UEFA Champions League
European Betting Tips
UCL x Europa x Conference League Preview – (16th – 18th Mar)
Thie week, we’ll get our six finalists for the three European competitions and we look at all six semi-finals. Two of the six ties are level, while three have one goal separating two teams. We start with the Milan Derby that features an Inter side with the most comfortable lead so far, but before we do, head to our Cross Sport Specials page to check out some other special offers we have. You can also read about our new feature; the Pick 11 Jackpot Bet here.
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Inter vs. Milan (2-0 agg)
As they enter the second leg, Milan finds themselves in a precarious situation. After suffering a 2-0 defeat in the first leg, they experienced another setback with a 2-0 loss to Spezia in the Serie A, which puts the 2022 Champions four points away from a Top 4 position. While Ismaël Bennacer is out for the season due to a knee injury sustained in the first leg, the absence of Portuguese winger Rafael Leão is even more concerning. Leão, who recently signed a contract extension, has missed the last two matches due to an abductor injury and his impact on the team’s performance is unmatched; Milan’s win percentage drops from 64% to 11% when he is unavailable.
Milan faces a daunting task as they must contend with their poor injury record and away form. Despite the fact that this is not a traditional away game for Milan, as they share a stadium with Inter, it is essential to acknowledge that they have only won one of their previous 16 away games in Champions League knockout fixtures, with eight draws and seven defeats. Furthermore, in their three defeats to Inter this season, they were unable to score, despite having 31 shots on target.
Unlike Milan, Inter appears to have found their stride at precisely the right moment of the season. The Nerazzurri secured a 4-2 victory over Sassuolo in their most recent match, extending their winning streak to seven games across all competitions. Romelu Lukaku, who scored two goals to earn the Man of the Match award, has recorded eight goal contributions in his last four league games, with five goals and three assists. Defensively, Simone Inzaghi’s squad is equally impressive. André Onana, a summer acquisition who joined the team for free, has been outstanding as a goalkeeper, with seven clean sheets in the Champions League this season. This is the most clean sheets by an Inter goalie in one campaign in the club’s history. After a 2-0 victory in the first leg, Inter is in an excellent position to advance to their sixth European Cup/Champions League final and their first since winning it under José Mourinho in the 2009/10 season.
Inter Form: W-W-W-W-W
Milan Form: D-D-W-L-L
Only one team in Champions League team in history has won the first-leg of a semi-final by 2 or more goals and failed to progress to the final – Barcelona in 2018/2019.
Manchester City vs. Real Madrid (1-1 agg)
The first leg encounter between Real Madrid and Manchester City has made it increasingly challenging to predict the outcome of the tie. Real Madrid managed to take the lead during a period when Manchester City was playing their best football, while City responded by equalizing when Real Madrid had taken control of the game. Surprisingly, City’s wingers opted to dribble less and instead drifted inside to create chances; a pattern which led to Kevin De Bruyne’s equalizer. Real Madrid, on the other hand, played their typical style of football, with significant emphasis on wing play down the left flank through the likes of Camavinga and Vinícius Jr., which proved successful. As we approach the exciting second leg, it is anyone’s guess as to which way this tie will swing.
Manchester City’s home form in the Champions League has been absolutely exceptional, with the Etihad Stadium now serving as a fortress for the reigning English champions. Since their loss to Lyon in September 2018, Pep Guardiola’s team has played 25 home games without a defeat in the competition, winning 23 of them and drawing 2. In fact, their home record this year in all competitions has been perfect, having won all 14 of their matches, scoring a total of 49 goals while conceding just 7. In the first leg, Antonio Rüdiger was assigned the task of stopping Erling Haaland, which he accomplished to perfection, and the Norwegian will be hoping to avoid a repeat of that on Wednesday. Over the weekend, Haaland scored his 36th league goal of the season, but it was İlkay Gündoğan who stole the show for the second consecutive league match, scoring two goals to secure a victory for his side. With Arsenal’s loss to Brighton and the title race all but over, Manchester City can now concentrate on reaching the Champions League final.
