met in a competitive fixture and, with both vying for top spot in Group B, it was a contest that was eagerly anticipated.

Yes, the two teams met in pre-season when Spurs came out on top in a penalty shootout after drawing 2-2 in the Audi Cup Final, but that was no more than a glorified friendly.

This was the real deal.

 

Highlights of the game

The SBOBET Champions League 2019 betting odds had Bayern as favourites.

After all, Bayern were top the Bundesliga and are unbeaten after their first six league games this season. They also saw off Serbian champions Red Star Belgrade 3-0 in a dominant display in Munich in their first group match a fortnight ago, even if it took them a while to break their spirited resistance.

Spurs, meanwhile, were pegged back by Olympiakos in Greece in their opener. Last year's Champions League runners-up have also won just three of their Premier League matches so far and are struggling for form.

Yet Spurs just love the big occasions, as they proved so many times last season – including a comprehensive home victory over the second-best team in Germany, Borussia Dortmund.

The main team news saw Dele Alli replace Christian Eriksen for Spurs, while boss Mauricio Pochettino again left Lucas Moura on the bench, although the Brazilian seems happy enough at the club after recently signing an extension to his contract.

Tottenham's 2-7 loss to Bayern is the biggest margin of defeat for an English team at home in the Champions League
Tottenham Hostpur players look dejected after Bayern Munich net their fifth goal during their Champions League match

Bayern, meanwhile, named Ivan Perisic and Javi Martinez among their substitutes, although Lucas Hernandez was ruled out with injury.

After a day in which North London had taken a real soaking, a slick surface was bound to make life tough for goalkeepers. But Hugo Lloris and Manuel Neuer could not be blamed for the frantic start which saw both of them beaten inside the opening 15 minutes.

Lloris had denied former Arsenal man Serge Gnabry and Neuer parried the ball from Son Heung-Min before the South Korean opened the scoring in the 12th minute.

Moussa Sissoko played Son in, and he smashed the ball confidently beyond a goalkeeper he faced when playing for former clubs Bayer Leverkusen and Hamburg.

Yet Bayern aren’t German champions without good reason and were level within three minutes.

Joshua Kimmich controlled the ball on the edge of the box and hammered it into the far bottom corner for an outstanding leveller.

An electrifying start and Champions League 2019 highlights from both sides inside the opening quarter of an hour.

Spurs kept pressing, and on a milestone night for a defender who is still only 27, David Alaba kept out Harry Kane after he rounded Neuer before the keeper stopped Son and pulled off an even better save to deny Tanguy Ndombele.

On-loan man Philippe Coutinho grew into the game as the half drew to a close, but the next goal arrived from an even more obvious source.

Robert Lewandowski had 12 goals in his last eight games coming into this one. Now he has 13.

Right on the stroke of half-time, he ensured Bayern had the lead, turning with his back to goal, flicking the ball over Jan Vertonghen and curling the ball past Lloris with into the far bottom corner. A stunning finish to put Bayern ahead at the break.

The last thing Spurs could afford was to concede another goal early in the second period, yet that is exactly what happened.

They couldn’t have picked a worse man to score it either as Gnabry, who used to ply his trade across North London, put Bayern firmly in the ascendancy.

Played in by Benjamin Pavard, he cut in from the left, beat Serge Aurier, then saw off Toby Alderweireld and smashed the ball it into the bottom right corner of the net.

Spurs, who had been as good as the Bavarian champions up until this point, were stunned and Bayern sensed it.

Just two minutes later their clinical finishing was again evident as Gnabry rubbed salt in the wounds, thumping home the fourth.

Somehow a close contest was over and a one-sided scoreline prevailed.

To their credit, Spurs continued to battle and when Kingsley Coman clipped Danny Rose on the edge of the box, a penalty was awarded. Once VAR upheld the decision, the reliable Harry Kane converted the penalty.

Substitute Eriksen was almost an instant hero with a swerving long-range effort which Neuer had to be alert to tip over.

If that had gone in, we could have been in for a frantic finale.

What we got, though, was a cricket score.

Hope was finally extinguished seven minutes from time when Gnabry became the most unlikely hero of all.

No more than an often-used squad player at Arsenal, he sprinted clear from a fine pass from Thiago and slotted past Lloris in style. 5-2.

Despite playing their part in the contest, Spurs were completely and utterly deflated and more poor defending made it an embarrassment for the hosts.

First, Lewandowski placed number six past Lloris after a stunning Coutinho pass and a Perisic pass. 6-2.



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Then Gnabry – once not even considered good enough for West Brom - completed the scoring by rifling home a seventh as the home side seemed to give up. 7-2.

Four goals in 35 minutes and an incredible night for Gnabry and flawless Bayern.

The inquest for Spurs is only beginning but in Bavaria, this was ruthlessness and joy personified.

