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17-Dec 2019 Tuesday 2:33 PM (64 days ago)               #1
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Champions League: Lyon Make Last Stand in Leipzig

Lyon vs RB Leipzig

RB Leipzig will be under relatively little pressure in their final Champions League group game. The German side has already ensured qualification to the round of 16 and only need to avoid defeat to secure top spot in Group G.

Their opponents, Lyon, still have everything to play for, though. The French outfit can still make it to the knockout phase if they can get a better result against the Red Bulls than Zenit against Benfica.

The Champions League 2019 betting odds have Lyon priced as slight favourites to win at home, but beating an in-form RB Leipzig side will still be easier said than done.

 

Talking Points

Lyon still looking wobbly

Lyon just can't seem to string some decent results together. They've alternated wins and losses in their last seven matches in all competitions.

They picked up one of their biggest wins of the season over the weekend as they thumped Nimes, 4-0. But even then, they needed the bottom club in Ligue 1 to go down to nine men before they finally put the game away.

 


 

 

On the bright side, though, Memphis Depay has continued his outstanding form this season. The Dutch forward bagged a brace and an assist against Nimes and has now scored eight goals in his last eight appearances for his club.

Depay has also been producing a host of Champions League 2019 highlights. He's scored four goals in five matches in this year's competition. One of those goals was the opener in Lyon's shock 2-0 win over Leipzig in Germany.

Lyon will be without defenders Leo Dubois and Youssouf Kone, while Rafael is a doubt. Meanwhile, speedster Maxwel Cornet is also a question mark.

Even without Cornet, Lyon still has a wealth of attacking weapons with Depay, Moussa Dembele, Bertrand Traore, and Houssem Aouar. But those absent defenders will most likely make Lyon a bit vulnerable at the back.

RB Leipzig's impressive unbeaten run

RB Leipzig have been in imperious form of late. Since suffering that shock home loss to Lyon, they've lost just one of their last 12 matches (eight wins, three draws). Moreover, they've gone unbeaten in their last eight matches, winning seven of them.

Leipzig almost lost that unbeaten streak when they fell two goals behind at home to Benfica in their last Champions League outing. But they were able to salvage a dramatic draw thanks to a late Emil Forsberg brace.

They are coming off another impressive 3-1 win at home against Hoffenheim over the weekend, which has seen them stay in second, just one point behind surprise leaders Borussia Monchengladbach.

Timo Werner continued his remarkable goalscoring run by bagging another brace. The German has gone up to another level under manager Julian Nagelsmann. He already has 15 goals and five assists in 14 Bundesliga appearances and has added two goals and an assist in the Champions League.

Fellow forward Marcel Sabitzer has also been unleashed as a goal machine. The Austrian has already scored eight goals this season, surpassing last year's tally of five for all of last year.

Emil Forsberg in top form ahead of their Champions League clash against Lyon
RB Leipzig's Emil Forsberg celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates

However, the downside has been that their defence under Nagelsmann has not been that secure. They've kept just three cleans sheet in the league and have one in five Champions League matches.

The absence of starting central defenders Ibrahima Konate and Willi Orban for their trip to Lyon won't help matters. Forward Yussuf Poulsen is also a doubt to feature.

But with Werner and Sabitzer, Leipzig still have the ability to do significant damage against a Lyon defence which could be exposed as they go in search of the win.

 

History

This will be the two sides' second meeting all-time after Lyon surprised Red Bull at Leipzig.

Lyon have not had a particularly great home record against German clubs in recent years, winning one of their last four meetings. However, they've won seven of 13 such matches overall, with two draws and four defeats.

As for Leipzig, they've had two trips to France in their history. They won 4-1 at Monaco but were smashed 5-2 against Marseille in their 2018 Europa League quarter-final second leg, which they lost 5-3 on aggregate.

 

Betting Tip

??

Lyon vs RB Leipzig Draw 1X2 @ 3.55
December 11, 04:00 (GMT+8)

The SBOBET odds for this match are quite tight. Lyon are slight favourites at 2.46 to pick up the home win, while Leipzig aren't far behind at 2.62. A draw is priced at 3.55.

You could really see the match going either way, but I'm sticking my neck out and will go with a draw. And with both sides missing some key defenders, it could be quite an entertaining draw as well.

Lyon will most likely be on the offensive at home, and that should play right into Leipzig's hands with Werner and Sabitzer capable of hitting them on lightning-quick counterattacks.

Despite the French side's best efforts, Leipzig should still come away with the draw they need to top the group.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 17-Dec-2019 at 2:33 PM


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17-Dec 2019 Tuesday 3:41 PM (64 days ago)            #2
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Champions League: Liverpool Pass the Red Bull Test

Red Bull Salzburg 0-2 Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool booked their place in the knockout phase of the Champions League tonight with an impressive victory over a dangerous Red Bull Salzburg.

The Reds just needed a draw to qualify for the round of 16, and after an end-to-end first 45 minutes, even that looked in doubt. But two goals in two minutes early in the second half settled any Liverpool nerves.

Red Bull head coach Jesse Marsch can be proud of the way his young team has performed in a difficult group, but tonight, their usually free-scoring forwards came up against a world-class defence and a keeper on form.

In other Group E Champions League 2019 news, Napoli needed to see off Genk, and did so in style, with a thumping 4-0 win, and so the Serie A side joins Liverpool in the next stage.

 

Highlights of the game

Salzburg showed both sides of their game in the opening minutes: suspect defence and explosive attack.

The Austrians allowed Mo Salah in on goal and his shot was destined for the bottom corner until keeper Cican Stankovic stuck out a boot to save. Then, Red Bull broke when Takumi Minamino’s clever backheel released Hee-Chang Hwang, but his effort was saved by Alisson.

After a fast start from the hosts, Liverpool seemed to be getting a foothold in the game. Sadio Mane had a good chance on 20 minutes, which Stankovic blocked. Naby Keita followed up and his shot was charged down before Trent Alexander-Arnold skied his effort.

At the other end, Hwang almost got Erling Braut Haaland in, but Alisson was quick to stop the danger. Then, the Reds keeper made a good save from Haaland when the big Norwegian hit a fierce shot on goal.

Red Bull fail to defend their home turf against the reigning Champions League winners
Erling Braut Haaland attempts a goal with two Liverpool defenders trying to block

On the half-hour, Liverpool had a huge chance to break the deadlock. Keita played in Salah, and as we all expected the net to bulge, the Egyptian screwed his shot wide of the near post.

The Reds had a scare at the start of the second half when Haaland’s shot appeared to hit Dejan Lovren on the arm. The home players and fans appealed for a penalty, but the ref waved play on. And then, on 49 minutes Salah had another great chance when Mane put him through, but this time he blazed his shot over the bar.

Stankovic dove at Salah’s feet to make a brave save as the Egyptian looked set to break his duck and then, at the other end, Haaland blasted one into the side netting.

