CAN Real Madrid turn this tie on its head? Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) eyes up the best bets from the Bernebeu.
Real Madrid v Wolfsburg | Tuesday 19.45 | BT Sport 2
Since 1970 just 19% of teams to lose the first leg of a European Cup or Champions League tie away from home 2-0 have progressed.
Indeed, just two of the previous 15 clubs to lose a first leg of a Champions League tie 2-0 on their travels have overcome two-goal hurdle to qualify.
And did you know, Real Madrid’s last eight attempts at overturning first leg deficits in this competition ended in failure?
It all sounds rather bleak for Real supporters. But since 2013, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Manchester United have all roared back from two-goal first leg defeats and you’d have to assume Los Blancos will go close here.
Zinedine Zidane’s squad were well below-bar in last Wednesday’s clash, managing just three shots-on-target in Wolfsburg – their lowest tally in a Champions League game since October 2012. But were Madrid still punch drunk from their Clasico victory? Quite possibly.
The resounding 2-0 reverse has focussed minds in the Madrid camp and Saturday’s routine 4-0 thumping of Eibar was achieved without a host of Real’s star-studded squad. The cavalry should return here as the 10-time champions bid to enhance a W9-D0-L1 home record under Zidane.
Real have tended to be ruthless operators in front of their home supporters. This season the hosts have W18-D1-L2 at the Bernabeu and that record reads W12-D0-L1 since December – Los Blancos plundering at least three goals in 11 of those 13 outings at a ridiculous rate of 4.77 goals-per-game.
In fact, nine of those 12 triumphs were by a three-goal margin and having W29-D3-L2 in their past 34 Champions League dates as hosts, Real are understandably strong favourites on the night.
More recently, Madrid have pocketed 16 wins from their last 18 continental clashes, 10 of which were achieved by scorelines that would at least take the tie to extra time, and eight by margins that would see Real through in 90 minutes.
It’s been well documented that the Spanish giants are yet to leak a Champions League goal at the Bernabeu this season but Roma and PSG could and should have picked up results in the capital, failing to net when well on top. And Madrid’s lack of an away goal does leave them exposed here.
Wolfsburg are likely to field the same XI that secured victory in Germany, to give them an enormous and unforeseen opportunity to progress into Europe’s final four. Andre Schürrle will spearhead the attack with Julian Draxler’s pace and trickery plus first-leg goalscorer Maximilian Arnold providing the support.
And although the Wolves have a poor return in front of goal on their travels in Bundesliga action, head coach Dieter Hecking will be acutely aware an away goal leaves Real requiring four goals to progress.
The Lower Saxony side have managed just 11 goals in 14 away league games – six of which came in their trips to the bottom two – and their horrible road record also makes the Germans vulnerable visitors here.
Wolfsburg have won just twice in nine road trips and humbled 3-0 at Bayer Leverkusen in the match preceding the first leg contest. Hecking’s charges boast the Bundesliga’s second worst away record and have W5-D4-L10 on their travels across all competitions in 2015/16.
Going back to 2013/14, the guests have W16-D12-L20 in away Bundesliga dates, shutting out just 7/48 (15%) of their hosts. Ten of those 20 defeats were by margins of at least two goals and considering the cumbersome centre-half partnership of Dante and Naldo is standing in Real’s way, I do have my reserves.
The Wolves have shipped at least two goals in three of their four European journeys this term but arguably the final nail in the coffin comes from German clubs’ records when travelling to Spain when excluding Bayern Munich’s exploits.
Football Form Labs’ data shows us that since the start of the nineties, Bundesliga clubs have beaten in 20 of 23 trips to La Liga teams, including eight of nine knockout matches, with seven defeats by at least two goals and four by three or more goals.
The data doesn’t give too much credence to Wolfsburg’s hopes of completing a famous upset but with Madrid far from secure defensively and an away goal changing the face of this tie again, I’m happy to avoid the To Qualify market and instead invest in the Asian Handicap offer from BetVictor.
We can back Real Madrid -2 at 7/8 knowing a two-goal victory exactly will see our stake returned as a push – we’ll profit should Los Blancos triumph by three or more goals and only lose our stake if the hosts win by exactly one goal, draw or lose on Tuesday night.
Elsewhere, if Real are going to romp their way to the semi-finals you’d expect Cristiano Ronaldo to play a leading role. Therefore, I’ll happily support the 2/1 quotes on offer from BetVictor for CR7 to score two or more goals.
Ronaldo has struck 23 goals in his past 13 games at the Bernabeu, as well as 37 goals in 35 Champions League ties in the Spanish capital since his move to Madrid. This season the Portuguese superstar has scored or assisted 74% of Real Madrid’s Champions League goals (17 out of 23) whilst also notching 30+ goals for the sixth successive season.
Real Madrid v Wolfsburg – Real Madrid -2 Asian Handicap (7/8 BetVictor)
Real Madrid v Wolfsburg – Cristiano Ronaldo to score two or more goals (2/1 BetVictor)
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