 

Key statistics

Gnabry is only the second player to score four goals in a single half of a Champions League match after Luiz Adriano did in the first half of Shakhtar Donetsk’s 7-0 away win at BATE Borisov in 2014.

This was the first time in their history that Spurs have conceded seven goals in a home match.

Only Ruud van Nistelrooy (70) and Lionel Messi (73) needed fewer Champions League appearances to score their 55th Champions League goal than Lewandowski (82).

There were just 194 seconds between Son’s opener for Tottenham Hotspur and Kimmich’s equaliser.

This was Alaba’s 350th appearance for Bayern Munich.

Kane has scored more Champions League goals versus German teams (five) than he has against any other nation in the competition.

 

What’s next?

Spurs travel to the south coast to face Brighton on Saturday (October 5) before the second international break of the campaign.

Bayern host Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on the same day.

 

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03-Oct 2019 Thursday 6:22 PM (110 days ago)            #44
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Champions League: Juventus Cruises Past Bayer For Easy Win

Juventus 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen

Juventus now share the top spot with Atletico Madrid in Group D after they demolished Bayer Leverkusen with a score of 3-0 in the group phase of the ongoing Champions League.

Veteran forward Gonzalo Higuain set the tone early by scoring the first goal and assisted on the second, while Cristiano Ronaldo capped off Juve’s splendid performance by putting one in of his own during the game’s last few minutes.

It was a good bounce-back win for I Bianconeri after squandering a two-goal lead against Atletico Madrid a few weeks ago to kick off the tournament’s group phase.



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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

Speaking of Atletico Madrid, they also won handily against Lokomotiv with a 2-0 tally. Both them and Juventus have four points each while Lokomotiv have three and Bayer Leverkusen are at the bottom of the group with zero.

Maurizio Sarri’s side is currently on a roll and for sure their Champions League 2019 odds of making it far are very likely at reach.

Let SBOBET breeze you through some of the best Champions League 2019 highlights in this matchup.

 

Highlights of the game

Paulo Dybala was not inserted in Juve’s starting XI but he wasn’t needed much in this fixture especially when their vaunted attack led by Gonzalo Higuain, Federico Bernardeschi, and Cristiano Ronaldo proved to be too much for the hapless Bayer Leverkusen side.

Bayer had a hard time to get a shot on target but a Kerem Demirbay attack on the left flank gave them some encouragement in around the eighth minute. His shot, however, floated right over the goal or else that would’ve been the first goal of the evening.

For a long while, this game was a low-key affair up until the 17th-minute goal of Gonzalo Higuain. After a mistimed header by Jonathan Tah to clear out Juan Cuadrado’s long ball, Higuain pounced on the opportunity and kicked in a clinical finish in just two touches.

Higuain almost had a good chance 11 minutes later when a long ball was directed towards him. However, Lukas Hradecky was alert enough to head the ball out before the Argentinean gets a full head of steam and the latter was called for an offside.

I Bianconeri’s defence was a fortress for the whole game as Pete Bosz’s men have had a hard time getting it in the box and it’s clear that they were missing the services of Lars Bender, who was out due to an injury.

On the other hand, Ronaldo was yet to make an impact and he almost did so during the 57th minute. Juan Cuadrado found Ronaldo running inside the box but the latter’s shot went flat and Hradecky deflected it out of harm’s way.

Juventus would pour in their second goal of the match four minutes later when Gonzalo Higuain crossed the ball over in the middle of the box to find its way to Federico Bernardeschi, who smashed home a leftie strike, giving the home crowd another reason to celebrate.

Higuain could’ve had another assist with his low left-wing pass to Ronaldo, but the latter uncharacteristically shot the ball right at Hradecky who’s had another wonderful save.

Bayer Leverkusen fail to overcome the Juventus roadblock in the Champions League
Bayer Leverkusen's players down after falling to Juventus in the Champions League

Paulinho would kick in a Hail Mary attempt for Bayer in the 78th minute after running past Juve’s defenders, but he overcooked his attempt and it went over the net. The Pete Bosz-mentored squad would have few more shots in the last 10 minutes but none of them found the target still.

Third time become a charm for Cristiano Ronaldo at the 88th minute when Paulo Dybala found him free at the right side and the former gets one to go in. That goal gave Ronaldo some key milestones under his name.

 

Key statistics

Bayer Leverkusen had more possession in this game, but their inability to get great chances was evident in this one since they had zero shots on target. The Serie A defending champions, on the other hand, had seven.

Juve’s win against Bayer marks new milestones for Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese sensation has overtaken his former teammate Iker Casillas for most UCL wins in history (102).

His goal total equals Raul for most UCL opponents scored against (33), and he’s scored already in 14 consecutive UCL seasons. All in all, Ronaldo has 127 goals in 164 Champions League matches.

 

What’s next?