But in the blink of an eye, Liverpool were 0-2 up.

First, Naby Keita broke Red Bull’s resistance on 57 minutes, when Mane got in behind the defence before chipping over for the Guinean midfielder to head home. And 100 seconds later, after squandering two golden opportunities, Salah finally got his goal, and what a goal it was!

The Liverpool striker latched on to a long ball and took it round the keeper, but even though his touch took him wide, he still scored from the tightest of angles to seal the deal.

And that was that. Salah and Mane both had chances to make it 3-0, but two was more than enough for the celebrating band of travelling fans.

 

Key statistics

This game was still on a knife-edge at half-time, and while Liverpool had enjoyed more possession and shots, 57 per cent and eight to seven, the hosts had given Alisson a busy 45 minutes with six shots on target to Liverpool’s three.

Here at SBOBET, we expected goals in the first half, but we didn’t have to wait long after the break when Klopp’s team booked their place in the round of 16 with two explosive minutes early in the second period.

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The Champions League 2019 betting odds had Liverpool as third favourites to lift the trophy before kick-off, and at half-time that looked seriously under threat. But the Reds took control in the second 45, eventually winning the shot count by 21 to 11 with both teams having seven on target.

Salah’s goal took a while coming, but it’s his 19th for Liverpool in the Champions League.

 

What’s next?

Now it’s back to the Premier League for Liverpool where they hold an eight-point lead over Leicester City at the top of the table. And they are highly likely to maintain that when they entertain bottom club Watford at Anfield.

The Hornets have raised eyebrows this week, appointing their third manager of the season, this time plumping for Nigel Pearson, the ex-Leicester head coach.

Salzburg are unbeaten in 17 games in the Austrian Bundesliga and have an away game to Hartberg on Saturday; the sixth-place side have won three and lost two of their last five.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 17-Dec-2019 at 3:41 PM


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17-Dec 2019 Tuesday 3:45 PM (64 days ago)            #3
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Champions League: The Teen Who Broke Inter’s Hearts

Inter Milan 1-2 Barcelona

As Champions League groups go, this was as tough as they get.

In fact, for the second successive season, the fates had not fallen kindly when it came to Inter Milan and group stage pairings.

Last year, they narrowly missed out on a place in the last 16 of a group that also included Barcelona, Spurs, and PSV Eindhoven.

This time it was largely Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund who stood in their way.

A night of drama in the San Siro, where the sides drew 13 months ago -- when an 87th-minute Mauro Icardi goal earned Inter a 1-1 four minutes after Malcom had put Barça in front -- was always likely.

 

Highlights of the game

Antonio Conte failed to guide Inter Milan to the Champions League last 16
Antonio Conte was sad to see Inter Milan miss the Champions League last 16

The SBOBET Champions League betting odds favoured Internazionale and so did many of the omens.

That was because there was a genuine feeling the Catalan giants may take their foot off the gas.

With top spot in Group F long assured, it seemed likely coach Ernesto Valverde would shuffle his pack. It meant that the likes of Arturo Vidal, Carles Perez and Samuel Umtiti would start and they all did.

Moreover, it meant rests for a number of star men including Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto. In fact, by my calculations only five of the starting XI would usually be included.

Inter were up against a Barcelona side who had not lost a group stage fixture for more than three years.

They also knew they almost certainly had to win with Dortmund clear favourites to see off Slavia Prague at home.

Yes the Nerazzurri were unbeaten in their last nine matches with La Liga opposition on home soil, but they had recorded just three wins during that run so it was far from clear cut.

With a passionate crowd behind them, Inter were determined to build on their impressive start to the 2019-20 Serie A campaign. Their draw at Roma, coupled with champions Juventus losing at Roma, has left them two points clear at the top of the table.

Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez have formed an impressive partnership and they needed to be on form, even against a weakened Barca.

Martinez gave an indication of his intentions inside the opening minute with a shot that was blocked and team-mate Cristiano Biraghi also threatened early on but this was far from one-sided and Perez and Moussa Wague had dangerous efforts before the former opened the scoring with a left-footed shot.

The offside trap failed as the ball ultimately came off Diego Godin who knocked it into Perez’s path.

Inter needed to react before the break and Martinez forced a tricky save on the half-volley from debutant Neto before Danilo D’Ambrosio’s header skimmed the woodwork from a Lukaku cross.

The pressure finally paid off a minute before the break as Martinez held up the ball on the edge of the box and found Lukaku who drilled home from just outside the penalty area, with the aid of a deflection.

Into the second half and the game remained end-to-end with Ivan Rakitic and Antoine Griezmann firing in efforts for Barcelona and the home strike duo a constant threat for Inter.

As news came through that Dortmund were leading 2-1, Inter’s coach Antonio Conte threw on Matteo Politano and Sebastiano Esposito for the final push.

Yet as the pressure built, Barcelona remained dangerous on the counter and duly scored the goal which broke Inter hearts.

Teenager Ansu Fati had only been on the pitch a minute when he rifled the ball from the edge of the box and it bounced in off the inside of the far post.

A 17-year-old to watch for Barca and the inquest for big-spending Conte will begin.

A tough group but criticism will now rightly come the Nerazzurri’s way.

 



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Key statistics

Fati has become the youngest player to score in the history of the tournament (17 years and 40 days), beating Peter Oforiquaye’s previous record with Olympiacos against Rosenborg in October 1997 (17 years and 194 days).

This was Barcelona’s 150th UEFA Champions League win. Only Real Madrid have reached that landmark in the competition so far.

Barca have not failed to qualify for the knockout round of the Champions League since the 2000-01 season, while they have reached the last-16 stage or better in each of their last 16 campaigns.

The last seven Inter goals among Champions League and Serie A have been netted from strike duo Lukaku (3) and Martinez (4).

Barca have a mixed record away to Serie A opposition, winning seven, drawing 11, and losing seven of their 25 matches.

 

What’s next?

Inter Milan now have two Serie A fixtures before the domestic winter break. They travel to Fiorentina on Sunday (December 15) and then host Genoa on December 21.

Barcelona are at Real Sociedad this weekend before the ‘big one’ domestically. The first ‘El Clasico’ of the season takes place at the Nou Camp a week tonight (December 18).

 

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17-Dec 2019 Tuesday 3:48 PM (64 days ago)            #4
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Champions League: Memphis Fires Lyon into Last 16

Lyon 2-2 RB Leipzig

Lyon entered their final Champions League group match against RB Leipzig knowing they still had a decent chance to move on to the round of 16. They only needed to pick up a better result than Zenit St. Petersburg, who were away at Benfica.

Their Champions League 2019 odds of going through were looking bleak after going down two goals at home in the first half. But a spirited second-half comeback, capped off by a late Memphis Depay strike, coupled with a Zenit defeat saw them through to the knockout phase.

