Champions League Tips – 13th & 14th September
Well, how frustrating was last week? The Napoli v Liverpool game apart, I pretty much nailed the other three games as to how they would go, apart from the games I backed to see both teams to score, saw the team I picked win to nil, and then the games I picked the team to win to nil, both teams scored!
I mean you can put that down as unlucky I suppose, but I did make things up with an acca win elsewhere, but it is frustrating nonetheless.
With the Premier League (and in fact all leagues across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) cancelled at the weekend, for obvious reasons, this week’s Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League action will be the first games these teams have played since last week.
While Spurs and Manchester City got off to good starts in the tournament, Chelsea, Liverpool, Rangers and Celtic have plenty to do after losing their opening game, with the three latter teams beaten heavily by their opponents (Napoli, Ajax and Real Madrid).
On Tuesday night, Liverpool face Ajax in what is now a must win game for them at Anfield and the other eye-catching games to watch include Sporting Lisbon hosting Spurs and certainly one of the biggest games of the game week, Bayern Munich hosting Barcelona.
Manchester City face Erling Haaland’s former team Dortmund at the Etihad, with Celtic away to Shakhtar Donetsk, Rangers at home to Napoli and Chelsea face FC Salzburg at home.
There’s already plenty of pressure on a number of British teams in the Champions League and it is going to be interesting to see how they do in this week’s games.
Check out my tips below.
Champions League Tips: Tuesday 13th September
It’s fair to say that Barcelona’s record against Bayern Munich makes for sorrowful reading for Barca fans. In 11 games against the German side, Barcelona have won just two, drawn one and lost the other eight.
Last year, the German side beat Barcelona 3-0 home and away in the Group Stage of the tournament and in the 2019/20 one-legged quarterfinal, Bayern inflicted arguably the worst ever defeat on a modern Barcelona team when they thrashed the Spanish side 8-2.
That echoed the defeats Barcelona suffered in the 2012/13 competition when they lost 3-0 at home and then 4-0 in Germany to exit the competition at the semifinal stage.
However, with Robert Lewandowski moving from Bayern to Barcelona this summer and Xavi rebuilding the Barcelona team, I have a feeling this game may be a lot closer than many people are expecting. Both teams have started the season reasonably well, and both won their game last week in the Champions League, so I am backing Barcelona to earn a surprise draw here.
I have to be honest here and say that I am of the opinion that teams have started to find out about Liverpool now and the lack of quality the Reds have in midfield was brutally exposed by Napoli, making their defence look far worse than it actually is. Let’s not be dishonest here; Liverpool could have lost that game 5 or 6-1 very easily indeed.
Now the Reds must get a result here against an Ajax side that have been unbeaten in the Dutch League winning all six of their games, and who also smashed four past Rangers last week at home without reply.
Last season, they met in the Group Stages with Liverpool winning two close games by a 1-0 scoreline. I cannot see that happening here as the Reds are offering up way too many opportunities to teams, while struggling to create chances at the other end (bar the Bournemouth game in the Premier League).
My concern for Liverpool here is that they are allowing almost every team to score first against them here and if Ajax manage that on Tuesday, then I feel the Dutch side can spring a surprise here and pick up what would be a huge win and heap the pressure on Liverpool to even qualify from the group stage.
UCL Tips: Wednesday 14th September
Juventus have only played Benfica twice before in the Champions League and that was way back in the 1967/68 and they lost both games to the Eusebio-inspired Portuguese side. Despite both being regular in the Champions League, they have been kept apart in the competition over the years, until this season of course.
Benfica earned a 2-0 win over Maccabi Haifa last week, while Juventus went down 2-1 to Paris St Germain in France. That result could have been markedly worse for Juventus but the Italian side showed plenty of stoicism in the second half to pull one goal back and make a game of it later in the game.
I was staggered to see Juventus at better than even money to win this game with some bookmakers. As good as Benfica are, and they are decent, they are no match for Juventus and while Juventus do have injuries and their form is a little patchy, they are at home and their record on home soil against Portuguese teams is excellent with 8 wins 1 draw and just 1 defeat at home to Portuguese teams.
Benfica won’t make it easy of course and they may score a goal, but I fancy Juventus to take control of the game in the first half, to take the lead, and then add to that in the second to secure what will be an important win in a game that they know they cannot afford to lose.
City have faced Dortmund four times in Europe, all in the Champions League, drawing 1-1 and losing 1-0 in the 2012 Group Stages, and then beating Dortmund 2-1 at home and away in the quarterfinals of the competition last season.
Erling Haaland made the move from Dortmund to Manchester City in the summer and he has hit the ground running at City, scoring 12 goals in six games as City have seen an immediate return on their investment in the striker and there is no doubt that Haaland will be gunning to get a goal, or maybe more, against his former team.
Dortmund started their campaign in the Champions League with a comfortable 3-0 home win over Copenhagen and in Jude Bellingham and Marco Reus, they have two excellent players that can cause City problems and perhaps open up the City defence, which has leaked goals this season.
But I can’t see Dortmund being able to cope with the City pressure and attacking threat and I am backing Haaland to grab at least a couple, plus City to add a couple more to a single strike from the German side in what could well be a very profitable correct score bet.
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.