Champions League Opta Stats: Ronaldo to aid goal glut

Cristiano Ronaldo has hit two hat-tricks in his last three games

The Champions League knockout stages are here to thrill once more. Christian Crowther offers up some Opta-inspired tips for Wednesday's big clashes...

"Manchester United have conceded the opening goal in each of their last five Champions League games."
Recommended Bet: Back Cristiano Ronaldo to score first @ 4.77/2

Real Madrid v Man United, Wednesday 19:45, Sky Sports 2

The eight European Cup/Champions League encounters between Real Madrid and Manchester United have produced 31 goals (3.9/game)
If ever there was a fixture that promised goals, then this is it. Real Madrid may have wavered away from home but at the Bernabeu they've simply been prolific. In their 19 home games this season, they've averaged exactly three goals per game, the same number they averaged in the group stages across their three home appointments. Manchester United notched five goals across their three away group games and top the Premier League scoring charts by seven clear goals.
Recommended Bet: Back over 3.5 goals @ 2.6813/8

Manchester United have conceded the opening goal in each of their last five Champions League games
Conceding early goals is an ailment which has plagued the Manchester United backline all season and the Champions League is no exception. If the likes of Reading and Southampton can breach the Red Devils early doors then there is a good chance an attacking force of Real's prowess can draw first blood. The prime candidate to bag an opener has to be their former hero. Cristiano Ronaldo is in electric form, having bagged two hat-tricks in his last three starts and 10 goals in his last five appearances.
Recommended Bet: Back Cristiano Ronaldo to score first @ 4.77/2

Shakhtar v Dortmund, Wednesday 19:45, Sky Sports 4

Shakhtar Donetsk have only won two of their last seven Champions League games at home (three defeats, two draws)
This fascinating match-up throws together two sides who have both contributed to knocking out English teams in the group stages. A trip to play Shakhtar in Ukraine has become a fixture few teams would relish in this competition though, as Opta point out, their dangerous reputation does not always translate into victories. Dortmund make useful travellers too, having beaten Ajax and drawn away at both Real Madrid and Manchester City.
Recommended Bet: Back the draw @ 3.55

Dortmund have kept only one clean sheet in their last 19 away games in the Champions League
While the German champions are prolific in attack, they are equally porous in defence, especially away from home in this competition. Shakhtar may have drawn a blank against Juventus in their last group game, however that result was a real anomaly for the Ukrainians, who had put two past both Chelsea and FC Nordsjaelland in the group stage and had averaged 2.75 goals in their previous eight home fixtures. The last time the free-scoring Germans drew a blank was on November 3.
Recommended Bet: Back both teams to score @ 1.684/6

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