As predicted in SBOBET's preview of this match, there were bound to be goals in this match given some absentees in defence for both teams. And despite Lyon winning the reverse fixture in Germany, Leipzig were in great form heading into the match and would be tough to beat.

But in the end, all Lyon needed was a point to secure passage to the next round, and they have their star man to thank.

 

Highlights of the game

It took Leipzig just nine minutes to take the lead over Lyon. Leipzig captain Diego Demme delivered a dangerous through ball for Yussuf Poulsen, who was brought down in the penalty area by on-rushing Lyon keeper Anthony Lopes.

Referee Anthony Taylor initially signalled for a throw-in, but after a VAR review, Leipzig were rightly awarded a penalty. Emil Forsberg stepped up to take the spot-kick, and the Swede coolly slotted the ball into the corner to put the visitors in front.

On 27 minutes, Leipzig star Timo Werner found himself one-on-one with Lopes, but the in-form striker failed to take his chance. However, the goal wouldn't have counted anyway as he was just offside.

RB Leipzig top the Champions League Group G table with 11 points while Lyon finish at second with 8 points
RB Leipzig squad celebrate after Timo Werner scores their second goal during Group G Champions League match against Lyon at the Lyon Olympic Stadium

But the German would get himself on the scoresheet just a few minutes later as Leipzig were awarded another penalty for Lucas Tousart's crunching challenge on Christopher Nkunku. Werner made no mistake from the spot as he doubled Leipzig's advantage.

Lyon were looking dead and buried down two goals at home at the half, but they handed themselves a lifeline five minutes after the break.

Houssem Aouar showed why he's one of the most highly rated young talents in all of Europe with a brilliant curling effort which is undoubtedly one of the top Champions League 2019 highlights of the round.

Leipzig almost restored their two-goal advantage on 65 minutes after an impressive move saw Demme get a shot on goal from close range. However, the Leipzig captain was denied by a crucial block from Lyon defender Rafael.

At the other end, Memphis had a couple of attempts from distance that did not trouble Leipzig keeper Peter Gulacsi. But Depay wouldn't be denied as he eventually got Lyon's equaliser.

The Dutch striker displayed some impressive strength to outmuscle a Leipzig defender to get to the ball inside the six-yard box. And he showed great instinct to find the target on the turn.

That goal would prove crucial as it would see Les Gones through to the knockout phase for the second season running.



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Key statistics

The final statistics for this match were quite even. Leipzig edged out possession, 53 per cent to 47, although the total shots were even at 13. Lyon had two more shots on target, 6-4.

Memphis was responsible for four of those six shots on target as the Dutchman had five shots overall. He finished the Champions League group stage with a very impressive tally of five goals in five games.

Meanwhile, his Leipzig counterpart Werner had a relatively quiet game. The German didn't get a shot off apart from his penalty. But he still got his goal, giving him 18 for the season and four in his last three games.

 

What's next?

With progress in the Champions League secured, Lyon can now focus on improving their league positioning for the time being. Their next assignment will see them face a high-flying Rennes side that's currently fourth after winning three on the bounce and five of their last six.

As for Leipzig, they will look to continue their outstanding league form, where they've won five matches in a row. Their next match will see them go away to struggling Fortuna Dusseldorf, who currently find themselves third from bottom in the Bundesliga.

And after that, Leipzig go to Signal Iduna Park for their big showdown against third-placed Borussia Dortmund, which should be a terrific match.

 

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17-Dec 2019 Tuesday 3:50 PM (64 days ago)            #5
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Champions League: Arkadiusz Milik’s Hat-Trick Locks Napoli’s Last-16 Berth

Napoli 4-0 Genk

Napoli have clinched their spot to the next round of the Champions League by thrashing Genk in a masterpiece. It was a much-needed win for the Italian side, as Carlo Ancelotti’s men couldn’t buy a victory prior to this match.

Arkadiusz Milik led the charge with his treble by setting the tone early in the first half while Dries Mertens added one more in the latter stages of the match via a penalty kick.

With Genk not favoured in our Champions League 2019 odds as they are already consigned to finish at the bottom of Group E, there was some pressure for the Italians to finish on a high note in front of their fans at Stadio San Paolo.

Napoli and Liverpool are set to move on to the next round by placing in the top two of Group E, leaving Red Bull getting the Europa League spot and Genk having to go home early.

Hours after the victory, Napoli delivered some shocking Champions League 2019 news when they relieved team manager Carlo Ancelotti from his duties. It remains to be seen on where he’ll end up next, but perhaps a return back home in AC Milan might be a good place to go given their recent struggles.

SBOBET offers to you the highlights of this superb game by the Partenopei.

 

Highlights of the game

Teenage goalkeeper Maarten Vandevoordt made his Champions League debut for Genk, and it was a night to forget for him. He was the youngest to make his maiden appearance at 17 years and 287 days.

Vandevoordt conceded an early goal in just less than two minutes as Arkadiusz Milik smashed home an easy one when the teenage goalkeeper panicked and failed to clear the ball.

He was tested once more when Kalidou Koulibaly had a header of an attempt, but his shot hit the post and bounced in. It looked like a goal upon first look, but the VAR didn’t count it upon further review.

Napoli controlled pretty much of the first half as Genk were in the defensive all night long. Dries Mertens and Arkadiusz Milik continued to dictate the tempo for the Partenopei.

Paul Onuachu had a rare chance to answer back for Genk in the 16th minute after a lovely pass by his teammate. However, his shot went too narrow to the left.

Arkadiusz Milik would score his second goal of the night 10 minutes later via a beautiful cross by Giovanni di Lorenzo, as Maarten Vandevoordt was left on an island.

Alex Meret showed his wares defensively when he prevented a forming attack by Genk in the 33rd minute. He intercepted a pass from Junya Ito for a possible attempt by Mbwana Samatta.

Arkadiusz Milik was instrumental for Napoli to secure the Champions League win over Genk
Arkadiusz Milik celebrates his hat-trick for Napoli as they take the win

A few minutes later, Genk were called for a yellow card when Vandevoordt made a brave challenge to a hard-charging Jose Callejon. Arkadiusz Milik, who had the hot hand, scored off of a calm penalty kick to secure his first Napoli hat-trick.

Allan almost joined in the scoring party in the second half when he found himself open inside the box. However, his shot went too far wide to the left.

Vandevoordt was doing much better in the second half as he would make better decisions, including a save after a weak strike by Fabian Ruiz and a long clearance at the 68th minute when his defender passed him the ball while Koulibaly was trailing from the play.

It was Napoli’s turn to showcase their improved backline as they would prevent Genk from having shots on target. The Belgian team’s long ball attempts didn’t work as defenders like Kostas Manolas and Kalidou Koulibaly showed their aerial prowess to head those away.

Jose Callejon drew another penalty violation for Genk when his strike hit the backhand of Casper de Norre. Dries Mertens let out a cool finish to cap off their strong performance.

