EUROPEAN football expert Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) runs the rule over Tuesday's Champions League tussle between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Real Madrid v Bayern Munich | Tuesday 19:45 | BT Sport
Real Madrid are as short as 21/10 (Marathon) to become the first side ever to retain the Champions League and the statistics suggest Los Blancos are near certainties to seal their spot in the semi-finals.
Only six sides in the history of the European Cup have failed to qualify after winning the first leg away – that’s 303/309 (98%) clubs over a 61-year spell – and puts the defending champions in the driving seat for Tuesday’s return leg.
Odds of 1/3 (Boylesports) – implied probability of 75% – on Real Madrid in the To Qualify market could therefore be considered value. But we’re not here to be recommending 1/3 shots, eh?
Pendulum swings in Madrid’s favour
A week in football is a long time and Real arrived in Bavaria concerned about the state of their central defence. With Pepe and Raphael Varane injured, Nacho was asked to partner Sergio Ramos; the former lost Arturo Vidal from a corner and Madrid were 1-0 down in Munich midway through the first-half.
And FC Hollywood could have taken a commanding advantage when Vidal inexplicably blazed over a penalty and despite having 11 attempts during a solid first-half performance, Bayern entered the interval with only a one-goal advantage.
Then 97 seconds into the second-half, Madrid were level as Cristiano Ronaldo struck. The tide turned in the Spaniards’ favour following Javi Martinez’s sending off and Ronaldo added a second as Los Blancos dominated the final 45 minutes, restricting Bayern to just two second-half shots.
With Javi Martinez now banned plus star striker Robert Lewandowski and centre-halves Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng facing a race against time to be passed fit for the Bernebeu meeting, Carlo Ancelotti could be staring down the barrel when he comes to select his side.
In fairness, all three are expected to be in serious contention but the veteran Italian will still need a minor miracle to turn this tie back in their favour.
David Alaba and Joshua Kimmich appear the most likely pair to be considered for centre-half duty with Juan Bernat featuring at left-back. Meanwhile, with Thomas Muller ineffective at the Allianz Arena in the central striking role, Bayern's over-reliance on Polish goal-machine Lewandowski was there for all to see.
Bayern have returned just W6-D3-L7 in Champions League away days over the past two campaigns, securing an uninspiring W1-D3-L3 when involved in knockout ties outside of Munich. That sole success? Arsenal.
The visitors faced 12 shots on-target from Madrid in Munich – more than in any Champions League game since Opta began analysis in 2003/04 – and with only one clean sheet in eight outings in this competition, it’s nigh-on impossible to back the Germans to enhance that record here.
Real have scored in 54 successive fixtures, have notched in a record 34 Champions League home games on the spin since 2011 and can also lay claim to a W34-D4-L2 record when hosting continental opposition here since 2010/11.
Zinedine Zidane’s charges have suffered just one reverse in 22 Champions League matches since the start of last season and although Gareth Bale has been ruled out here, it’s hard to oppose the counter-attacking kings when the contest is already weighed in their favour.
The defensive flaws from the first leg haven’t been eradicated – Real have kept one shutout in 12 – but their ability to cut teams apart on the counter can’t be dismissed and is likely to prove the decisive factor on Tuesday.
The betting angles
Madrid have won all three of their knockout games in this season’s Champions League despite conceding the opening goal and their kamikaze approach has seen the hosts fall behind in eight of their last 13 encounters, so 8/1 (888) quotes on Los Blancos winning from behind are appealing.
But I’m going to play it safer and back the bulbous 11/13 (BetVictor) available on Real Madrid off a scratch 0 start on the Asian Handicap line. Working in the exact same format as the Draw No Bet market, we’ll get our stake back if the match ends all-square.
Elsewhere, I couldn’t put you off a wee nibble on the 11/4 (BetStars) for Madrid to win alongside Both Teams To Score. Zidane’s troops have kept only 10 clean sheets in 33 victories across all competitions this term whilst the home side have recorded only three shutouts from 22 games in which Ramos has started.
Goals punters will also be keen to learn that Los Blancos have scored at least twice in all of their nine Champions League showdowns this season with all nine also rewarding BTTS backers. Meanwhile, the two clubs have kept a collective two clean sheets in 18 continental clashes this term with Over 2.5 Goals paying-out in 15 fixtures.
Real Madrid v Bayern Munich – Real Madrid 0 Asian Handicap (11/13 BetVictor)