European Football Tips – 9th, 10th & 11th May
After what proved to be a number of exciting games in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League, we have now reached the semi final stages of the competitions.
That leaves us with a bit of a dilemma as with four games for each of my tips, I can’t split the Champions League and Europa League up into two sets of tips any longer, so why not just merge them together into one set of midweek European tips?
So that is precisely what I have done here.
Each game you see is a semi-final first leg tie in either the Champions League or the Europa League, and across the four games, there are some intriguing match ups to enjoy.
First off on Tuesday we have the first of the two Champions League Semi Finals 1st legs as Real Madrid, the current holders, host Manchester City at the Bernebeu in a repeat of last year’s semi-final, which Real won in extraordinary fashion late on in the game.
Pep Guardiola’s team will be keen for revenge for that loss and have a chance to put themselves in a great position for the return leg in Manchester here.
The second semi comes on Wednesday and is a Milan derby as AC take on Inter in arguably the most important Milan derby for many years.
Then we finish on Thursday with two big Europa League semi final first leg ties as AS Roma host Bayer Leverkusen in one, and Juventus take on six-time winners of this trophy Sevilla in the other.
Let’s check out my tips for the games below.
Champions League Tips: Tuesday 9th May
Last season, Real Madrid made an astonishing last gasp escape to victory as they scored twice in injury time to deny Manchester City a place in the Champions League Final. Rodrygo was their hero in that game , scoring the equaliser and winner in a game that City had previously been well in control of.
That defeat still smarts in the blue half of Manchester and manager Pep Guardiola probably gave more away than he would have wanted when he said he had a feeling that City and Madrid would meet once again this season.
To my mind there is no doubt that Guardiola is hell-bent on revenge for that defeat here and to achieve that he is going to need a good result in the away leg. Real have reserved their best performances for this competition this season and trailing Barcelona by so many points, they have clearly targeted this trophy once again.
However as good as Real Madrid are, I think that City are, at the present moment, a level above them, which sounds a crazy thing to say and I think City will get at least a draw here and I think even a win is not beyond question given how well they have played in key games. Hence I am going for a narrow win for the visitors here with both teams finding the net.
Champions League Tips: Wednesday 10th May
A Milan derby in the semi-final of the Champions League, how dramatic a game could that be? We already have a Manchester derby in the FA Cup Final to look forward to and it is perhaps fitting that these two teams, who weren’t expected to do much in this competition, will face each other for a spot in the final.
In the most recent three games between the two this season, Inter have won two, one in Serie A and one in the Coppa Italia, while AC Milan won the first Serie A clash between the two earlier in the season.
If you look back over the last four games, Inter have actually won three of those, while they are also leading their rivals in the head to head matches between the two. However, it is fair to say that there has seldom been a game between the two rivals that has quite so much on the line.
AC Milan did well to eliminate Napoli from the last round but I think we are in for two very tight, cagey and emotional games here and I can see this one going down to the wire in the second leg before someone claims that spot in the final even by penalties. As such, I think a draw here is probably the best option to back, especially in the first leg.
Europa League Tips: Wednesday 11th May
Jose Mourinho’s worked his magic with AS Roma this season, taking them to the brink of the Champions League spots in Serie A, as well as engineering them through to the quarterfinals of the Europa League. Here they will face one of Germany’s most in-form teams, Xabi Alonso’s exciting Bayer Leverkusen.
Don’t take too much notice of the fact that Leverkusen are sixth in the Bundesliga, they have recovered from a miserable start to the season to win a lot of games and move right up the table, but they were so far behind that they have not managed to close the gap on the top three teams in particular.
Whai ts notable however is that their performances are much better now and they have put in some great performances on the road, winning against Union St Gilloise 4-1 away from home and also beating AS Monaco in Monaco after losing the home leg. They are certainly a team AS Roma will have to respect.
However, the Italians have been pretty solid in this competition and I think Jose Mourinho will know the value of keeping things tight in the first leg and taking a lead into the second and I can see that happening here with AS Roma likely to claim a narrow 1-0 win.
What an intriguing game we have here between two teams who have had very different domestic seasons, but who look incredibly well-matched heading into this first leg of the semi final tie.
Juventus have been stronger away from home in the previous rounds of this tournament and they withstood a barrage from Sporting Lisbon in the second half of the last game to hang on to their narrow lead from the first leg and claim the draw that put them through into the semi finals.
Seville came from 2-0 down in the first half of the first leg at Old Trafford to beat Manchester United 5-2 on aggregate with a fantastic 3-0 win on home soil. They are six-times winners of this trophy and have won it each time they have reached the semi final stage of the competition. In fairness, their performance against United, especially in that second leg, was worthy of Champions.
For me, this is the key leg, if Juventus can land a win, they will fancy their chances of defending the lead in Seville, but I think Seville will do enough to keep Juventus quiet on their home patch and that by the end of the game we will see both teams level at 1-1.
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.