No bets last night as the competition threw up some potentially tricky ties – as shown by the results in Basel and Porto – whilst teams some previously favored bets such as Arsenal and Dortmund had absentees to contend with. I have three bets this evening.
Real Madrid vs. FC Copenhagen – (7.45pm)
It was always clear Madrid would leave Turkey with a win when comparing the current form of the two sides, but no one expected it to be via a 6-1 score line. Copenhagen didn’t cause a shock of any kind, but maybe you’d have expected Juventus to take 3 points off of them. Away from home however it should be a different story for the Danish side. With no home atmosphere to draw on, they’re going to be under pressure for 90 minutes in the Bernabeu, and I think even a goal could be a little unlikely. Even then, Madrid provides a serious goal threat. The performance against Galatasary was their biggest win since a 6-0 thrashing of Genk in 2002 in the UCL, but Madrid did score 6 just two seasons ago against Zagreb. Goals always flow for Madrid at home in European competition, and putting aside the fact we all know Madrid possess the much better talents in this match-up, 18 of their last 20 Champions League victories have been by at least 2 clear goals and 13 of those by 3 or more goals. Copenhagen are very inexperienced in this competition and this will be their biggest test since a 2-0 loss to Barcelona many years ago. In their last 11 meetings with European sides outside of the top 5 leagues, Madrid have scored 39 and let in just 8. It’s definitely a big ask for the away side on Wednesday and if they concede early, they could be embarrassed.
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Real Sociedad (7.45pm)
Make what you will of United’s domestic problems, but they put in a strong performance against Bayer but the German side never led down. They managed 2 goals and threatened a hell of a lot more, and they really kept some good possession and created good openings at times. They demonstrated enough to show us United will have problems when they go there in a few months, and if they can cause United problems, they can certainly cause Sociedad problems. They’ve really lost the pizzazz from last seasons over achieving squad. They’ve brought in some good talent but it just hasn’t gelled, and there’s something missing in the attack leading to a lack of goals. Whilst Bayer have won their first 4 domestic home games this season and overall they’ve scored 27 goals in 10 games, Sociedad have done the opposite. They’ve managed just a single win (at home to fellow strugglers Getafe) and UCL qualifiers aside, they’ve scored 5 goals in 8 games. It isn’t terrible, but it’s nothing like their best 8 game run of last season where they scored 24 times. They’ve not looked like hitting the back of the net and even 70% possession and countless attacks against Shakhtar in the first game resulted in a 2-0 loss. Bayer have always struggled away in Europe so home games take on added importance. The German side beat Genk, Valencia and Chelsea at home last year, losing only to Barcelona. I think this Champions League campaign is just too much to tackle for Sociedad in their current form.
Anderlecht vs. Olympiakos – (7.45pm)
Neither side boasts a record to brag about when it comes to European competition. Anderlecht has been hit and miss at home, Olympiakos have struggled away. Last season was one of Anderlecht’s better efforts as they stood up to Milan and beat AEL and Zenit along the way. Dating back several campaigns, Olympiakos have consistently failed to find the right results away from home. They’ve won 2 of 10 and lost 7. For Anderlecht I think this could well be their best campaign yet. They definitely have a tough group with PSG and Benfica, but I think 3rd is the lowest Anderlecht should be looking to finish. 1st is certainly impossible, and 2nd may even be tough, but after 2 early goals killed them off in Portugal they settled in, were very comfortable and threatened on occasion. The Greek side were thrashed on their own pitch and put up no fight for me. Machado is out with a knee injury for the visitors and but Fuster, Salino and Papadopoulos may still miss out through injury also. Both sides are in near perfect form domestically, and there’s nothing to indicate a favourite of any type in this game. That said – that’s why I like it. The price on both sides is pretty good and I’m willing to take a risk on Anderlecht in the atmosphere. I think they’ll take last years’ experience and put it to good use, and they’re definitely capable of being a surprise package in this tough, tough group.
Real Madrid -2.75AH @ 1.82 with Pinnacle
Bayer Leverkusen -0.75AH @ 1.95 with Pinnacle
Anderlecht 0AH @ 1.84 with 10Bet