The home team will return to Serie A action in a mouth-watering affair against rivals Inter Milan in the Derby D’Italia on Monday. Their next fixture at the group phase of the Champions League will against Lokomotiv Moscow at the Juventus Stadium on October 23rd.

Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, will host Bundesliga league leader RB Leipzig on Saturday. They’ll get to face Atletico Madrid next to round up the group phase matches in the Champions League.

 

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03-Oct 2019 Thursday 6:31 PM (110 days ago)            #45
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Champions League: Liverpool beats Red Bull in Seven Goal Thriller

Liverpool 4-3 Red Bull Salzburg

Liverpool are up and running in the Champions League after winning the match of the night in a Group E blockbuster against Red Bull Salzburg.

In a breathtaking encounter, the Reds stormed into a three goal lead before Red Bull roared back to level, leaving Mo Salah to save the day for Liverpool with his second goal of the match.

Red Bull Saltzburg made a flying start to their Champions League campaign, making the Champions League 2019 news with a 6-2 win over Genk, and Napoli’s goalless draw with the Belgians earlier this evening shows what a good result that was.

US born coach Jesse Marsch has Die Mozartstadter playing without fear since his arrival this summer, and they have been scoring for fun by winning the first seven games under his guidance - scoring a colossal 34 goals in the process.

 

Highlights of the game

But any thoughts of an Austrian ambush at Anfield started to disappear when Liverpool went ahead on just nine minutes. And it was former Salzburg star Sadio Mane who opened the scoring, playing a lovely one-two with Roberto Firmino before sliding the ball past Cican Stancovic and into the net.

The European Champions went 2-0 up on 25 minutes with a fantastic team goal. Andy Robertson started the move with a sprint down the left flank before feeding Mo Salah. He passed to Jordan Henderson and the skipper switched the ball out to Trent Alexander-Arnold, who then pinged in a cross which Robertson finished off with a beautiful finish at the near post.

Two became three on 36 minutes when Liverpool’s front three combined to lethal effect. Mane crossed for Firmino and when Stancovic parried his effort Salah was on hand to tap home.

The Reds were oozing confidence but were caught out playing out from the back when     Hwang Hee-chan won the ball before beating Virgil Van Dijk and smashing his second goal of the campaign past Adrian to make it 3-1.

Erling Haaland scores Red Bull Salzburg's third goal against Liverpool in the Champions League
Red Bull Salzburg forward Erling Haaland in action against Liverpool's Fabinho in the Champions League

As the third youngest player ever to score a Champions League hat-trick, Erling Haaland has come to the world’s attention and this was an opportunity to show the Premier League what he can do.

Marsch, for reasons best known to him started with him on the bench. But Haaland was warming up with some intent at the break and made his appearance early in the second half.

Hwang had a chance to add his second early in the second half, he dragged his shot wide and then. On 56 minutes, he blew the game wide open as a provider, racing down the wing before crossing for Takumi Minamino who hammered an unstoppable volley past Adrian. 3-2.

Dominik Szoboszlai had a glorious chance to score but Alexander-Arnold blocked.

Then -- on 61 minutes Red Bull was level -- it was Haaland who was first to a Minamino cross to poke home and send the visiting fans wild, not to mention coach Marsch who was booked for his celebrations!

Marsch had only just sat down when Liverpool fought back, and parity had lasted for just seven minutes when Fabinho intercepted a clearance and pushed the ball forward to Firmino, who found Salah with a trademark flick before the Egyptian lifted the ball over Stancovic to win the game.



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Key statistics

Salzburg is yet to win a match against English opposition in four attempts so far but the Austrians put up one heck of a fight tonight.

Liverpool is unbeaten at Anfield in European competition since 2014 -- winning 17 and drawing six -- so it’s no surprise that the pre-match Liverpool vs Red Bull betting odds had the Reds as small as 1.30 to win this game. It was anything but easy though.

Mane is one of three players to score 15 Champions League goals for Liverpool alongside Salah on 17. Only Steven Gerrard has more, having hit 21.

Haaland’s goal was his 18th in 11 games. He’s a very hot property.

 

What’s next?

Defeat to Napoli was a disappointing start for the Reds but they just about rectified matters tonight.

And what a game we have next in the Premier League on when Leicester City visits Anfield. It’s a first against third placed clash as the Foxes have surged up the league with four wins from the last five games.

Back in Austria Red Bull hosts SCR Altach who have lost four in five. Salzburg has a positive goal difference of +31 after nine games, so Asian Handicap SBOBET is definitely the way to play with that one!

 

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03-Oct 2019 Thursday 6:34 PM (110 days ago)            #46
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Champions League: Ruthless Lyon Punish Wasteful Leipzig

Lyon 2-0 RB Leipzig

It’s hard to know who to focus on after a result like this.

Of course, Lyon should take the plaudits as this was a perfect way to bounce back in Group G and take control of their own Champions League destiny.

