Champions League Quarter-Final Tipsheet: Mission Impossible for City?

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The names of the Champions League semi-finalists are practically set in stone unless we see a series of epic comebacks, as James Horncastle discusses...

"City beat Liverpool 5-0 here in September. They were 1-0 up before Sadio Mane’s red card changed the game and must hope for a similar turn of events."

City's Mission Impossible

Man City v Liverpool
Tuesday, 19:45 GMT
Live on BT Sport

It has been a traumatic few days for Manchester City. Everyone is keen to see how they react at the Etihad on Tuesday night. City need to draw inspiration from what Barcelona did to Paris Saint-Germain a year ago. The scale of the challenge was even more uphill for the Catalans after losing the first leg 4-0. Miracles do happen.

City beat Liverpool 5-0 here in September. They were 1-0 up before Sadio Mane's red card changed the game and must hope for a similar turn of events. Naturally it would help if the groin injury Mohamed Salah sustained at Anfield last week were to keep him out of the second leg. The exchange makes City [5.5] to Qualify, odds that aren't as long as you might expect when you consider only one side has ever come back from losing the first leg of a quarter-final 3-0 to reach the semi-finals of this competition.

That team was Barcelona in 1986. Evidently they have a history of turning the tables on opponents. Still, it's hard to imagine Liverpool playing the part of Gothenburg in this story for two reasons. On the one hand, the Reds have dramatically improved at the back in 2018. They somehow limited to City to zero shots on target at Anfield. On the other, you'd fancy Liverpool to score against anyone, particularly a defence that has shipped six goals in four days.

This Liverpool side feels better than the one that won the Champions League in 2005. They have Europe frightened. Jürgen Klopp's team are [2.8] to reach the final and [6.8] to lift the trophy for a sixth time.

Unlucky Roma

Roma v Barcelona
Tuesday, 19:45 GMT
Live on BT Sport

What a frustrating week for Roma. They didn't deserve to lose in Barcelona and felt the referee denied them two penalties. At the weekend, things got worse. The Giallorossi dominated Fiorentina at the Olimpico but lost 2-0. All of a sudden the Champions League race in Serie A is wide open again.

Eusebio Di Francesco was criticised on Saturday for heavily rotating his team with Tuesday's game in mind. It's clear Roma believe this tie isn't over. The xG from the first leg at the Camp Nou encourages that idea. Roma's figure was 2.1. Barcelona finished with 1.9.

If Di Francesco can stop his players putting the ball into their own net and assisting opponents in the penalty area, the Lupi have a chance to frighten the Spanish champions elect. Consider them on Double Chance @ [2.44].

Another Heynckes treble?

Bayern Munich v Sevilla
Wednesday, 19:45 GMT
Live on BT Sport

Bayern wrapped up their sixth consecutive Meisterschale in Augsburg on Saturday. By now we take this for granted. But we shouldn't forget Dortmund had a five-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga in October and Bayern looked in crisis. The return of Jupp Heynckes changed everything and the Bavarians have a chance of repeating the treble of five years ago.

Bayern are third favourites @ [4.6] and have flown a little under the radar this season. Perhaps because they haven't been tested in the Champions League since December when they put PSG in their place with a 3-1 win at the Allianz Arena. Since then fortune has favoured the German champions. Besiktas and Sevilla deserve respect but it's fair to say Bayern could not have wished for a better draw in the Round of 16 and the quarter-finals.

It appears the fates are smiling on them. Heynckes has won this competition twice before and his experience with this group of players should not be underestimated. The veteran is the last coach to lift this trophy without Messi or Ronaldo in his team.

Sevilla will look to upset the odds as they did at Old Trafford last month. But Bayern should have too much for them. The exchange has them @ [2.38] to win with both teams to score.

Until the Old Lady sings...

Real Madrid v Juventus
Wednesday, 19:45 GMT
Live on BT Sport

Juventus need a miracle at the Bernabeu. The Old Lady's leading men need to stand and deliver like Alessandro Del Piero did here a decade ago. He got a standing ovation that night just like the one Cristiano Ronaldo received at the Allianz Stadium last week. Juventus won 2-0 in Madrid.

A repeat of that result won't be enough, though, to reach the semi-finals. The Bianconeri need to do what Barcelona did here before Christmas and win 3-0 just to take the tie to extra-time. As you might expect, the exchange does not give last year's finalists much of a chance.

The Italian champions are trading @ [100] to qualify. But Juventus evidently want to have a go. They made five changes at the weekend against Benevento. Paulo Dybala is suspended after his red card in the first leg, but Max Allegri has Mehdi Benatia and Miralem Pjanic back for the trip to the Spanish capital.

Juventus did not play badly between the first and second goals in Turin. Ronaldo's bicycle kick and Dybala's sending off prejudiced assessments of the performance, which was better from a technical standpoint, in Allegri's opinion, than the one Juventus gave in Cardiff despite three goals separating the two teams once again.

The Old Lady's pride is hurting. Whether she can frighten a Madrid side that will be without Sergio Ramos and may have to play Casemiro at centre-back in light of injuries to Nacho and Jesus Vallejo remains to be seen. Juventus are priced @ [2.5] on Double Chance.


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