The European trophies are starting to whittle down to the final two teams, with just the semi-final second legs to come before the finals. We’re close to the end of the domestic campaign now, with the World Cup just around the corner. However, before that there are crucial matches to be played in the Champions League and Europa League, as sides look to secure their place in the showpiece game at the end of the season.
Will we get any shocks in midweek in the second legs? The Champions League does appear fairly clear cut, but we have learned our lesson after the incredible turn we saw in the quarter-finals last time out. Both Liverpool and Arsenal remain in the hunt for European glory, but how will they fare this week? Read on for our predictions and latest betting tips.
Tuesday 1st May 2018
Real Madrid v Bayern Munich (19:45) – Bayern Munich Draw No Bet (11/8 with Betfair)
Real Madrid earned a solid 2-1 win in Germany, and they’re out for yet another Champions League title after landing two in a row. Zinedine Zidane would be embarking on the most dominant European run in the modern era if he guides his side to more success, but there’s still plenty of time to go in this second leg. The Germans will head here aiming to overturn the Spaniards’ advantage, and Bayern have the quality to do it if things go their way on the night. Will they be the team to shake Real’s grip on Europe’s biggest trophy?
The stakes could hardly be higher in this clash between two managers who have never failed to make the final when managing in the Champions League. However, Zidane came very close to blowing that when Juventus won here in the last round, while PSG really threatened at the Bernabeu too. That home weakness in nothing new, Bayern won in the quarter-finals here last term, before going out in extra time. We can see them repeating that, so we’re backing Bayern to win in 90 minutes on the Draw No Bet market at 11/8 with Betfair.
Wednesday 2nd May 2018
Roma v Liverpool (19:45) – Roma win (29/20 with Bet365)
Liverpool blew Roma away in the first leg, and many are expecting a repeat of the same in the Eternal City this week. However, there are few sides who change as drastically between home and away games as Roma. While they may have shipped five at Anfield, they also conceded four at Barca, three at Chelsea and two at each of Atletico Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk. Despite that poor record on the road, they’re still in the competition, due to the fact that the Serie A side have yet to concede at home in the Champions League so far this season.
Roma have managed to put together a four game winning run here, while they’ve withstood some pretty big names in this competition already. Eusebio Di Francesco did take a risk with his set-up on Merseyside, but expect him to revert back to type and look to shackle up the Liverpool attack. Roma’s other strength is set-pieces, and their lumbering side can take advantage of Liverpool from those situations. Given their form, their need to turn this tie around and the memories of the Barcelona tie, we’re backing Roma to take the victory in the second leg at 29/20 with Bet365.
Thursday 3rd May 2018
Atletico Madrid v Arsenal (20:05) – Atletico win (8/11 with BetVictor)
Arsenal were dealt a late blow in their clash at home to Atletico, and their 1-1 draw at the Emirates was a real setback after holding the lead and looking strong. The Europa League was supposed to be their saving grace in an otherwise poor season. While Atletico see it the same way, Arsene Wenger wanted this as his farewell trophy, guiding the team back to the Champions League before handing off to his successor. If he can’t manage to do that, it’s going to be an even harder job for whoever steps in to the Gunners’ hot seat. Of the basis of that away goal, we think Arsenal are on the verge of an exit.
Atletico are so solid that after going down to 10 men they were able to almost shut down the Gunners completely, and then they raced back into the game with a late strike. Things are likely to be the same when the pair meet in Madrid, with Atleti denying space and hitting on the counter. While all they need is a 0-0 draw, we expect Diego Simeone’s men to grind out a narrow victory to edge into the final, so we’re backing a home win at 8/11 with BetVictor.
Salzburg v Marseille (20:05) – Salzburg win (23/20 with Coral)
The second Europa League semi-final has gone the way of Marseille, but they’re a very poor side on the road. One win in nine Europa League trips says all you need to know about their record on their travels in this competition, and they’re heading to Salzburg probably just looking to avoid a two goal defeat. That kind of negative attitude doesn’t always pay off, especially against a side who are performing above expectations already. Meanwhile the Austrians are much better at their own ground, so they’ll surely fancy a comeback.
Salzburg have won six of their last eight Europa League home games, while they recorded a 1-0 win over Marseille in this competition back in September when they met in the group stage. That win wouldn’t be enough this time around, but recent form should push them towards success. After all, the hosts just dumped out Lazio with a 4-1 home win, and the Italians are a much stronger outfit than Marseille. The French side have lost four of their last six trips in this competition, starting with their defeat in Austria, so we’re backing a home win at 23/20 with Coral.