Abetted by some wasteful finishing, there was still much to admire in the visitors’ performance as they ended a seven-game winless run.

Yet RB Leipzig, who won impressively at Benfica in their opener, must be frustrated after controlling long spells of this contest only to come away empty handed.

The Champions League news tonight is that results don’t always tell the full story of a match.

 

Highlights of the game

In what was a first ever clash between the clubs, Memphis Depay and Martin Terrier scored the goals to give Olympique Lyonnais a much-needed three points and ease some of the pressure on head coach, former Arsenal full-back Sylvinho.

Olympique Lyonnais exposes RB Leipzig's disappointing defending performance in Champions League group stage encounter
RB Leipzig squad reacts after Lyon's Martin Terrier scores their second goal at the Red Bull Arena

Lyon had not won a game since a 6-0 thrashing of Angers in Ligue 1 in mid-August so this was most welcome.

Early on, the in-form Timo Werner spurned a great early chance to score for the hosts when he met Lukas Klostermann’s low cross only for his finishing to let him down as he guided the ball wide.

Lyon promptly capitalised on the miss and took the lead thanks to a piece of opportunism from ex-Man Utd man Depay just 11 minutes in.

Houssem Aouar gained possession and Depay took the ball off his team-mate’s toe, striding forward and clinically sending a low shot past Peter Gulacsi.

It was to prove their only effort on target of the half.

Just before the half hour mark, the promising Werner skipped clear of the visitors’ defence but spooned his shot over the bar with only goalkeeper Anthony Lopes to beat.

Lyon hung on for the remainder of the half and required an audacious backheeled flick off the line by Marcelo from Yussuf Poulsen’s header to prevent the home side from equalising, while Marcel Halstenburg also forced a strong save out of Lopes with a stinging shot from distance.

Their failure to break through was punished, however, when Martin Terrier doubled Lyon’s advantage midway through the second half.

Sloppy defensive play from substitute Nordi Mukiele was capitalised on by Terrier who stole in and shot low into the bottom corner.

It was only their second effort on target and they were 2-0 up.

That’s how it stayed as Lyon ruthlessly exploited defensive sloppiness from the Bundesliga side.

This SBOBET writer had predicted goals and I got it wrong again!

Yet if Werner and Co had their shooting boots on my suggested Champions League betting odds would have led to a nice payday for those who backed me.

Most of you probably know better.

The win puts Lyon second in the group on four points, behind Zenit St Petersburg, who beat bottom side Benfica 3-1 at home, on goal difference. Leipzig are third on three points.



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Key statistics

Depay has been involved in six of Lyon’s last nine Champions League goals (three goals, three assists).

His goal was the earliest Lyon have scored in the competition since Jordan Ferri’s strike against Gent in November 2015, which arrived in the seventh minute.

Leipzig’s last seven matches in the Champions League have now alternated between a defeat and a victory.

Lyon have scored at least once in each of their last seven away games in the Champions League (11 goals), last failing to score in September 2016 against Sevilla.

This was just the second time in 10 games Leipzig have failed to score on home soil in European competition.

Since the start of last season, Aouar has provided four assists in the Champions League for Lyon. No OL player has assisted more goals in the competition during this period (Depay also with four).

Werner has five goals in seven career Champions League appearances, three more than any other player for Leipzig.

Coach Julian Nagelsmann faced Lyon twice last season while in charge of Hoffenheim, drawing 3-3 in France before a 2-2 draw at home.

Leipzig have faced French opposition six times in their short European history, which is more than any other nation.

 

What’s next?

Leipzig return to Bundesliga action with an away trip to fellow Champions League qualifiers Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday and host Zenit St Petersburg next in this group on October 23.

Lyon are also on the road domestically as they travel to Saint Etienne on Sunday in Lique 1, with Benfica their next opponents in Europe.

 

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03-Oct 2019 Thursday 6:36 PM (110 days ago)            #47
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Champions League: Superb Suarez Brace Breaks Inter Hearts

Barcelona 2-1 Inter Milan

Inter Milan have not had a great record at the Camp Nou in recent years. But heading into their first Champions League group stage clash against Barcelona, they seemingly had a great opportunity to come away with a good result.

They were flying high atop the Serie A standings, going undefeated in their first six games. And they were also facing a Barca side that had been unconvincing thus far this season and was still sweating the fitness of superstar Lionel Messi.

However, the Champions League 2019 betting odds still fancied Barca to come out on top, and they did just that despite going down after just two minutes.

The Nerazzurri were once again foiled in their bid to end their Camp Nou hoodoo as Barca staged a stirring second-half comeback led by a resurgent Messi and Luis Suarez, who came up with two spectacular finishes.

