Lyon vs Bayern Munich | Wednesday 19th August 2020, 20:00 | BT Sport
Lyon pulled off more Champions League magic by knocking out tournament favourites Manchester City in Lisbon but face their toughest test on their route to the final against the formidable Bayern Munich.
Rudi Garcia’s men were outstanding in their Quarter-Final tie, negating the attacking threats of their English opponents well and perhaps not getting as much of the plaudits they deserved with much of the post-game discussion focused on the failings of City.
Of course, Pep Guardiola’s tactical switch to a 3 man defence benefitted Lyon enormously, but the players showed that the two legged victory over Juventus was no fluke and that no matter how the opposition set-up, they should not be underestimated.
The are heavy outsiders for this semi-final which will appeal to some looking to get them on side again at big prices but there’s a reason for the odds – Bayern. The Bavarians proved on Friday night just how good of a team they are, absolutely destroying Barcelona to win 8-2 which certainly didn’t flatter them.
Right from the first whistle, Bayern showed their intent and it was a joy to behold to watch them continue to find the gaps in the Spanish side’s defence time and time again. Of course, there’s cause for concern at the back, but to score eight goals against a club the calibre of Barca is very special indeed, even if it was the worst iteration of the Catalans we’ve seen for many years.
Bayern to come out firing
The starting XI that performed so well and recorded 26 shots are unlikely to be changed despite an impressive two goal cameo from Coutinho off the bench. That shot number is remarkable in a last eight tie but not uncommon for Bayern in the Champions League with the team averaging 23.3 per match in this season’s competition.
I’m therefore happy to back the team to have 18 or more shots which is Evens with SkyBet. It’s landed in seven of their nine European games in 2019/20 and with Lyon conceding this mark against Manchester City, the stats are in our favour.
Bayern are not the type of side to take their foot off the gas if they take the lead and are always looking for more goals – as the Barcelona game showed as does 112 goals in 34 matches under Flick. They go for the kill with such an elite mentality in the squad and have humiliated many an opponent over the year with heavy scoreline.
Gnabry to take aim
As we’re looking at shots, it’s hard to resist the even money offering with Bet365 on Serge Gnabry to have Over 2.5 Dhots. He’s had a remarkable domestic and European season, scoring seven goals in the Champions League to leave many in English football who wrote him off years ago scratching their heads as to the transformation in the winger’s career.
With an average shots-per-game total of 3.1 across the season, double your money odds are generous with the same bet as short as 3/10 elsewhere. The Stuttgart-born attacker has hit the three or more marker in five of his seven starts in this competition including the quarter-ginal rout where he found the net again so he’s full of confidence in a team that create chance after chance for each other.
Goretzka to get amongst it
My only other play for the game involves a player who has been magnificent for the Reds – midfielder Leon Goretzka. The former Schalke man completely bossed the middle of the park against Barcelona and has arguably been the most improved player in the squad since the resumption of football, slotting into a deeper role but still have an influence at the top end of the pitch.
Having played in an attacking midfield position in the early part of the season, his tackle averages are skewed somewhat which is reflective in some of the prices available on 3+ tackles which is a bet I like here.
I highlighted in my last preview piece how common central midfield tackles are for teams facing Lyon in European football this season so that and Goretzka’s recent tackle numbers make the 33/20 price with Pokerstars very backable.
Although the 25 year-old has a tackle-per-game average of 1.3 across the entirety of 2019/20, that rises to 2.3 when just factoring in his appearances in the defensive midfield two where he’ll line up again here with Joshua Kimmich filling in at right-back.
Goretzka’s average tackles in the Champions League stands at exactly 3 per match in defensive midfield including three last time out against Barcelona, the most of any player on the pitch.
There isn’t much value on Bayern in the outrights so these three prop plays gives us a bit of alternative interest.