Champions League Tips – 5th & 6th April
We has just a £4 loss over the weekend, so basically breakeven, as we come into my Champions League and Europa Legue tips for the midweek action.
First up on Tuesday and Wednesday evening, we have the quarter final first leg ties in the Champions League with all eight teams in action over the next fortnight to decide who will make it through to the semifinals of the competition.
Tuesday starts with Benfica hosting Liverpool at the Stadium of Light, while on the same night Manchester City will host Atletico Madrid at the Etihad as they seek to move on to the semifinals once again.
Then on Wednesday evening, underdogs Villarreal will take on Bayern Munich in Spain whilst at the same time in London Chelsea will be hoping to bounce back from their shock defeat to Brentford at the weekend against a Real Madrid side that hold a 12-point lead at the top of the La Liga table and stunned Paris St Germain to progress from the last round.
With the semi-final draws already made we know that the winner of the Benfica v Liverpool tie will face the winner of the Villarreal v Bayern Munich clash, meaning we will see either Man City or Atletico face Chelsea or Real in the other semi-final.
There’s plenty of potentially intriguing match ups there, but for now, let’s take a look at each of the quarter final ties coming up this week.
Champions League Tips: Tuesday 5th April
Benfica did knock Champions Liverpool out of the 2005/06 Champions League, winning 1-0 at home and then 2-0 at Anfield, but the Reds gained revenge in the Europa League a few years later coming back from a 2-1 defeat in Lisbon to win 3-1 at Anfield to progress through.
The Portuguese side stunned many observers, including me, with a fine 1-0 win away to Ajax in the last round, after a 2-2 draw at home, but I think they will face a step up in quality against this Liverpool side who have already claimed one piece of silverware this season.
The Reds have already won heavily in Portugal this season against FC Porto, who are top of the Portuguese League and while I can’t see Liverpool running up a scoreline like the five they scored against Porto, I do feel that they will do enough to win the game.
The Reds have been superb away from home in the Champions League this season, their only blemish a home loss to Inter in the last round and I expect them to land the win here, although I do think Benfica may get a goal back in consolation.
Manchester City come into this game in a great state of mind having reclaimed top spot in the Premier League back with their 2-0 win away to Burnley. They face an Atletico Madrid side who are also in a great run of form, having won their last five games in La Liga to sit third in the title race.
Atletico have played English opponents four times in this competition already this year, losing home and away to Liverpool in the group stages but then beating Manchester United 2-1 on aggregate in the previous round to progress through to the quarterfinals.
City will be well aware of the danger Atletico can possess on the counter attack and they will have to be aware of that, but in truth, I can’t really see a way Atletico can beat City here if both teams play as expected – City will have just too much of the ball to give Atletico a realistic chance.
Bernardo Silva is the man I think has been key for City this season in Europe and his goalscoring efforts in this competition mean he should be a starter here and I think he is a great value pick to score a goal at any time in this game.
UCL Tips: Wednesday 6th April
For me, this is the game that I think has the biggest potential range of results, because you can make a case for either side winning this game, or it finishing in a draw ahead of the second leg in Madrid next week.
Chelsea have a very good record against the two Madrid teams and have never lost to Real, disposing of the Spanish aces in the semifinals last year with aplomb. Real will be well aware of that result and keen to avoid a repeat of it here.
Real’s miracle comeback against PSG will give them home of a win over the two legs, and their form at the moment is generally good, but they were humiliated 4-0 at home by Barcelona a couple of weeks back and I think this Chelsea team is every bit as talented as the Catalan side.
Of course, Real can beat anybody on their day and with Ancelotti returning to a former club, he will want a strong showing, but I still feel that Chelsea, despite their shocking 4-1 loss to Brentford at the weekend, will claim a narrow win here, but I am not getting too cute with this prediction.
Villarreal stunned many with their 3-0 win over Juventus in Turin in the last round to reach this stage and that result will certainly have made many sit up and take notice of the team that many felt were the weakest remaining in the competition ahead of the quarterfinal draw.
Bayern slammed seven past Red Bull Salzburg in the second leg after a 1-1 draw in a tie that was never really in doubt after Robert Lewandowski scored the first of his trio of goals and the Polish striker is going to be the man that the Spaniards need to control if they are to have a chance of winning the game.
Bayern have slipped up a few times this season, notably on the road, but I can’t see that happening here. The German league leaders have hit good form at the right time and I think they have more than enough quality to get the win and keep a clean sheet.
I’m backing Lewandowski to grab at least one goal and perhaps another Bayern ace to add a second so that the German side take home a two goal advantage with them for the home leg next week in Munich.
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.