Champions League Round of 16: Winners & Losers of 2nd Leg Games
Midway through the round of sixteen and twelve teams remain in contention for this season’s Champions League. However, there are a few sides that can be discounted as possible Champions. Ajax, shock winners against defending Champions Real Madrid, have little realistic chance of lifting the trophy and the same is true of Schalke, Porto and Olympique Lyonnais.
It took a penalty in extra time to finally separate Porto and Roma as the Portuguese outfit scrambled through. The bad news for Porto is that it will get harder from now on and the quarter-finals should be as far as the team will get. Current odds on Porto winning the Champions League have shortened to 50/1 but it may as well be 500/1 as there is little chance of beating the remaining teams regardless of the next round draw.
Manchester United (8/1)
2-0 down in the first leg and looking certain to exit the competition, Manchester United had more than a large slice of luck when they faced Paris Saint-Germain in the return fixture. Defensive errors from PSG had gifted the Red Devils two goals but they still looked on the way out with the score at 2-1 for United and seconds remaining on the clock. That’s when fortune, VAR technology and referee Skomina came to United’s aid when awarding a very late, very fortunate and very controversial penalty. United cannot ride their good luck all the way to the final and those odds of 8/1 should increase dramatically once the better clubs make it through.
Tottenham Hotspur (12/1)
Despite easily dismissing Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund 4-0 on aggregate and winning both home and away legs, there remains a question mark over Tottenham Hotspur’s current well-being. Three defeats and a draw in the last four Premier League outings is hardly the form of potential European Champions and the Londoners’ run should come to a halt in the quarter-finals. Odds of just 12/1 for Spurs to win a first Champions League title are way too short and not even worth considering.
Undoubtedly the top performance, and biggest shock, of this round of sixteen was Ajax’s 4-1 trouncing of holders Real Madrid. The victory was even more amazing considering that Ajax lost the first leg 2-1 at home and then completely turned it around playing away in Madrid. Now down to just 20/1, the Dutch team is relatively young and could prove difficult for any opponent to overcome. Probably not good enough to win the title but Ajax may surprise a few people by making it to the semi-finals if getting a favourable draw.
(150/1) Lyon v Barcelona (4/1)
Olympique Lyonnais did remarkably well to hold Barcelona to a scoreless draw in the first meeting but that will count for nothing in the Bernabeu next Wednesday evening. Barca were untypically wasteful in front of goal in the first leg and will surely not fire as many blanks in this home tie. Suarez and Messi could have a field day in what should be a routine victory for the La Liga table-toppers and a final score of four or five nil would not be a huge surprise.
(11/1) Bayern Munich v Liverpool (9/1)
It would seem to be advantage Bayern Munich following a scoreless draw in the away leg of this tie. The bookmakers clearly fancy the German side to come out on top and quote a home win at around even money. However, the real advantage could lie with Liverpool as any victory or score draw would see the Reds go through. Both teams are currently priced around 10/1 to lift the cup but those odds will probably be halved on whichever team gets through. Bayern rattled six goals past Wolfsburg without reply at the weekend and will be in confident mood for this but Liverpool will surely create chances and an away victory for last season’s beaten finalists looks a nice bet at around 12/5.
(16/1) Juventus v Atletico Madrid (8/1)
Having lost the first leg 2-0 to Atletico Madrid the odds on Juventus going all the way in this season’s completion have tumbled out to a massive 16/1. However, if any team can turn around a two goal deficit it’s the reigning Italian Champions. A Juventus victory next Tuesday can be backed at 4/6 which is surprisingly good as the home team will give their all to make it through and even backing Juve minus a goal to win looks good value at a price of almost 2/1.
(12/5) Manchester City v Schalke (500/1)
Rank 500/1 outsiders Schalke must fear the worst as they prepare for their game with favourites Manchester City. Having led City 2-1 at half-time in the first leg at home, Schalke then capitulated to two late goals from Sane and Sterling leaving them with the proverbial mountain to climb. Despite their 3-2 first leg lead and home advantage, 12/5 Champions League favourites City will not be tempted to field a weakened side although De Bruyne, Laporte and Fernandinho are injury concerns. Schalke can expect nothing less than a two or three goal defeat with Aguero a likely scorer.
Currently priced at around 12/5 to lift the Champions League trophy, the odds on Manchester City will be cut slightly once Schalke have been disposed of. The quarter-final line-up already includes Porto, Ajax, Manchester United and Spurs who should be joined by Barcelona and probably Juventus and Liverpool. Barcelona will remain second favourites at an estimated 3/1. Juventus, if successful, should shorten significantly to around four or five to one closely followed by Liverpool (or Bayern Munich) at sixes. These teams should be the main contenders with a bet on Ajax reaching the semi-finals possibly worth a small interest wager.