Champions League winner - Back Bayern Munich and Juventus to deny Barcelona and Real the top prize in European football
At 7pm last night, Bayern Munich were the clear Champions League favourites after the 2013 winners had demolished Arsenal 10-2 on aggregate to cruise into the quarterfinals. But that was before Barcelona’s famous resurrection, producing the mother of all comebacks to stay in the competition by the skin of their teeth against poor old PSG.
Compare the two sets of odds, before and after….
And following Barca’s miracle, scoring three goals in the final seven minutes to come back from the dead, there’s bound to be a school of thought that Luis Enrique’s side name is on the trophy to provide a fitting end to the departing coach. Predictably, the bookies responded by reinstalling bounce-back Barca as new favourites at a best priced 14-5 with 188 sport and 32 Red.
In the modern Champions League era, no team has ever defended the title and 2015-16 winners Real Madrid are 11-2 to make history. Certainly, Real’s CL hopes of a successful defence weren’t improved by Barca’s Lazarus-style comeback.
Real’s “noisy neighbours” Atletico Madrid have been knocking at the door, twice losing in heartbreaking fashion to Real in the final in recent years. Diego Simeone’s side are a decent 11-1 with bet365 to go one better this season.
Borussia Dortmund will also take some beating, especially in front of their vociferous “Yellow Wall” at the Westfalenstadion. BVB, at 12-1 with 32 Red, finished ahead of Real in the group stages, scoring the most goals (21) in tournament history in the process.
Pep Guardiola has always reached at least the semifinals with Bayern and Barca as a coach and the Catalan’s Manchester City side are available at a realistic 12-1 with bet365. Bear in mind though, City aren’t even certain of seeing off Monaco in the last 16 and will need the luck of the draw to match last year’s last four appearance.
If you fancy Craig Shakespeare to inspire Leicester to European glory, there’s an unlikely 100-1 with Sky Bet and Bet Victor for the Foxes. However, Leicester’s last 16 opponents Sevilla, serial Europa League winners in recent seasons, are a very backable 28-1 with betfred / bet365.
Now downgraded to second favourites following Barca’s last-gasp heroics, Bayern are available at 10-3 with Bet victor /sky bet and remain a very sound proposition to all the way in the competition, provided top striker Robert Lewandowski stays fit.
After handing the hapless Gunners a second straight 5-1 humbling, the Bavarians’ social media team couldn’t resist rubbing it in on twitter, asking: “What time is it? Yep, it’s ten to!”
In addition, I would definitely recommend looking seriously at Serie A serial champions Juventus to also fly under the radar all the way to the final. Massimiliano Allegri’s side are heavily underrated and amazing value at a whopping 9-1 with bet365 and skybet.
For the end game, both Bayern and Juve remain my top two contenders for the #roadtocardiff in June to deny La Liga’s finest the top prize in European football.
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