 

Highlights of the game

There was big Champions League 2019 news in attack for both sides as the two starting XIs were announced. For Barca, Lionel Messi got the start as he returned from a recent groin problem. Meanwhile, Inter had Alexis Sanchez starting with top goalscorer Romelu Lukaku out due to a quad injury.

However, it was Alexis' strike partner, Lautaro Martinez, who gave Inter a dream start after just two minutes. The Argentine found himself through on goal after a quickly taken free-kick. He then displayed tremendous strength to ward off Clement Lenglet's challenge as he supplied a wonderful left-footed finish to beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Pegged back by that early goal, Barca went out in search of an equaliser. Antoine Griezmann came close in the 15th minute, but his header sailed just over the bar. Four minutes later, Sergio Busquets tried his luck with a shot from the edge of the box, but he too sent his effort too high.

Lionel Messi, who hadn't been at his best this season after returning from a calf injury, got his first shot on 25 minutes. However, it was smothered rather comfortably by Inter skipper Samir Handanovic, who's been in fine form this season.

Lautaro and Inter then had a chance to double their advantage on 37 minutes. Antonio Candreva whipped in a beautiful cross to the Argentine, who rose high to deliver a powerful header, but ter Stegen came up with a spectacular save to keep Barca in the game.

Inter had another chance just minutes later which fell to Stefano Sensi. The midfielder has been one of the team's standout performers this season with three goals already to his name, but he was unable to keep his curling effort from rising over the bar.

The visitors would be left to rue their missed opportunities as Barcelona finally got their equaliser on 58 minutes. Luis Suarez met an Arturo Vidal cross with a simple sublime volley from the edge of the box which gave Handanovic no chance.

Lionel showed why he is one of the greats as he helped Barcelona get the Champions League victory
Lionel Messi dribbles the ball past Inter Milan's Skriniar and Marcelo Brozovic

Messi and Barca were in control for much of the second half, but it took them until the 84th minute to finally get the winning goal. Messi went on a vintage run as he took on multiple Inter defenders coming from deep in midfield. He then laid the ball off to Suarez, who did the rest as he supplied another clinical finish.

That was all she wrote for Inter, who were left to wallow in more Camp Nou misery.

 

Key statistics

With Barca's latest win, they have maintained their perfect record of five victories in five matches against Inter at the Camp Nou.

The Catalans had 65 per cent of possession and outshot the visitors 17-11 and 7-3 in terms of shots on target.

Lautaro was a huge part of Inter's attack as he contributed five shots, with three on target.

As for Barca, Messi looked back to his best after some unconvincing early-season performances. The Argentine had a team-high four shots, with three on target, as well as 10 successful dribbles.

 

What's next?

Inter don't have much time to dwell on their Camp Nou heartbreak as they have another huge matchup coming up this weekend. The Nerazzurri host fierce rivals Juventus for a top of the table clash.

Don't forget to check out SBOBET's comprehensive preview of this Derby d'Italia, which could have major implications on the title race.

As for Barcelona, they have a slightly easier assignment this weekend as they host Sevilla, who will be in Europa League action against APOEL Nicosia.

 

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30-Oct 2019 Wednesday 6:59 PM (83 days ago)            #48
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Champions League: Slumping Bayern Eager to Get Back on Track in Greece

Olympiacos vs Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich are in the midst of their first real rough patch of the season. After entering the international break on the back of a stunning 2-1 home defeat to Hoffenheim, the German champions suffered a dramatic 2-2 draw against Bundesliga strugglers Augsburg on the weekend.

The Bavarians will look to get back to winning ways in the Champions League, where they have won their first two matches in impressive fashion.

Standing in their way are Olympiacos, who are in desperate need of a win after picking up just one point in their first two matches. The Champions League 2019 betting odds are heavily against the Greeks, but they will be hoping their fine home form can help them pick up a positive result.

 

Talking Points

Olympiacos need home support

Olympiacos' Champions League campaign started somewhat promisingly enough as they drew 2-2 at home against last year's beaten finalists, Tottenham Hotspur. After going down 2-0, they valiantly fought their way back to earn a precious point.

However, they suffered a significant setback in their next match as they fell 3-1 away to Red Star Belgrade. After going ahead 1-0, they had a man sent off and proceeded to concede three goals in the last 30 minutes.

Olympiacos have since bounced back from that disappointing result by recording back-to-back 2-1 wins in the league over Aris and OFI.

Algerian striker Hillal Soudani, who got both goals in the win against OFI, has been in fine form of late. He's now scored four goals in his last four appearances. The Greeks will need another strong performance from Soudani to stand any chance against Bayern.

Moreover, Olympiacos will need to continue the competent play they've displayed at home. They've won all four of their home games thus far in the league, conceding only one goal.

They've impressed in the Champions League as well. Prior to their draw against Spurs, they won the home legs of their three qualifying ties by a combined score of 10-0.