 

Key statistics

By demolishing Genk, Napoli have registered their biggest winning margin ever in the Champions League.

Arkadiusz Milik’s goal under three minutes was the second-fastest time for a Napoli player to score in the Champions League. The fastest one was Piotr Zielinski back in 2018 against Feyenoord when he netted one in the first 1:35.

Genk finished at the bottom once more in the group stages for the third consecutive time. They also didn’t fare well back in the 2003 and 2012 editions of the tournament.

 

What’s next?

Napoli are going to host the visiting Parma for their Serie A match while Genk will go back home to clash against Waasland-Beveren in the Belgian Pro League.

 

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17-Dec 2019 Tuesday 3:52 PM (64 days ago)            #6
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Champions League: It’s Bye Bye Bayer as Cristiano Strikes

Bayer Leverkusen 0-2 Juventus

A 75th-minute goal from Cristiano Ronaldo finished off Juventus’ Champions League Group D campaign with a win while Bayer Leverkusen say goodbye to the competition.

Bayer’s knockout stage hopes were hanging by a thread before kick-off, and they fought for all they were worth in a first half they dominated from start to finish.

But Peter Bosz’s side seemed to have worn themselves out in the second half and submitted to Ronaldo’s late strike. Gonzalo Higuain added a second in injury time to seal Bayer’s fate.

So I Bianconeri finish top of the group by a clear six points and are joined by Atletico Madrid in the round of 16.

 

Highlights of the game

Gigi Buffon praised Ronaldo and Higuain for leading by example in Juventus' win over Leverkusen in the Champions League
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon makes a save during their Champions League match against Bayer Leverkusen at the BayArena

With all to play for, die Werkself started like a house on fire, and when skipper Lars Bender crossed for Moussa Diaby his left-footed shot flew past the right-hand post.

The BayArena crowd was up for this game, and they roared their team on as Kerem Demirbay took a pot shot from outside the penalty area which whistled narrowly wide.

Then, on 11 minutes, Diaby took a pass from Lucas Alario and his shot cannoned off the left-hand post and away to safety.

Most pre-match Bayer Leverkusen vs Juventus betting tips were favourable to the hosts who were favourites to win at odds of 2.11, and they were certainly playing like the side with a mission. Alario had two headed efforts, one directed just wide and the second blocked by a resolute Juventus defence.

Ronaldo was on target when I Bianconeri beat Bayer 3-0 earlier in the competition, and he had the visitors’ first effort halfway through the first 45, but his effort flew across the face of goal and wide.

A minute later, Juan Cuadrado, who had been sent off during Juve’s loss to Lazio at the weekend, had a fine effort which went narrowly wide.

The best attempt of the half came when Karim Bellarabi found enough space in the penalty area to fire a shot towards the bottom left corner. But Juve’s veteran keeper Gigi Buffon was equal to it, getting down quickly to save.

I Bianconeri came out for the second half with more purpose, maybe with some words from Maurizio Sarri stinging their ears, but Ronaldo was just offside when Federico Bernardeschi put him through on goal.

Much of the wind seemed to have disappeared from die Werkself’s sails and Paulo Dybala came close to putting the visitors ahead midway through the second period. And with 15 minutes remaining, Dybala was the provider, putting a cross on a plate for Ronaldo to fire home.

That was that for Leverkusen and they offered little in the way of an attempted comeback, and even less in the way of resistance when Higuain took a pass from Dybala and fired the ball low into the corner.



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Key statistics

With 13 points already in the bag, Juventus were already through to the knockout stages as group winners, and when the Champions League 2019 updates filtered through, the news that Atleti were ahead at half-time was a serious blow to the German side.

Leverkusen totally dominated the first half with 58 per cent possession and 13 shots to three, but they only tested Gigi Buffon the once. But in the second half, they offered very little and nothing to trouble Buffon, while Juventus had two shots on target, both hitting the net.

This loss ended Leverkusen’s unbeaten run of six games in all competitions. They also continued to struggle at the BayArena in European games; they have won just two of their last nine Champions League games at home.

I Bianconeri have finished the group by winning their last five Champions League fixtures, but this was only the second win in six on their travels.

 

What’s next?

It’s back to domestic football at the weekend so keep it here for all the latest news, updates and SBOBET predictions.

Having lost last week to Lazio, the Old Lady is thanking her lucky stars that Inter missed the chance to pull clear, settling for a draw at home to Roma. Next up, Juventus are at home to Udinese, down in 16th place and with just one win in six.

Leverkusen have an away game to bottom club Cologne, followed by a home game against Hertha Berlin, another struggling team, down in 15th and with just one draw to show for the last six games. Peter Bosz’s team should recover from this setback and improve on its current position of sixth place over the next couple of weeks.

 

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17-Dec 2019 Tuesday 3:57 PM (64 days ago)            #7
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Champions League: Bayern Join Exclusive Club but Spurs’ Best Is yet to Come

Bayern Munich 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur

A night when the Champions League pressure was off – and it showed, to an extent.

After successive domestic defeats, Bayern Munich probably needed this result more than Spurs and the hosts deserved their success against last year’s finalists.

Yet with both sides already qualified for the knockout stages and unable to trade positions in Group B, it would be foolish to read too much into this result.

All I would say is study the SBOBET Champions League 2019 betting odds carefully after the draw is made next Monday and take a punt on one or both of these clubs to progress further.

I have a sneaking suspicion both will do well.

 

Highlights of the game

Both teams rested key men here, including star strikers Harry Kane and Robert Lewandowski, who is just one goal short of Karim Benzema for fourth place in the competition’s all-time scoring chart.

There was still plenty of firepower on show, though, and Benjamin Pavard saw a fine volley blocked just. Serge Gnabry then played a ball across the face of goal and Kingsley Coman steered in the opener.

That was in the 14th minute, but Spurs did not want for motivation after last time out against Bayern – the first time they had conceded seven goals at home in their 137-year history – and were level within six minutes.

Giovani Lo Celso picked out Ryan Sessegnon, who thrashed a shot beyond Manuel Neuer at the near post.

Injury forced Coman off but Bayern pressed on and regained the lead on the stroke of half-time. Thomas Müller, who replaced Coman, stabbed home from close range after Alphonso Davies’ shot hit a post and ricocheted kindly.

They think a lot of Davies in these parts.

They also think a lot of on-loan Philippe Coutinho, and he settled the contest just before the midway point in the second period. The Brazilian stepped inside a challenge on the edge of the area and bent a peerless shot beyond the grasp of Paulo Gazzaniga for one of the group stage Champions League 2019 highlights.

The goal confirmed Bayern as only the seventh team to win all six games in a Champions League group stage.

While the result was not in doubt, Spurs boss Jose Mourinho – who saw his side gain their first clean sheet under his stewardship just days before travelling to Germany – will likely not be too disappointed and will have gained an insight into which of his fringe and young squad players may be destined for better things.

