We head into the Champions League quarter-final second legs with four of the teams requiring a minor miracle. The four others will be praying they aren’t about to fall on the wrong side of history.
What looked like a tantalising draw disappointed in the first leg but hopes of second leg drama are still high with it all on the line. Fingers are well and truly crossed for a thriller or two this week. Here are a few thoughts on Wednesday's matches…
BAYERN MUNICH vs SEVILLA
Things looked a bit shaky for Bayern when they conceded the first goal in Seville last week. Fortunately for the German giants, a Jesus Navas own goal and Thiago finish put them in command of the tie heading back to Bavaria.
Having upset the odds against Liverpool in the group stage and at Old Trafford in the last 16, Sevilla should still be confident of a result in this one. Bayern, though, boast a remarkable record at the Allianz Arena. The Bundesliga side have conceded just nine goals at home in the league all season, dropping a grand total of four points along the way.
The visitors have found themselves in a real rut domestically. It became four La Liga matches without a win after a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Celta Vigo at the weekend, Sevilla are now up against it to qualify for any form of European football for next season.
The first leg was perhaps more balanced than many would have expected, in part thanks to the hostile atmosphere at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. The two away goals landed by Bayern make it hard to see beyond comfortable progression for Jupp Heynckes’ side, however.
Sevilla need to score at least twice themselves to have any chance of making the semi-finals. I just can’t see that happening without Bayern finding the net multiple times. Goals are the best way to go, in what could be a disappointing second leg.
TIP: Over 2.5 goals @ 4/11
REAL MADRID vs JUVENTUS
Cristiano Ronaldo continues to astonish. It was not just the numbers that caught the eye on this occasion, but the blend of extraordinary athleticism and skill to pull off THAT bicycle kick. Ronaldo’s brace put this tie out of Juventus’ reach as the reigning champions ran out 3-0 winners in Turin last week.
Ronaldo is at 17/20 to score anytime, but I prefer the 3/1 price to find the net first. The Portuguese superstar scored yet again at the weekend to make it 16 goals in his last eight matches for Real Madrid.
After the ecstasy of their Wembley win over Spurs, this will feel like a weak way to exit Europe for the Old Lady. Max Allegri’s side will no doubt be keen to at least put pressure on the hosts, at least to avoid a five or six nil aggregate defeat.
Prospects for Allegri’s side, however, are not good. Real Madrid have won eight of 10 in the Champions League and have lost just one match in all competitions since the end of January. Heading to Madrid with a deficit is a daunting prospect, let alone with Ronaldo in this sort of form.
As much as I’d love to tip this as a thriller, I fear the ruthlessness of Real Madrid could make this a procession. A comeback is almost impossible for the visitors. I don’t think there’s a great deal of value in this one, but I was surprised to see Real Madrid at 3/5.
TIP: Real Madrid to win @ 3/5
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*