Robert Lewandowski's helped Bayern Munich win against Tottenham Hotspur in Champions League
Robert Lewandowski celebrating one of his goals against Tottenham Hotspur

Bayern's back-to-back stumbles

The last time Bayern were in action in the Champions League, they handed Tottenham a historic 7-2 thrashing. That was Bayern's fourth win in a row, which began with a 3-0 win over Red Star Belgrade.

But since that Spurs match, Bayern have had a bit of a wobble. They suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at home to Hoffenheim. And this weekend, they drew 2-2 to lowly Augsburg as they conceded in the first and the 91st minute.

That result saw them drop down to third in the table, now level on points with fellow title rivals Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig.

But on the bright side for Bayern, Robert Lewandowski is still in sensational form. The Polish striker bagged a hat-trick against Latvia during international duty and also found the net against Augsburg. He's now scored in each of his last seven games for Bayern, picking up nine goals in total.

Serge Gnabry, who famously made numerous Champions league 2019 highlights when he scored four goals in their Tottenham thrashing, also continued his excellent form of late. After scoring in Germany's 2-2 friendly draw against Argentina, he picked up a goal and an assist against Augsburg.

With those two forwards banging in the goals, Bayern should still like their chances of coming away from Greece with all three points.

 

History

Bayern and Olympiacos have met four times previously in European competition, and the Germans have come out on top on all four occasions. Their most recent meetings came in the 2015-16 group stage. Bayern won in their trip to Greece, 3-0, before battering them 4-0 back in Munich.

Their first encounters came back in the 1980-81 European Champion Clubs' Cup first round, with Bayern ending up 7-2 winners on aggregate.

 

Betting Tip

??

Olympiacos vs Bayern Munich Bayern Munich Asian Handicap -1.50 @ 2.06
October 23, 03:00 (GMT+8)

Despite being at home, SBOBET odds don't give the Greeks much of a shot at beating Bayern. They are big 7.60 underdogs, while the Bavarians are heavy favourites at 1.36.

I agree that Bayern will win this game. And after their recent setbacks, I expect them to go out and send a bit of a message in Piraeus.

That's why I'm going with Bayern on the Asian Handicap. With the attacking brilliance of Lewandowski and Gnabry leading the way, they should roll to a comfortable away victory of at least two goals against Olympiacos.

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30-Oct 2019 Wednesday 7:02 PM (83 days ago)            #49
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Champions League: Reeling Real Need Three Points in Turkey

Galatasaray vs Real Madrid

Real Madrid's Champions League campaign has gotten off to a very rocky start. The record 13-time winners have picked up just one point in their first two matches and currently find themselves bottom of Group A.

Los Blancos will look to get back on track when they go to Turkey to take on Galatasaray. The Turkish champions are also on one point and are ahead of Real on goal difference.

The Champions League 2019 betting odds still have Real installed as significant favourites away from home. But the Spanish giants just suffered a shock away defeat in La Liga over the weekend and will be desperate to avoid a similar fate in Istanbul.

 

Talking Points

Real still really inconsistent

Real Madrid remain maddeningly inconsistent this season. They seemed to be turning the corner after their humbling 3-0 defeat at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. They picked up back-to-back wins -- the only time they've won two in a row all season -- against Sevilla and Osasuna and drew 0-0 away in the first Madrid derby.

But then they drew 2-2 at home to Club Brugge where they had to battle back from two goals down. And after beating Granada 4-2 prior to the international break, they returned to suffer a shock 1-0 away defeat to Mallorca.

Zinedine Zidane was forced to make several changes to his side against Mallorca. Eden Hazard missed out due to the birth of his child, while Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Gareth Bale all didn't even make the squad after picking up injuries.

Isco, who has been out of favour under Zidane, made a rare start. But the attacking formation which included him, Vinicius Junior, James Rodriguez, and the front two of Karim Benzema and Luka Jovic didn't seem to work as Real had just four shots on target.

While Modric is once again set to miss out against Galatasaray, Kroos has returned to training and could be back for their trip to Turkey.

Hazard, who has struggled early this season, had by far his best game in his Real career to date as he had a goal and an assist in the win against Granada. He should also be back and ready to make some Champions League 2019 highlights against Galatasaray.

Real Madrid are still win-less in the Champions League
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane coaching from the touchline

Gala getting back on track

Galatasary have seemingly gotten back on track after going a stretch of five games without a win. Granted, those included a Champions League away match against Club Brugge, a home defeat to Paris Saint-Germain, and a goalless draw against fierce rivals Fenerbahce.

They picked up a morale-boosting 3-2 win over Sivasspor over the weekend. Romanian striker Florin Andone bagged a brace while Ryan Babel added a third for the defending Turkish champions.

Andone's promising performance could see him get the start over Radamel Falcao. The veteran Colombian striker has played all 90 minutes in both Champions League matches thus far but has failed to impress for his new side.