Although few made the most of a rare outing, Spurs were never going to collapse defensively as they had in October. They should be a much tougher proposition when the competition resumes in February.

There again, beware Bayern too!

 

Key statistics

Muller scored his 28th Champions League goal at the Allianz Arena – only four players have ever scored more at a single venue in the competition (Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp and Cristiano Ronaldo, Raul and Benzema at the Bernabeu).

Sessegnon is the third-youngest player to score a Champions League goal under Mourinho, after Carlos Alberto (19 years, 167 days) and Mario Balotelli (18 years, 84 days).

Tottenham youngster Ryan Sessegnon hits an equaliser during their Champions League clash against Bayern Munich
Tottenham Hotspur's Ryan Sessegnon in action against Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng in the Champions League

He has also become the 13th different English teenager to score a Champions League goal, two more than any other nation net in the competition (France, 11).

Bayern became just the second club to win all six of their group games in a single Champions League campaign (in the competition's current format, since 2003-04) after Real Madrid, who have done so twice (in 2011-12 and 2014-15).

By collecting maximum points (18) and a goal difference of +19, Bayern became the best group winner in the history of the competition.

This was Bayern’s 23rd Champions League group campaign, fewer only than Barcelona and Real Madrid (both 24). They have now won their section 16 times.

Bayern have won 17 of their last 18 home group-stage matches (drawn one) and are unbeaten in Munich since a 3-2 home loss against Manchester City on Matchday 6 in December 2013.

Tottenham’s record in Germany is won five, drawn two, lost seven; they have lost only twice in their last seven visits (won three, drawn twice).

Mourinho has never beaten Bayern in Munich, while the Reds have not lost a Champions League group game on home turf in six years, winning 26 of 33 fixtures at the Allianz Arena in the competition since then.



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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

 

What’s next?

Bayern now try and rekindle their Bundesliga title defence with three important games in a week.

They host Werder Bremen on Saturday (December 14), travel to Freiburg four days later and then host Wolfsburg before the league closes down for a near-month winter break.

Spurs have big ones themselves before Christmas.

They are at Wolves on Sunday (December 15) before Mourinho welcomes former club Chelsea to north London on December 22.

 

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17-Dec 2019 Tuesday 4:00 PM (64 days ago)            #8
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Champions League: Real’s Samba Boys Shine in Win at Brugge

Club Brugge 1-3 Real Madrid

Real Madrid had nothing left to play for in their final Champions League Group A match. They had already secured passage through to the Round of 16 as the group's second-placed team behind Paris Saint-Germain.

As a result, Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane made several changes to his side and gave some players in his squad a run-out against Club Brugge. That included the young Brazilian duo of Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr., who both got the start upfront.

But despite fielding a somewhat weakened squad, the Champions League 2019 betting odds still had Madrid heavily favoured to beat Brugge. And they did just that thanks to their two Samba boys, who helped make sure there was no repeat of Madrid's slip-up at the Bernabeu against the Belgians.

 

Highlights of the game

The first real chance of the match fell to Madrid. Luka Modric's corner found Eder Militao, who rose high for a header. But the Brazilian centre-back was unable to get it on target.

Just a couple of minutes later, Brugge very nearly took the lead. Percy Tau directed a deflected cross toward goal, but Real keeper Alphonse Areola produced a fine reaction save to deny the Belgians. Meanwhile, the follow-up effort from Eder Balanta went wide.

Brugge keeper Simon Mignolet was then called into action on 14 minutes. Luka Jovic had a glorious opportunity to open his Champions League account, but the young Serb was thwarted by a good save by the former Liverpool keeper.

Real had another great chance to take the lead on 33 minutes through Isco. The Spanish midfielder did well to create space at the edge of the box, but his shot went agonisingly wide.

The match remained scoreless heading into half-time. But the visitors finally broke the deadlock seven minutes after the break. Right-back Alvaro Odriozola's cross found Rodrygo, who uncorked a sensational volley with the outside of his left foot.

The 18-year-old Brazilian made headlines with his memorable hat-trick against Galatasaray and his outstanding strike is another worthy addition to his growing collection of Champions League 2019 highlights.

However, Brugge hit back immediately. Some sloppy play at the back from Madrid gave the home side the opening they needed. Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis, who scored a brace in Brugge's surprise 2-2 draw against Madrid at the Bernabeu, was the provider for their equaliser.

Club Brugge bow out of the Champions League after falling to Real Madrid
Hans Vanaken scores the lone goal against Real Madrid

He shrugged off a challenge from Rodrygo and laid the ball off to Hans Vanaken, who produced a brilliant curling effort which gave Areola no chance.

But Brugge would be pegged back once again just after the hour mark, this time courtesy of Madrid's other prized Brazilian teen, Vinicius Jr. The pacey winger was quick to react to a loose ball in the six-yard box as he poked it past Mignolet.

Brugge had one last chance to snatch a late equaliser, which fell to Bonaventure. The Nigerian cut inside from the left-wing and curled in a shot on his right foot, but it whistled just wide of Areola's goal.

And just a few moments later, Luka Modric showed Bonaventure and Brugge how it's done as he fired home Madrid's third goal in stoppage time to seal the win.

 

Key statistics

As expected, Real Madrid dominated possession, 57 per cent to 43. They also edged out the home side in terms of shots (11-8) and shots on target (5-2).

Rodrygo and Vinicius both ended up with two goals apiece. Bonaventure was the busiest attacker for Brugge with three shots, although none ended up on target.

Meanwhile, Modric's goal was the 307th of this year's Champions League group stage, which set an all-time record.

 

What's next?

Real still need to wait Monday to find out their round of 16 opponents. As group runners-up, their five possible opponents -- Bayern Munich, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, or RB Leipzig -- are all quite daunting.

But before all that, Real will first need to turn their attention to La Liga, where they are level on points with Barcelona at the top of the table. After paying a visit to the Mestalla to face Valencia, they will head to the Camp Nou to play Barca in the first Clasico of the season. Don't forget to check out the SBOBET odds for that much-anticipated match once they're up!

As for Club Brugge, they will find themselves in the Europa League next year after finishing third in Group A.

 

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17-Dec 2019 Tuesday 5:11 PM (64 days ago)            #9
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Champions League Excitement Awaits Us All Next Spring!

As Champion League draws go, there was always going to be great excitement given the calibre of the sides to have reached the knockout stages.

But the 2019/2020 last 16 draw has thrown up a positive treat for football fans as the top clubs in Europe size each other up and aim to produce spring Champions League highlights.

Among a number of stand-out ties is the meeting between 13-time European champions Real Madrid and English champions Manchester City.

This past week has produced the best and most vulnerable of City.

They were magnificent against albeit a limited Arsenal yesterday, showcasing why, on their day, they remain the best team in the country.

