Bayern Munich vs PSG | Wednesday 7th April 2021, 20:00 | BT Sport
Regular readers of WLB will know I covered Bayern Munich’s visit to Leipzig at the weekend and bottled backing them to win at odds against – and although they are a shade of odds on here, I’m not making the same mistake twice.
With the prolific Robert Lewandowski ruled out for up to four weeks with a knee injury, and the main reason for the oversized price, the Bavarians will have to find a way to win without him to progress to the UCL semi-final stage.
Counter acting that team news though is the far greater underestimated loss of Marco Verratti for the Parisians.
Of course, any side on the planet would miss a striker that has this season plundered 35 Bundesliga goals from 25 appearances, five UCL goals in six and was on an eight-match goal streak during which he racked up 13 goals prior to his injury on international duty.
However, with the likes of Leroy Sane, Kingsley Coman, and Thomas Muller to name but a few Bayern have match winning star quality in considerable depth to cover the loss of their talisman just as they did at the weekend in effectively, or is that efficiently, clinching the domestic title by defeating second placed RB Leipzig.
A Verratti shorn PSG though are missing their creative link to their match winners and if we take a look at their defeats starting from their group stage loss in Paris to Manchester United for which the Italian was injured, there is a concerning trend for all supporters of the French side.
Les Rouge et Bleu have suffered a total of eight defeats in that time frame, another UCL group defeat at the hands of Leipzig with three of the six defeats in Ligue 1 coming with Verratti absent and one more when he didn’t start the home game with Monaco. Just twice have they lost with him in their starting eleven.
Most recently and possibly most tellingly in stark contrast to Bayern, was their 1-0 defeat in his absence to title rivals and league leaders Lille at the weekend.
Hansi Flicks side are an ultra-consistent ruthless machine with an are unbeaten run of 19 games in this competition winning an incredible 18 – they have also won the last three competitive head to heads against PSG who I can’t help but feel have some psychological hurdle to overcome having only progressed in two of six previous UCL quarter-final ties whilst still chasing their holy grail of a first Champions League trophy.
I’m happy to take the 19/20 with William Hill for the Germans to take a first leg advantage with them to France.
One player omitted from the list above who again readers of my piece from Saturday will be happily familiar with after he landed us a juicy 16/1 win is Leon Goretzka – and with just a couple of points shaved off his price by Bet 365 I am going to have to go in again as the 14/1 just seems still too big.
In a midfield void of Verratti this could be set up perfectly for the German international and his bursts in to the box – just as he did to strike with the only goal of the game in the weekend victory at the Red Bull Arena making it four goals from his last eight competitive fixtures including three openers.
If the game plays out how I have envisioned it the final selection will revolve around the levels of frustration the visitors will be feeling.
We need a player who doesn’t take losing well, a short fuse and with a recent reputation for picking up cards – how fortunate for us that Neymar Jr is back from injury with a 20-minute cameo off the bench at Lyon followed by a start against Lille – only cut short by an injury time dismissal for picking up two yellow cards. Perfect!
The 29-year-old Brazilian has picked up two cautions in his five UCL starts this season and has a pretty impressive haul of six yellows and two red cards from 18 starts overall.
I am pretty certain he will be targeted by the experienced Munich campaigners and equally will get frustrated if this tie isn’t going his way – so all we need now is a referee who isn’t concerned by reputation or afraid to get his cards out – oh look it's our good friend Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz.
Lahoz has flourished his yellow card on 20 occasions in his four Champions League matches this campaign, whilst also handing out 64 cards in the 14 La Liga games he has overseen, giving him an average of 4.67 cards per match.
He warmed up for this one during the international break by taking seven names in the Slovenia v Croatia clash and on his return to domestic action took just two minutes to show his first yellow card before ending with a haul of seven plus a red when taking charge of Alaves v Celta Vigo.
So, on current form Neymar needs to be on his best behaviour – which I’m not too sure he will manage so therefore – although the price is skinny, I will take the best on offer for him to be shown a card, which is 2/1 with Unibet. Interestingly the same firm go only 14/1 Neymar is sent off – but I can’t resist playing it with some loose change so a switch to Bet365 sees a far more appetising 33/1.
Bayern Munich vs PSG – Bayern Munich to win (19/20 William Hill)
Bayern Munich vs PSG – Leon Goretzka First Goalscorer (14/1 each-way Bet365)
Bayern Munich vs PSG – Neymar to get a card (2/1 Unibet)
Bayern Munich vs PSG – Neymar to be Sent Off (33/1 Bet365)