After seeing how vulnerable Madrid have been of late -- especially against weaker sides like Brugge and Mallorca -- Galatasaray should fancy their chances of getting at the Spanish giants.

With the likes of Andone, Ryan Babel, and Younes Belhanda, Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim has the weapons at his disposal to give the Real defence some problems. But that is if they decide to be brave and attack the visitors.

 

History

Real Madrid and Galatasaray have faced off seven times in European competition. Real have won four of those matches, with Galatasaray winning three.

The two last met in the Champions League group stage in the 2013-14 season. Real won both matches convincingly by an aggregate score of 10-2. They also squared off in the knockout stage back in 2012-13. Real won the first leg at home 3-0 and went through despite losing the second leg in Istanbul, 3-2.

 

Betting Tip

??

Galatasaray vs Real Madrid Under 3.00 Goals @ 1.80
October 23, 03:00 (GMT+8)

SBOBET odds have Real Madrid priced as 1.59 favourites on the 1X2 market to get their first Champions League win of the season, with Galatasaray priced at 5.20 and a draw at 4.00.

But I'm opting to go with the over under market, specifically the under. Galatasaray have been quite stingy when it comes to goals; their first two games have produced just one total goal.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid have had their struggles away from home. They've scored just once in their last four away games. Granted, two of those games were against PSG and Atleti, but with Modric out and Kroos still questionable, they could struggle to create chances against Galatasaray.

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30-Oct 2019 Wednesday 7:04 PM (83 days ago)            #50
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Champions League: Manchester City’s European Goal

Manchester City vs Atalanta

Champions League football is back at the Etihad on Tuesday when Manchester City takes on Atalanta in a pivotal Group C clash.

The Sky Blues have made a perfect start in Europe while, in contrast, I Nerazzurri have had a nightmare, losing both their opening games; and another defeat in Manchester could put paid to their campaign.

There can be no doubt that Pep Guardiola has his sights set on European glory and the SBOBET Champions League odds have installed his side as favourites. He has conquered the Premier League with back-to-back titles, but must now win the European crown to complete his Etihad challenge. Of course he has the players to do it, and looks set to qualify for the next phase, but knockout football is notoriously precarious.

Manchester City need to become relentless in their pursuit and performances, and Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta is the next in line.

 

Talking Points

Pep’s faith in Jesus

The Sky Blues were in good shape in a 0-2 victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday; even with a new look centre back pairing of Rodri and Fernandinho. Ederson made a couple of fine saves to keep a clean sheet, but at the other end of the pitch Manchester City were scintillating.

Gabriel Jesus netted his 50th goal for the Sky Blues, fully justifying Guardiola’s decision to start him up front. The 22 year old Brazilian has had to bide his time with the Premier League’s finest marksman, Sergio Aguero, City’s go to striker. But that he has reached his half century so quickly is testament to his own ability in front of goal. And, if anything, he adds more to City’s link up play.

That’s a terrifying prospect for opponents when City already have the incomparable David Silva working his magic, and Kevin De Bruyne put in an energetic and polished performance on his latest return from injury.

While Rodri and Fernandinho did a good job at the back, John Stones is fit again and could slot in at centre back, with Rodri taking a seat on the bench.

I won’t be at all surprised to see Jesus start against Atalanta, but what a lovely dilemma that is for the City chief.

Luis Muriel's brace helped Atalanta end their match vs Shakhtar Donetsk
Luis Muriel in action during Atalanta's match against Shakhtar Donetsk

Zupata out

I Nerazzurri have been playing well under Gian Piero Gasperini and could be dark horses again in Serie A. Duvan Zupata and Luis Muriel are a lethal combination up front, but the Italians have been dealt a hammer blow with the news that Zupata will be unfit to play, having picked up an injury on international duty with Colombia.

Muriel bagged a first half brace in a 3-3 draw away to Lazio on Saturday, but Gasperini will be fuming after his side surrendered a three goal lead they held midway through the second half, conceding the equaliser on 93 minutes.

Defeats away to Dynamo Zagreb and at home to Shakhtar Donetsk have left their Champions League campaign hanging by a thread. The opening day hammering in Zagreb was a real shock, when you see that I Nerazzurri followed it up with convincing away wins against Roma and Sassuolo.

It seems that whereas Manchester City have their eyes fixed on the European prize, Atalanta’s priorities lie closer to home.

 

History

Neither Manchester City nor Atalanta has a sparkling record in Europe but both are doing just fine in their domestic leagues. The Sky Blues are going for a third successive title while Atalanta had their best ever Serie A performance last season, finishing third.

In terms of Champions League 2019 results Pep’s team has made a faultless start to the 2019/20 campaign with two wins and two clean sheets, whereas I Nerazzurri has quite the opposite, two losses.

But Gasperini’s men are performing well as Serie A top scorers and without a league loss since early September.

