Europe’s footballing giants are going head-to-head in the second round of this season’s Champions League as the elite clubs look to dethrone Real Madrid of their crown.
The La Liga giants have won the competition for each of the past three seasons, but the coach who guided them to that hat-trick of successes, Zinedine Zidane, left over the summer. And so did superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
Real Madrid were unconvincing 2-1 winners at Ajax in the first leg of their second round tie last week but have not been among the immediate favourites to lift the trophy for a fourth year in a row, all season.
The bookmakers currently have Manchester City as the favourites, with Bet America currently offering 10/3 on Pep Guardiola’s side going all the way. A favourable second round draw against Schalke 04 was handed to them.
City were dumped out at the quarter-finals by fellow Premier League rivals and current league leaders, Liverpool, last season. The Reds are down in fifth among the favourites at 9/1. Though this is explained by having a tough draw versus Bayern Munich in the second round.
Soccer sports betting basics would say to back Liverpool now and have a great trade ahead of the quarter-finals, if you’re confident they will progress past the German giants of course. Bayern Munich are currently second in the Bundesliga, behind Borussia Dortmund.
Runaway La Liga leaders Barcelona follow Manchester City in the outright favourites, currently at 9/2. As Ernesto Valverde has the ability to rest key players ahead of important Champions League ties, there is every reason why the Catalan club can go all the way again this season.
Barcelona face Lyon in their second round tie.
Following their 2-0 win at Manchester United last week, Paris Saint-Germain find themselves third favourites for this season’s Champions League as they look to follow in the footsteps of the 1992-93 Marseille side – the only French team to win this tournament.
PSG came away from Old Trafford with a comfortable win despite injuries to Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier. If they can stay healthy as the tournament goes on then perhaps this will finally be their year following heavy investments over the past decade.
The Ligue 1 title is all but in the books so manager Thomas Tuchel can rotate his side domestically not to interfere with matches in the later rounds of the Champions League, with one foot already in the quarter-finals. They are 6/1 to lift the trophy.
Juventus are the fourth favourites. The Italian side have gone close in recent seasons – losing to Barcelona in the 2015 final and Real Madrid two years later.
Like Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus have virtually got their league wrapped up already. The Turin club have dropped just six points this season – three draws, and adding Cristiano Ronaldo over the summer showed their intent to go all the way in this competition for the first time since 1996.
The Old Lady are 7/1 to win the tournament despite a tricky second round tie against Atletico Madrid.