Bayern Munich and Shakhtar Donetsk will continue their battle for a place in the Champions League quarter-finals. After the first-leg match in war-torn Ukraine three weeks ago, which ended in a disappointing scoreless draw, Guardiola’s star-studded Bayern need a victory in their own stadium in order to proceed to the next round. According to the bookmakers, a Bayern victory is more than realistic with odds of 1.22.
Borussia Dortmund are looking forward to a great Champions League night. After their narrow 2-1 away loss to Juventus, Klopp’s side still has all chances in the second leg. Dortmund will be under pressure but they have scored an important away goal and could advance to the next round if they win at home. It remains to be seen if Dortmund can continue their positive run with a win against Juventus and get completely back on track again this season.
Hakan Calhanoglu’s sensational strike earned Bayer Leverkusen a 1-0 win in the first leg of the last-16 clash against Atletico Madrid. Leverkusen’s performance against the current Spanish champion was impressive and they defended intelligently but they have not yet secured qualification for the next round. Diego Simeone was disappointed as his side failed to score an away goal which could make it difficult to overturn the narrow deficit at home. A single away goal for Leverkusen in the return game would turn the tables and get Schmidt’s side closer to the next round. Nonetheless, Leverkusen are considered outsiders by bettors with relatively high odds of 6.20.
Schalke will face a tough test and have to overturn a 2-0 deficit against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Everyone is talking about the amazing 6-1 victory of the “White Ballet” over Schalke in last year’s Champions League Round of 16. Schalke are not without chances but Real’s strong performance in the first-leg match and their exceptional individual quality reflect the class difference between the sides. All but the victory of the Champions League holders would be a surprise. Those who bet on a Schalke victory can earn high odds of 19.00.
Duel of the Giants
Barcelona have taken a big step towards the next round with a 2-1 away win against Manchester City in the “duel of the giants”. Messi & co are also heavily favoured to win the second-leg match at Nou Camp with odds of 1.51. Monaco have the best chances of entering the next round as they comfortably defeated Arsenal London 3-1 at Emirates Stadium in the first leg of their Champions League tie. However, the bookmakers believe that Arsenal can spring a surprise and turn the tables in the battle for a place in the quarter-finals (odds of 2.50).
The clash between Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain is poised on the razor’s edge. Mourinho’s side managed to secure an away goal in the first game when Branislav Ivanovic took the lead in the 36th minute. Edinson Cavani equalised in the 54th minute and kept the hopes for Paris alive. In the bettor’s view, Chelsea take a small advantage back to west London due to the away goal rule (odds of 1.95). A similar situation arose in a game between Basel and Porto. The Swiss took the lead by Derlis González early in the 11th minute. A late penalty by Danilo allowed Porto to escape a difficult night in Switzerland with an away goal and a 1-1 draw against a Basel side that didn’t play much flowing football. The bookmakers expect Porto to advance to the next round with odds of 1.55.