Eight days earlier, their fragilities were exposed by a rampant Manchester United team which banished, however briefly, its inconsistency.

If the likes of Sergio Aguero, Leroy Sane and, most importantly of all, Aymeric Laporte have returned from injury by then, City will start the tie as favourites.

The SBOBET Champions League betting odds back that up too.

There is the ghost of 2016 to contend with though. That remains the closest City have ever come to reaching a Champions League Final – something which has long been an aim of Sheikh Mansour since the billionaire’s takeover of the club in 2008.

That year, Real edged them out in the semi-finals and City will surely relish taking on a side without the genius of Cristiano Ronaldo and with former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola no doubt keen to put one over his old adversaries.

The first leg will take place at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in what will be the third time Guardiola has met Los Merengues at Europe’s top table.

As Barca coach, he was victorious in the 2011 semi-final, which was memorable for a lot of the wrong reasons due to the unedifying behaviour of players on both sides, yet in his second knockout tie against Madrid with Bayern Munich, he was on the receiving end of a 5-0 hammering.

A lot can change, of course, between now and February when the first leg takes place and Madrid are slowly proving a few of their doubters wrong and currently joint top of La Liga.

While that is the stand-out tie, a number of others are close behind.

Chelsea v Bayern Munich is a repeat of the 2012 final when the west Londoners won their sole Champions League crown on Munich soil.

Chelsea may not have the calibre of senior players they had seven years ago but they will certainly test a Munich side which has not had its own way this term to date, including the sacking of manager Niko Kovac.

They are currently six points off the pace in the Bundesliga, yet I still expect them to retain their domestic title and they are my dark horses for the Champions League crown too.

The big screen shows the Champions League round of 16 draw Final results
General view of the big screen showing the results of the draw

Munich romped to the knockout stages by winning all six group matches and it will be interesting to see if interim coach Hansi Flick is still in charge come next spring.

Their German counterparts Borussia Dortmund’s reward for coming through a tough group that included Barcelona and Inter Milan is a meeting with French champions Paris St Germain - whose head coach Thomas Tuchel was in charge of Dortmund from 2015-2017.

RB Leipzig also topped their group and their first ever Champions League knockout clash will be against last year’s defeated finalists Tottenham Hotspur, given new impetus under the management of Jose Mourinho, twice a winner of the competition.

Another intriguing tie involving an English club will see holders Liverpool meet Atletico Madrid, beaten finalists in 2014 and 2016.

The Merseysiders start as favourites against a team weakened by key departures this summer including Antoine Griezmann, Diego Godin, Lucas Hernandez and Rodri.

Yet any side managed by Diego Simeone will be no pushovers.

Elsewhere, a Carlo Ancelotti-less Napoli meet Barcelona. The veteran coach was last week dismissed for issues not entirely related to his team's performances on the pitch and they have regularly punched above their weight with him at the helm.

For Ernesto Valverde, whilst on paper the draw is kind, there is an acute awareness that Barcelona suffered a disastrous result when they faced AS Roma in the knockout phase in 2018 and the Spanish coach can’t afford a repeat in Naples.

Two of the success stories against the odds meet each other with Atalanta hosting Valencia, while Ronaldo and Juventus will head to Lyon aiming to go further than last season when they were beaten at this stage.

The ‘old lady’ have played Lyon four times in the Champions League and are unbeaten against the Ligue 1 club, winning three and drawing once.

Roll on next spring!

 

 

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16-Jan 2020 Thursday 4:29 PM (34 days ago)            #10
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Champions League: Valverde, Domestic Battles and Liverpool’s Edge

After a short winter break, the Champions League excitement is beginning to rise once again as the high-intensity Round of 16 is just a month away.

Europe’s finest teams and some of the world’s best players will come face to face as we approach the business end of the competition, and one club has already made a bold, or some might say even a shock, move.

 

Barca sack Valverde

I’m not sure how many fans and pundits saw this one coming but Ernesto Valverde has been sacked by Barcelona upon returning from the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia. The timing seems odd with the Blaugrana top of La Liga, and his replacement Quique Setien isn’t exactly a big name in Europe’s highest echelons.

It’s the first time in 17 years the Catalans have sacked a head coach mid-season, and Valverde must be wondering what he’s done wrong after winning La Liga in both his full seasons in charge.

There have been lingering doubts over his ability to succeed in European competition, but to replace him with former Real Betis boss Setien has had Barca supporters scratching their heads.

The 61-year-old was linked with Premier League strugglers Watford, while Barca had been courting Xavi. In fact, Setien has been rumoured to have been Barcelona’s fourth choice.



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But he will be in charge for the Blaugrana’s Round of 1 tie against Napoli. The Italians are no pushovers and those fans who booed Valverde during Barca’s Supercopa defeat to Atletico Madrid will hope they haven’t persuaded the board to drop a clanger!

While the sacking of Valverde has dominated the week’s Champions League 2020 news the runners and riders have been battling for dominance in their domestic leagues.

 

Liverpool’s advantage

The Premier League stands out in European football as the one competition which can pretty much pick its winner now. Okay, PSG are looking good to win Ligue 1 with a five-point advantage over Marseille, but that’s nothing compared to Liverpool’s 14-point lead over Manchester City (with a game in hand).

Serie A is a fierce two-horse race between Juventus and Inter Milan, though Lazio are coming up on the rails, and La Liga is a fight between Barca and Real Madrid.

The Bundesliga is more competitive than it’s been for years. RB Leipzig, who have a winnable Champions League tie against Spurs, are top and four points ahead of third-placed FC Bayern, and six ahead of Borussia Dortmund.

All this means that reigning European champions Liverpool might just have an advantage. The league is in their grasp after a record-breaking start, no team in any of Europe’s major leagues has ever bettered the Reds’ 20 wins and a draw. That incredible form and momentum could carry the Reds through Europe.

Jurgen Klopp’s team left it a little late to confirm qualification but the Reds held their nerves to win a tricky tie in Salzburg, beating Red Bull 0-2.

And for the first time during this campaign, the Champions League 2020 betting odds have installed Liverpool as the clear favourites at odds of 4.70, but it’s a tight market. The SBOBET Champions League team, we writers and the statisticians, are divided on the outcome of course!

Both Barcelona and Manchester City are at odds of 5.00, with Juventus at 7.00, Paris Saint Germain at 7.80 and FC Bayern at 8.50.

 

Tie of the Round

You can make a case for any of those six (I fancy Manchester City), as well as Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid, available at 18.00. But they need to get past Pep Guardiola’s Sky Blues first.

Manchester City are gearing up for the Round of 16 of the Champions League
Riyad Mahrez celebrates scoring Manchester City's second goal against Aston Villa

When the draw for the knockout phase came out of the hat, Real Madrid against Manchester City was the one which caught the eye. The Manchester club are at 1.48 to beat Los Blancos over two legs with Zinedine Zidane’s Spaniards at 2.72.

