The Premier European competition is back in play this week as we now arrive at the second half of the group stages in the Champions League. The initial matches are usually cagey affairs and now we reach the ‘do or die’ phase of the league, we can expect some more frantic performances and some expansive play resulting in goals goals goals. Here is our juicy treble.
Juventus v Real Madrid – 7.45pm Tuesday
Goals Galore odds – 1/2 Betfred
A mouth watering spectacle faces us in Turin as Spanish giants Real Madrid visit the champions of Italy, Juventus. When the pair met two weeks ago at The Bernabeu, the home side took the significant three points in a 2-1 win, which would be joy to our Goals Galore ears if they replicate that scoreline.
Juventus have scored at least two goals in every home game this season, which will be a big ask to improve on against a side of the magnitude of Real Madrid nonetheless Juve did manage to get their goal in Spain, showing they have the blueprint to do so. All in all, I cannot see them firing a blank in light of their home scoring record, in a match they will be so desperate to win.
Victory for Real Madrid here will allow them to enjoy their final two games against Galatasaray and FC Kobenhavn, safe in the knowledge the group has been won. A win is not essential and they may be happy to take a draw against a strong Juventus outfit however I can certainly see the Italians scoring which means Madrid will need to reply. Cristiano Ronaldo is on fire at the moment having scored ten goals in his last seven games and you wouldn’t bet against him improving that record on Tuesday
Olympiakos v Benfica – 7.45pm Tuesday
Goals Galore odds – 4/5 Betfred
Group C is fascinatingly balanced, we have runaway leaders Paris Saint Germain who are on maximum points of nine, rock bottom are the whipping boys from Belgium, Anderlecht on zero points and then finely placed in the middle of the pack are Olympiakos and Benfica who both hold four points from their three games. The result here is likely to be the all important game that decides who takes the second spot in the mini league.
In the reverse fixture, Olympiakos grabbed a vital 1-1 draw in Portugal, which now gives them home advantage in an almost appropriate two legged tie. Many expected Porto to win that, which has given the Greeks plenty of confidence going into Tuesday’s match. The atmosphere will be terrific and I can see this containing plenty of goals in a fiery game, so you may fancy a side bet on cards! Since their meeting Olympiakos have fired eleven goals in three games, winning them all and with the crowd behind them I can see them finding the net on more than one occasion.
Benfica know that a loss is likely to mean their elimination from the competition. Along with Paris Saint Germain, they were expected to qualify from the group but the 1-1 draw in the reverse tie has put all that into doubt. The fans expect their side to bounce back and anything but a win will be disappointing. I wouldn’t like to call the result here as anything can happen when a Greek side are involved so both teams to score is the safer bet along with Oscar Cardozo adding to his European goal tally.
Zenit v Porto – 5.00pm Wednesday
Goals Galore odds – 8/11 Betfred
Another Portuguese side are involved in our coupon as Porto face a long haul across Europe to play Zenit in the earlier kick of on Wednesday evening. The league layout is very similar to Group C, Atletico Madrid are runaway leaders, Austria Wien have yet to win and Zenit and Porto are sandwiched in-between fighting for second place. Two weeks ago is was Zenit who pulled off a shock 1-0 win in Portugal as Hector Herrera saw red after just six minutes for the home side.
Porto have to win on Wednesday, anything but three points will leave their Champions League future out of their hands as they go into their final two games. Away from home Porto have found the back of the net in every single game this season and will be comfortable in knowing they can score. They will need to ensure Jackson Martinez has got his scoring boots on if they are to get the victory they so desperately need.
Zenit will be delighted will their work in the previous match up but will know that it is only half the job done. If they can reproduce that performance in Russia, Zenit can be comfortable in the knowledge that the knockout stages are within their grasp. In striker Aleksandr Kerzhakov they have a proven goal scorer whose goal against Porto was his 27th in Europe alone. I expect Zenit to be a little bit defensive compared to their opponents but in players like Danny and the aforementioned Kerzhakov they can find the net.
A £10 stake on today’s treble will return £46.70 with BetFred