Manchester City Form: W-W-W-D-W
Real Madrid Form: W-L-W-D-W
Real Madrid are winless in their 4 away games against Man City (D2, L2), including losses in their last 2 visits to Manchester.
Sevilla vs. Juventus (1-1 agg)
Sevilla almost got away with a first leg win in Turin but will still be content with the draw. Youssef En-Nesyri’s 14th goal of the season and fourth in the competition put them ahead, but Federico Gatti’s 97th-minute equalizer, with Paul Pogba providing the assist, secured a vital away goal for Juventus. However, Juventus could be without Pogba for the remainder of the season due to yet another injury sustained in their 2-0 win over Cremonese. Pogba, who has only made ten appearances this season due to a knee injury that even caused him to miss the Qatar World Cup, will be missed in what is expected to be a fiercely contested second leg at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. Juventus will need to overcome their poor away record to progress, having won just two of their last 17 away games against Spanish opposition in the knockout stages of a major European competition, losing 12 of them.
The Europa League has witnessed the Spanish team’s impressive performance on their home ground, losing only one of their last 27 games while winning 24 and drawing two. Moreover, they have scored eight goals and conceded only once in all three semi-final legs played at home. As seen in their recent match against Manchester United, they possess remarkable resilience and capitalize on their opponents’ mistakes. The credit for this can be given to their new manager, Jose Luis Mendilibar, who instilled the winning mentality in the team. Despite facing early struggles with two previous managers and finding themselves in the relegation zone, the team has climbed up to 10th position in LaLiga and is just one victory away from yet another final.
In the first leg, 7 yellow cards were shown to both teams while Sevilla got more corners (5) than Juventus (2). We expect the second leg to be just as intense so; we expect some value in total bookings and corners given.
Sevilla Form: W-L-W-D-W
Juventus Form: D-W-W-D-W
Sevilla has never been knocked out of the Europa League when playing the second leg of a tie at home and have progressed in all 9 previous instances.
AS Roma vs. Bayer Leverkusen (1-0 agg)
As anticipated last week, José Mourinho has acknowledged that his team has minimal chances of securing a Top 4 spot in the Italian league and has shifted focus towards winning the Europa League instead. In their recent match against Bologna, Mourinho opted to make seven changes to his starting lineup, which included granting a league debut to their goalkeeper, Mile Svilar. Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen, who have a more realistic chance of finishing in a European spot, made four changes to their lineup against Stuttgart over the weekend. Like AS Roma, they also ended up with a draw.
Bayer Leverkusen’s recent goal-scoring struggles may come as welcome news to José Mourinho as he sets his sights on victory in the upcoming fixture. The German team has managed to score only two goals in their last four games and has been unable to secure any wins during that period. Although AS Roma ceded control to Leverkusen in a tightly contested first leg, with Xabi Alonso’s side finishing with 62% possession and 221 more passes, the Italians appeared content with allowing Leverkusen to dominate. However, despite their efforts, the German team failed to breach the figurative “bus” that AS Roma parked to protect their goal.
After an absence of 31 years from a European final, AS Roma is on the verge of their second appearance in two years under José Mourinho, needing just one draw to seal the deal. Despite not playing the most attractive football and encountering a few bumps along the way, the Portuguese icon has always placed a greater emphasis on results than style, and this strategy has once again paid off. Although the team has been experiencing a dip in form, having secured only one win in their last six games across all competitions, it is expected that they will do enough to progress to the final.
AS Roma Form: D-D-L-W-D
Bayer Leverkusen Form: W-D-L-L-D
AS Roma has progressed from 23 of their last 25 two-legged ties in major European competition when winning the first leg. Leverkusen, meanwhile, has only progressed from one of their last 11 two-legged European ties when losing the first leg. However, that one instance came this season against Monaco.