Both teams come into the game with a single defeat in six in all competitions, with Manchester City winning the other five and Atalanta winning three and drawing two.

 

Betting Tip

??

Manchester City vs Atalanta Under 3.75 @ 1.89
October 23, 03:00 (GMT+8)

When you are short of confidence in Europe and desperately need a win, Manchester City is about the last place you’d want to go, and the pre-match Manchester City vs Atalanta betting odds reflect that.

The Sky Blues are at 1.21 to win, with the draw at 6.60 and an away win is at 10.50.

After the international break City have come back refreshed and refocused and I really can’t see anything other than a home win. I think it will be clinical rather than expansive and while picking a score line is quite a challenge, 2-0 at 8.25 has the shortest odds.

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30-Oct 2019 Wednesday 7:07 PM (83 days ago)            #51
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Champions League: Can Bayer Breach Atleti’s Fortress?

Atletico Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen

Many teams have tried and failed, and now it’s the turn of Bayer Leverkusen to try to break down Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Peter Bosz faces another tough task as Leverkusen attempt to win their first point in Champions League Group D, and they arrive in poor form, having gone without a win since September. That’s hardly the sort of shape you need to be in to take on Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.

A win for Los Rojiblancos would move them on to seven points and leave Bayer with a near-impossible task to catch either them or Juventus in order to qualify for the knockout phase. It would require a freakish set of Champions League 2019 results for the Germans to make the last 16 and that’s not what Bosz wants to rely on.

So he needs at least a point in Madrid.

 

Talking Points

Atleti’s cutting edge needs sharpening

And that’s not out of the question. Los Rojiblancos are as hard to beat as ever, but they have recently become draw specialists. One win in six in the league has left Atleti in fourth place but, frustratingly, only three points away from the top as all the big guns in La Liga have misfired at the start of the campaign.

Real Madrid lost away to Real Mallorca this weekend!

Atleti’s last six games in all competitions include four draws, and they have conceded just one goal but scored only five, two of those in Moscow.

Simeone rested winger Vitolo in the 1-1 draw with Valencia at the weekend and he remains doubtful with a hamstring problem. And more bad news came during the game when Joao Felix limped off with an ankle injury. It all means Simeone is likely to start with Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata upfront, and they both know where the goal is.

In defence, Kieran Trippier is likely to make a return and he can be a good supply of ammunition as an attacking wingback. He’s settled well in Madrid since his summer transfer from Spurs, and they are certainly missing him in North London.

Simeone will see this as an excellent chance to take a grip on the group after drawing the opener with Juventus and then winning in Moscow.

Bayer's uphill struggle

You have to look a long way down the Champions League 2019 betting odds list here at SBOBET to find Bayer Leverkusen.

Die Werkself gave themselves a huge challenge in Group D when they opened their campaign with a shock 1-2 reversal at home to Lokomotiv Moscow, and then Leverkusen looked a little out of their depth in a 3-0 defeat to Juventus.

Champions League: Can Bayer Leverkusen win against Atletico Madrid?
Bayer Leverkusen players looking dejected after 3-0 loss to Juventus

The question is whether or not Bosz will settle for a draw to keep their campaign alive. Atleti are struggling for goals and Die Werkself will welcome back defender Jonathan Tah, who missed Germany’s recent games but was on the bench for Bayer against Frankfurt on Friday.

Their best chance of a goal is in the shape of highly-rated attacking midfielder Kai Havertz, while Lucas Alario is expected to be the German’s lone striker.

For all their struggles, Bayer Leverkusen sit in ninth place in the Bundesliga but are remarkably just two points behind leaders Borussia Monchengladbach and a positive result on Tuesday could kickstart their season.

 

History

In head-to-head encounters, Los Rojiblancos are slightly ahead in this tussle with two wins to one, and there have been three draws.

Their last meeting was a 0-0 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano in 2017, after Atleti had won the return tie in Germany, 2-4.

Leverkusen are in patchy form at best and have lost three of the last six matches in all competitions, and this is a tough place to try to find an elusive win.

Atleti haven't lost at home to Bayer in three games, are unbeaten in 14 at home, and have won 18 of their last 23 European matches at the Wanda Metropolitano.

To make matters worse for the visitors, Atleti are on a nine-match unbeaten run at home against German opposition, while Die Werkself have won just two of their last 15 Champions League ties.

 

Betting Tip

??

Atletico Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen Atletico Madrid Asian Handicap -0.75 @ 1.86
October 23, 00:55 (GMT+8)

Atleti are the clear odds on favourites for this match at odds of 1.64, with the draw at 3.75 and a Bayer win is at 5.20.

The hosts’ track record on home soil is imposing and I can’t see Simeone’s side giving much away.

1-0 is the most likely scoreline at odds of 5.60, but 2-0 at 7.20 might turn out to be a better value if Atleti finds it’s cutting edge.

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