The Champions League has seen some thrilling football. Who would have thought Barcelona would crash out to Atlético Madrid? And did we really believe that Manchester City would topple a very impressive PSG side?
We’re now into the Champions League Semi-Final 2016, and the final four will battle it out for a place in the final at the San Siro in Milan. Manchester City take on Spanish giants Real Madrid while Atlético Madrid go up against Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich.
Let’s take a look into Champions League Semi-Final betting with these two very exciting match ups, who will make it to Milan.
Manchester City vs. Real Madrid
Match Dates: 26 April/4 May
Top Scorers: Kevin De Bruyne/Raheem Sterling 3 (MC), Cristiano Ronaldo 16 (RM)
Manchester City have looked confident and strong in this year’s Champions League campaign. City have made it into the semi-finals for the first time in the club’s history. They have never come this close to Champions League glory, only to meet Champions League veterans and all-time leading competition winners, Real Madrid. They face a tough test against a Zidane-inspired and a Ronaldo-driven team.
If City manage to beat the La Liga giants then they could be facing incoming manager Pep Guardiola in a mouth-watering final. The first leg will be in Manchester at the Etihad Stadium on 26 April, with the return leg in Spain’s capital on 4 May.
This could be a disadvantage for City, with current manager Pellegrini stating that he’d prefer the home fixture as the second leg. City will have to put in a top performance and score a few goals if they are going to cause an upset in Madrid. Real are a strong side at home and have already turned a 2-0 deficit around against Wolfsburg in their quarter-final second leg game at the Bernabéu, courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick. Ronaldo is already the competition’s all-time leading goal scorer and will almost certainly get past Joe Hart on at least one occasion.
These teams last met in the Champions League group stages four years ago. City lost 3-2 in an action-packed game. The blues have since signed some big players and no doubt look like a stronger side. Pellegrini will fight fire with fire by backing a Sergio Aguero, Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva strike force to bag more goals than Real’s Galacticos, led by Ronaldo. City will attack with full force, but will it be enough to break Real’s defence?
City’s defence has been somewhat leaky this season, and conceding one goal against Real could open a flood of goals. But then again, Madrid’s defence is just as leaky.
Ultimately, City’s chances will rest on two key aspects: firstly, luck, and secondly, a full squad of fit players.
If they are going to survive Real Madrid then they will need the likes of Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Yaya Toure in the side. City have a strong core but one or two injuries could hinder any hope of a victory.
Madrid are obvious favourites to take the victory. Pellegrini is no stranger to Spanish football and he’s no stranger to Real Madrid, having managed them back in 2010. City just scraped past PSG but Madrid are a stronger team and will prove a much tougher test. City are well worth a bet, the odds are favourable. A 1-0 or 2-1 victory at home and a draw at the Bernabéu would be my bet.
Although it looks like Madrid could cruise past City, I do feel that City have a good enough chance to defeat Madrid and make a statement in Europe. City will be looking to create club history. It would be a fitting end to Pellegrini’s reign before he is replaced by Bayern’s Pep Guardiola in the summer.
Atlético Madrid vs. Bayern Munich
Match Dates: 27 April/3 May
Top Scorers: Antoine Griezmann 6 (AM), Robert Lewandowski 8 (BM)
The other Champions League Semi Final brings us another thrilling match-up. It will be a battle of the brains for the managers as Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola and Atlético Madrid’s Diego Simeone go head-to-head. These two managers know each other well from Guardiola’s time in La Liga with Barcelona.
Guardiola will have a tough time beating Simeone’s defensive tactics if he will want to add Champions League glory with Munich to his already-impressive managerial CV.
These two sides have only ever played each other twice before and have not met in the last 40 years.
Atlético Madrid have just dumped last year’s winners Barcelona out of the cup with a convincing 2-0 win. They are still in the La Liga title chase, only three points off leaders Barcelona. Atlético’s Antoine Griezmann is the danger man in attack but it’s Atlético Madrid’s solid back four, reliable midfield and managerial genius that are proving to be the difference.
Munich have a dangerous team and have always performed well in the Champions League. Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller both have 8 goals in 10 games in this year’s Champions League. Pep Guardiola will be looking to end his time with the German champions with Champions League glory.
Although Bayern Munich are natural favourites, it’s Simeone’s managerial masterclass that makes his side a good bet. He has held his own against a stronger Real Madrid and Barcelona side in recent years, recognising that his tactics can beat talent. He just needs to come up with the goods to counter Douglas Costa, Franck Ribery, Kingsley Coman and (if fit) Arjen Robben up the middle.
It will be Arturo Vidal who could make the difference. The Chilean is capable of mixing it physically with Atlético’s midfielders. Koke will be another key man for Simeone. He’s a workhorse who puts in a defensive shift as well as acting as playmaker. Koke will be crucial to Simeone’s plan to break down Bayern’s masterful midfield. He’s often given a role where he switches positions with or without ball possession.
It will be close and entertaining, but my bet stays with Atlético. It’s a close call but the tempting odds sway me towards the underdogs. Although, a Manchester City and Bayern Munich final would be tasty, with Guardiola going up against his future employers.