The Champions League is back – but which sides will succeed in the first leg of their semi-final?
After Manchester City’s opening day defeat to Juventus, many would have expected them to not reach the semi finals. However they are 180 minutes away from reaching their first ever final. England’s sole survivor in the most prestigious European competition face Real Madrid who have had an up and down season themselves.
Both teams have excellent attacking flair, with Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva and Sergio Aguero being the key men for the Blues, whilst Real have Bale, Ronaldo and Benzema. It is however the dodgy defence which both teams struggle with so we can expect a very open game at the Etihad.
I’m definitely backing BTTS in this match which is 4/7 but I think that City will edge it with a 2-1 home win.
In the other tie we see Atletico host Bayern Munich. Atletico knocked out holders Barcelona, and in truth they are the team no-one wanted to face in the semis. Their high intensity pressing game is tough for opponents to deal with, and they arguably possess the best defence in Europe. It will be fascinating to see how Guardiola sets up against Simeone’s men, and perhaps they will settle for an away draw.
I think that Pep’s Bayern side will be happy to take a draw away at Atletico Madrid and will manage to walk away with an away goal due to their brilliant attacking talent. This game has 1-1 written all over it for me, which is priced at 5/1 or a draw is 21/10.
The fairy-tale of Pellegrini facing his successor Pep seems to be “written in the stars” for the Champions League final. It will be interesting if City fail to make the top four and have to defeat their future manager to take part in next year’s tournament, a conundrum in itself.
What are your predictions for the Champions League semi-final first legs?