Hungry like a Wolf
Liverpool v Roma
Tuesday, 19:45 GMT
Live on BT Sport
Liverpool got who everybody wanted. At least that's how the story goes.
But if there's a lesson to be learned from this year's Champions League, it is do not underestimate Roma. They topped a group no one gave them much chance of getting out of. And they overturned first leg defeats to knock out Shakhtar and Barcelona.
What happened in the Eternal City a fortnight ago will live long in the memory. Roma believe impossible is nothing and who can blame them. It's entirely understandable after coming back from 4-1 down to eliminate Lionel Messi and co.
The pressure is on Liverpool. You can make the case that neither side expected to go this far. But Liverpool feel like they belong here. Five European Cups will do that to you. Roma won't have a problem with the underdog tag. One of the reasons why they have done better in the Champions League than in Serie A this year is because teams tend to take the game to them and play into their hands.
Eusebio di Francesco plans to press and play with a high line at Anfield. He likes to defend big spaces and attack small ones. That may sound like suicide against Liverpool. But it worked against teams with other quick forwards particularly at the Olimpico where they are yet to concede in this competition despite facing Messi, Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez.
Encouragement will have been drawn from Liverpool's 2-2 draw with West Brom on Saturday. Roma know the Reds are vulnerable from set-pieces, and renewed emphasis has been placed on them with that in mind. Four of Roma's last five goals have come from dead ball situations. Why not have a punt on the Giallorossi @ 3.02/1 to qualify?
The Champions League Clasico
Bayern Munich v Real Madrid
Wednesday, 19:45 GMT
Live on BT Sport
Madrid have won only one of their last four matches in all competitions. The question is: how much do we read into that?
Cristiano Ronaldo spared their blushes at the weekend with an 87th minute equaliser against Athletic Bilbao. Zinedine Zidane had put out a practically full strength team, but if you're a Madrid player it must be hard not to be distracted by Bayern on Wednesday. This is what their season comes down to.
Winning the Champion League for a third year in a row would not only emulate what Bayern did in the 70s it would help Madrid eclipse Barcelona's domestic double. Ronaldo has scored in every Champions League game this season and put five past Bayern in last year's quarter-finals.
That tie was badly refereed but Arjen Robben claims the German champions were jaded too. "There were three or four players at 50%," he said. Now everyone is fit and raring to go.
This feels like Bayern's first genuine test in the Champions League. Beating a PSG side that had already qualified on the last Matchday of the group stage doesn't really count. Assessing them is tricky given the ease with which they have brushed aside the competition in the Bundesliga.
Juventus provided a blueprint of how to cause Madrid problems in the second leg a fortnight ago. Bayern, however, don't seem to have a player in the Mario Mandzukic mould to create mis-matches with Dani Carvajal. Madrid captain Sergio Ramos will also be back from suspension. The Val Kilmer lookalike is as much of a big game player as Ronaldo and scored twice in the semis against Bayern back in 2014. The Betfair Sportsbook makes Ramos a tasty 9/1 to score. Ronaldo is a safer bet @ 11/10.
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