European Midweek Tips – 26th-28th April
This week sees the semi-finals of the three main European competitions taking place, with the Champions League first up on Tuesday and Wednesday night, followed by the semi finals of both the Europa League and Europa Conference League on Thursday evening.
All games kick off at 8pm throughout the week and we have plenty of British interest with just one of the six ties being played not featuring a team from either England or Scotland.
I was tempted to include this week’s Premier League clash between Manchester United and Chelsea, which also takes place on Thursday in with these bets, but I didn’t want to mix up the competitions still further, plus those teams will be back in action at the weekend in the Premier League anyway.
On Tuesday we see Manchester City face Real Madrid in the first of their two semi-final ties. This game takes place at the Etihad and in fact, all four Premier League teams have been handed home draws in the first leg of the semifinals.
Wednesday sees Liverpool face off against the giantkillers Villarreal who will be hoping to add Liverpool to their scalps in this tournament which also include Juventus and Bayern Munich from the knockout phase.
Then on Thursday, we have a bumper night of action with the two Europa League semi-finals between Red Bull Leipzig and Glasgow Rangers taking place in Germany, followed by West Ham’s home clash in the first leg against Barcelona’s conquerors in the last round, Eintracht Frankfurt.
Finally, in the Europa Conference League we see Feyenoord and Marseille lock horns in the first semifinal while in the second Leicester City will be keen to put on a good show as they face AS Roma at the King Power.
Let’s see which four games I have picked for my tips this week.
Champions League Tips: Tuesday 26th April
There is a real excitement to see these two teams clash in the tournament once again. City beat Real Madrid in this tournament a couple of years back and Chelsea did the same last season on their way to winning the trophy and if anything, this Real Madrid side is probably not quite on a par with those two teams.
However, this Real side does have a striker bang in form in this competition in Karim Benzema and he will undoubtedly be causing City defenders a few sleepless nights. However, you can also say the same about Real’s defenders worrying how to cope with City’s incessant pressing and attacking.
That for me is the key difference here. I felt Real took their chances in both legs against Chelsea and that overall, Chelsea were the better side. I can’t see that happening here against a City side who could end the season with both the Premier League title and the Champions League.
Kevin De Bruyne has been the driving force of this team in so many key games of late and I expect the Belgian midfielder to be so again here. So much so that I think a bet on him to score a goal at any time in this game is a very smart move.
Champions League Tips: Wednesday 27th April
Villarreal have done sensationally well to reach this stage of the tournament. Any team that beats Juventus and then Barcelona deserves to take their place in the semifinals alongside the best three teams in Europe at the moment. The problem is for Villarreal, I think Liverpool are even better than the two teams they have already beaten.
Jurgen Klopp’s team have been in superb form for so long now and after wins over both Manchester teams in the week ahead of this game, plus the Merseyside derby at the weekend, means that the Reds have had an intense build up to this crucial game.
However, Kopp’s strength in depth is now so great he can rotate players for key games without weakening the team and that has stood this team in great stead coming to the business end of the season when the major trophies are decided.
Villarreal will try to keep things tight here and hit on the counter. They may grab a goal, but I think it will be a long and tough night for the Spaniards, who lost home and away to Man Utd in the group stage. As such I’ll be backing Liverpool to take a good lead into the second leg in Spain next week.
European Football Tips: Thursday 28th April
Eintracht Frankfurt played superbly to beat Barcelona 3-2 in the Nou Camp, although that scoreline does flatter the Spanish side who were comfortably outplayed by the Germans in that game. But on the same night, West Ham were winning in Lyon to move into the semifinals of a European competition for the first time since 1976.
David Moyes side have been one of the great stories of this season and while their chase for the top four does seem to have lost a bit of steam over the last few weeks, they know that if they can win this competition then a spot in the Champions League will await them next season.
The London Stadium has had its critics but at times this season it has resembled the old Boleyn Ground for atmosphere and I think that West Ham fans will carry that on here. I expect a close game and perhaps just one goal in it because this Frankfurt team are tough to beat.
However, Frankfurt have won just one of their last nine games, drawing six of those and I think that will be their mindset here. But I am expecting West Ham to be fired up and I see them landing a late winner to clinch a narrow win.
It has really been an up and down season for Leicester City this year, even in Europe where they were eliminated from the Europa League and dropped into the Europa Conference League. Here though they have performed well in the knockout stages and now face an old foe in Jose Mourinho a his AS Roma side.
Mourinho will have a number of English stars in Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham available to him for this game, but in recent semi final ties against English teams, Roma have suffered a couple of heavy defeats. In fact in their last six games against English teams in Europe, those six matches have seen 35 goals scored, almost six per game and nine more have been scored by the English teams.
That will give Leicester a real belief that they can get something here and I believe that they can. Roma have not travelled well in Europe this season and lost away in the last round to Bodo Glimt before turning it around at home with a 4-0 win to move into the semifinals.
Whether the Foxes will go through or not, I’m not too sure. I hope they do, but I am backing them to grab a win here in a game where trends seem to show it is very likely both teams will find the net.
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.