The Sky Blues are in devastating form at the moment, destroying Aston Villa 1-6 at the weekend and, before that, blowing Manchester United away in the first half of the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final.

With the Premier League all but lost, the Champions League has become Guardiola’s main priority.

But ZZ’s team is in confident mood, having just won the Spanish Super Cup and keeping pace with Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

 

Round of 16 Draw in full

Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool

Borussia Dortmund vs Paris Saint Germain

Tottenham Hotspur vs RB Leipzig

Atalanta vs Valencia

Chelsea vs FC Bayern

Napoli vs Barcelona

Real Madrid vs Manchester City

Lyon vs Juventus

 

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05-Feb 2020 Wednesday 1:17 PM (14 days ago)            #11
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Champions League: Dangerous Dortmund, Cavani Drama, Barca’s Striker Search

The Champions League knockout round still won't begin for another few weeks, but recent developments around the top European sides are making those round-of-16 ties all the more intriguing.

For one, Borussia Dortmund are looking a lot more dangerous after Erling Braut Haaland's brilliant display on his Bundesliga debut.

Meanwhile, their opponents Paris Saint-Germain are in the middle of a big transfer saga, with Edinson Cavani wanting out and possibly landing on another Champions League contender.

And if that isn't enough striker news, Barcelona are reportedly planning to add another attacking option with Luis Suarez set to miss their round-of-16 matchup against Napoli.

So with less than a month to go before the start of the knockout round, let's take a closer look at three big news stories concerning the Champions League and how they figure to affect the different ties.

 

Haaland addition makes Dortmund more dangerous

It certainly didn't take long for Erling Braut Haaland to make his mark at Borussia Dortmund. The 19-year-old burst onto the scene by scoring a hat-trick in Dortmund's come-from-behind win over Augsburg.

SBOBET odds currently have Dortmund priced at 55.00 to win the Champions League, but Haaland's addition has made them a much more appealing dark horse contender.

With Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus, and Thorgan Hazard, Dortmund suddenly have one of the more dangerous attacking units in the tournament.

Haaland has already proven this season what he is capable of in the competition. He also scored a hat-trick on his Champions League debut against Genk and netted eight times in six group-stage appearances as Red Bull Salzburg just barely missed out on the last 16.

The teenager is clearly not fazed by the big stage and will relish the chance to lead the line against PSG. Paris manager -- and former Dortmund boss -- Thomas Tuchel will certainly have his hands full trying to keep Haaland from producing some Champions League 2020 highlights at his team's expense.

 

Cavani wants PSG exit, linked with Atletico, England clubs

Speaking of PSG, they have some transfer drama to take care of at the moment. That's because Edinson Cavani, the club's all-time top goalscorer, has made it clear he wants out of Paris.

Cavani has lost his regular place in the side as Tuchel has gone in favour of playing the "Fantastic Four" -- Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, Mauro Icardi, and Angel Di Maria -- in attack.

It will be hard for PSG in the Champions League if they sell their main striker, Edinson Cavani
Edinson Cavani reacts after their Ligue one clash against Toulouse

There is no shortage of suitors for Cavani's services. Atletico Madrid have been strongly linked, while a number of English clubs -- Chelsea, Tottenham, and Manchester United -- have also been mentioned as potential destinations.

But when asked about Cavani's future in France, Tuchel said he is all for the Uruguayan staying.

“I always said I like this squad. We do not want to lose any player during the transfer window. Today, Edinson is my player. I am glad it is the case. If that changes, we will adapt.”

Cavani has scored just five goals in 14 appearances this season amid some injury problems. Nonetheless, the 33-year-old still has something left to offer and has the ability to make an impact if he does arrive at Atletico, Chelsea, or Tottenham, especially with Harry Kane out injured.

 

Striker-needy Barcelona linked with Rodrigo, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Barcelona also have a striker injury to deal with as Luis Suarez will miss four months due to knee surgery. That means the Uruguayan will miss both legs against Napoli, leaving new Barca manager Quique Setien -- who took over for the sacked Ernesto Valverde -- short of options.

As a result, Barca plan to bring in another striker during the transfer window. Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Valencia's Rodrigo Moreno are two names that have been linked with the Catalans.

Aubameyang has had a fine season at Arsenal, scoring 16 goals in 26 appearances. Meanwhile, Rodrigo has just two goals in 17 La Liga appearances, with two more in the Champions League. Although, one of those goals sent Valencia to the round of 16.

But despite Rodrigo's lack of goal production, Valencia are unlikely to let him go, especially since they have a legitimate shot to defeat Atalanta and progress to the quarter-finals.

Landing another top striker like Aubameyang would certainly help improve Barcelona's Champions League 2020 odds. But even if they don't get an Aubameyang or Rodrigo, Barcelona should still be a strong bet to get past a struggling Napoli side. Messi can play in a false nine role if needed, while Antoine Griezmann is obviously capable of leading the line.

 

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05-Feb 2020 Wednesday 1:21 PM (14 days ago)            #12
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Champions League Means Success To City

The 2020 Champions League Round of 16 is upon us with two mouth-watering ties to get us underway on 18th February.

Borussia Dortmund host Paris Saint Germain, and reigning champions Liverpool visit Atletico Madrid, how’s that for starters? But the last match of the first round is the real blockbuster. When the draw was made, the big Champions League 2020 news was Real Madrid’s clash with Manchester City, two titans of the European game.

But there’s one big difference, and it’s a difference Manchester United fans will quite like. Los Blancos have won the most Champions Leagues of anyone, 13, and six ahead of Milan. Meanwhile, Manchester City are yet to trouble the scorers and the expensively assembled squad is under pressure to deliver this season.

Unbelievably it seems that head coach Pep Guardiola, for once, doesn’t have all the answers. He has won five major trophies since arriving at the Etihad in 2016, but his team is yet to succeed in Europe. Indeed, the Sky Blues have failed to make the semi-finals of the Champions League under Guardiola, having been dumped out of the competition by Liverpool, Monaco and Spurs.

 


 

 

And, after defeat to Spurs at the weekend, during the after-match post mortem, his players allegedly asked him to stop tinkering. Guardiola has not fielded the same starting eleven for back-to-back matches since the start of the campaign, and since Mikel Arteta left for Arsenal, he seems unsettled on a formation.

The former Barca and Bayern boss is a genius, and his experimenting is clearly designed to hand him the perfect formula against Los Blancos, and the latest SBOBET odds have Manchester City at 1.50 to qualify for the quarter-finals with Real Madrid at 2.66.

Los Blancos are at 19.00 to win the tournament, but they have a tough defence to break down, conceding just 13 in La Liga this season, and a striker in form in Karim Benzema. They lead the Spanish league at the moment and, if they beat City, I suspect their odds will drop to around 6.00.