- Double Chance: AS Roma to draw or win after 90 mins @1.73
- Under 2.5 goals @1.68
- Over 4.5 Total Bookings @1.60
AZ Alkmaar vs. West Ham United (1-2 agg)
West Ham completed a remarkable second half turnaround at the London Stadium on Thursday to secure a slim one-goal lead coming into this game. Tijjani Reijnders gave AZ Alkmaar the lead shortly before half-time with a long-range strike that beat Alphonse Areola in his near post but second half goals from Saïd Benrahma and Michail Antonio gave had the Hammers dreaming of a first European final since 1976’s European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Though the European Conference League has only been around for a few years, AZ’s home record in the competition has been nothing short of phenomenal. They have won 11 out of 12 games at the AFAS Stadium, with one draw, keeping 7 clean sheets and scoring 31 goals. This season, they have maintained a 100% home record in the competition and are full of confidence going into this match. Moreover, AZ Alkmaar is currently in good form, having won their previous match against FC Emmen 5-1 in the Eredivisie, with all goals scored in the first half. This lead allowed them to rest key players for this tie, making them potentially the more rested team for Thursday’s game.
Vladimir Coufal and Gianluca Scamacca will be unavailable for David Moyes due to injuries, but the rest of the West Ham squad is expected to travel. West Ham has had a fantastic run in Europe this season, surpassing their performance in the Premier League. They won all six of their group stage matches, and their 10-point margin of victory in the group stage is the largest in the competition’s brief history. In their 2-0 defeat to Brentford, West Ham rested several key players, including Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen, and Saïd Benrahma, who scored in the first leg. Although they are not yet mathematically safe from relegation, their relatively strong goal difference gives them a greater than 98% chance of avoiding relegation.
AZ Alkmaar Form: W-W-D-L-W
West Ham United Form: L-L-W-W-L
West Ham have lost 6 of their last 10 away games in all competitions while AZ have won 7 of their last home 10. The Dutch side has lost just 3 of their last 30 home games in all competitions.
- Both teams to score @1.69
- Over 2.5 goals @1.88
- Double Chance: AZ Alkmaar to Win or Draw after 90 mins @1.45
Basel vs. Fiorentina (2-1 agg)
Basel’s 2 late goals in Florence stunned the home fans as they left with an unexpected 2-1 win. Despite the win, the Swiss team was outplayed for the majority of the match, taking only 8 shots compared to Fiorentina’s 15, and possessing the ball just 40% of the time. The result highlights the significance of maintaining focus for the Italian side, who will need to produce their best performance to overturn the deficit.
Basel’s struggles in their Swiss Super League continued as they lost 6-1 to St. Gallen, however, this looked like it was by design. Heiko Vogel made 9 changes to the side that beat Fiorentina on Thursday with a further 2 coming off the bench. Similarly, Fiorentina also made nine changes to their Serie A lineup for their home match against Udinese. Fortunately for them, this gamble paid off with a 2-0 win, allowing them to maintain their position at 8th place in the league standings.
Goals are anticipated in this game as some of the highest-scoring players in the tournament are expected to start having been rested over the weekend. Arthur Cabral leads the tournament with 7 goals and has netted 7 of his team’s last 8 goals in the Conference League, including their sole goal in the first leg. Fiorentina’s Luka Jovic and Basel’s Zeki Amdouni are not far behind, each with 6 goals, while Andi Zeqri of Basel has scored 5.
Basel Form: W-W-L-W-L
Fiorentina Form: W-D-L-L-W
Fiorentina have won each of their last 5 away games in the Europa Conference League, scoring at least 3 goals in each win. In that stretch, they’ve scored 18 goals and conceded just twice. Basel, meanwhile, have won just once in their last 5 home games in this competition. In that period, they’ve kept just 1 clean sheet have conceded 8 goals.
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