 

Champions have a big advantage

When Liverpool rock up in Madrid they will do so with huge confidence, though no complacency. The Reds have a tangible edge over their European rivals in that they have their domestic league wrapped up, already 22 points clear of Manchester City, and now Jurgen Klopp’s side are clear favourites at odds of 3.50 to retain their European title.

They have been relentless in the league, dropping just two points, which is the best record of any European top-flight club at this stage of the season. Their opponents, Atletico, are not faring so well, down in sixth place in La Liga and 13 points behind Real. Los Rojiblancos lost their main goal threat in Antoine Griezmann and replacement Joao Felix is yet to fill his shooting boots.

Champions League: Cristiano Ronaldo already scored 9 consecutive goals in Serie A
Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Fiorentina

Big Guns ready to fire

Take a look at the latest Champions League 2020 betting odds and you have to say this year’s competition is wide open. The giants of Germany, Italy and France are serious contenders with FC Bayern at 7.90, Juventus at 8.00 and PSG at 8.60 to lift the title.

The Bundesliga has been contested by up to six teams so far, which is now down to four, and Bayern have risen to the top in preparation for the run-in. Similarly, Juventus are beginning to click through the gears at the top of Serie A, though a recent defeat to Napoli has kept the Old Lady on her toes. Cristiano Ronaldo has been in scintillating form, in Italy and in Europe, his goals propelling I Bianconeri to the top of qualifying Group D by a clear six points. And his two goals in last weekend’s 3-0 win over Fiorentina stretched his scoring run to nine league games, equalling David Trezeguet’s record.

Champions League: Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho is playing great at Borussia Dortmund with Erling Braut Haaland
Jadon Sancho scores his 25th goal for Borussia Dortmund during their match vs Union Berlin

Dangerous Dortmund

PSG probably have one of the most difficult tests in the Round of 16 when they take on Borussia Dortmund. Much like Manchester City the French billionaires are yet to break through the European glass ceiling. And their opponents have a combination of youth and experience which is oozing with class.

BVB’s teenage duo of Jadon Sancho and Erling Braut Haaland are making history in the German league. Sancho’s goal in the 5-0 destruction of Union Berlin made the England star the first teenager to score 25 Bundesliga goals. Meanwhile, new recruit Haaland is the first player to score seven goals in his opening three Bundesliga games.

The Norway international is a beast of a player, and one which will give the PSG defence a night they won’t forget.

Add to those two the experience of the excellent Marco Reus and you have an impressive attacking threat.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 05-Feb-2020 at 1:21 PM


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13-Feb 2020 Thursday 2:16 PM (6 days ago)            #13
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Champions League: Liverpool’s Repeat Bid, Guardiola Unfazed, Mbappe Aiming High

The Champions League is about to start in less than a week, and the final 16 teams are gearing up for the much-awaited European showcase.

Liverpool’s repeat bid will be easier said than done since the playing field looks to be tougher according to our Champions League 2020 odds as pointed out by my fellow writer in his previous post.

Other teams such as Dortmund, PSG, and Barcelona were very active in the transfer market in an attempt to reinforce their respective teams, while underrated teams such as RB Leipzig, Valencia, PSG, and Atalanta will look to make some noise.

Without further ado, SBOBET gives you a quick preview of what’s ahead.

 

Liverpool securing their big guns

The defending titlists in the Champions League are on the verge of making history in the Premier League as they’ve been undefeated for quite some time now.

Of course, their success story is due to the fact that Jurgen Klopp’s wards are stepping up to the challenge while playing under a great system.

With so many teams trying to break up the Reds, Liverpool will be prioritising maintaining their key cogs in order to prolong their team success.

Star defender Virgil Van Dijk has been reportedly offered a five-year extension to secure his future with Liverpool. The Netherlands international has been the fulcrum for the Reds on defence and at the attack and he was a lead candidate for last year’s Ballon d’Or award.

Another integral piece that needs to be kept is their midfielder in Roberto Firmino. Firmino was reportedly linked to Bayern Munich, which doesn’t appear to be a suitable destination for him since they already have the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry to spearhead their attack.

With Gini Wijnaldum’s contract talks with the Reds having reached an impasse, another name that has been floating around is their former player in Philippe Coutinho, but there aren’t any imminent developments yet as of this moment.

Liverpool will be one of the heavy favourites to make a deep run in the Champions League, and only a handful of teams are uniquely qualified to stop them.

 

Pep Guardiola takes things into perspective

Despite having won five major trophies since arriving at the Etihad in 2016, Pep Guardiola has yet to find success in Europe.

Manchester City had some bad luck over these past few Champions League campaigns as they failed to make it past the quarterfinals, having been dumped out by Liverpool, Monaco, and Tottenham.

This time around, his Sky Blues will get to face the resurgent Los Blancos in the first knockout phase, but the former Barca boss isn’t fazed whatsoever at the possibilities if ever they get eliminated early.

“I accept the challenge. I want to win the Champions League. I dream and will enjoy the games against Real Madrid to see what I can do,” said Guardiola in a recent interview.

“If we don’t beat them, then (people) will come and say ‘It’s not good enough, we want the Champions League. I’m going to sack you.’ Then I’ll say, ‘Ok thank you, it was a pleasure.’” he added.

Manchester City’s recent form has been lacklustre to say the least. They are fresh off losses from Tottenham and Manchester United both in the Premier League and in the Football League Cup while they struggled against Sheffield United and Crystal Palace.

Like City, Real Madrid also have some issues at the backline. And if the likes of Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, and Riyad Mahrez can take advantage of that, they are giving themselves a great chance to move on to the next round.

 

Kylian Mbappe has high hopes for PSG

Kylian Mbappe is set to spearhead PSG in the upcoming 2019/20 Champions League Round of 16
PSG's Kylian Mbappe in action during their League One match against Lyon

Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain have been in numerous transfer rumours lately, but their focus remains on trying to win their first-ever Champions League title.

“I would be proud to be able to obtain a first big European trophy for Paris, the Champions League, and to continue to win with our country – that’s my dream,” said Kylian Mbappe.

“They say dreams are inaccessible and at the moment, but I will try to accomplish this dream,” he emphasized.

Their chances of making a deep run in the Champions League seem to be slim, especially with Neymar out due to injuries. Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi are expected to carry the load.



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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

PSG will face a dangerous Borussia Dortmund squad who has been hitting their stride as of late. Since acquiring Erling Haaland last January, BVB have scored at least three goals in all of their games in the Bundesliga and in the DFB Pokal. The 19-year-old wunderkind is expected to do more of the same for Dortmund by producing some of the best Champions League 2020 highlights.

The Parisians won the UEFA Winners’ Cup in 1996 but they have yet to win in the Champions League or in the European Cup in their 49-year history. They failed to advance in the quarterfinals last year when they were booted out by Manchester United.

 

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CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR MORE FOOTBALL STORIES & ODDS

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 13-Feb-2020 at 2:16 PM


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