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Man City and Real set for scorcher, Atleti to bruise Bayern in Champions League semis

| 27.04.2016

Holly Thackeray | April 25, 2016

And so we are left with the final four, as the Champions League reaches the semi-final first leg stage this midweek, with two electrifying encounters on show. Who will make it count and carry an advantage to the all-or-nothing returns?

Coral preview the two titan tussles as well as the best bets on offer at the business end, with Manchester City hosting manager Manuel Pellegrini’s former club Real Madrid, while Atletico Madrid welcome Bayern Munich for a bout in the Spanish capital.

Manchester City v Real Madrid

  • Champions League
  • Tuesday, April 26th
  • Kick-off: 19:45 BST
  • Etihad, Manchester
  • Live on BT Sport Europe

Can Pellegrini prove point?

Manuel Pellegrini will prepare his Manchester City men for their first-ever Champions League semi-final against Galactico outfit Real Madrid, a club that, just like City are set to do this summer, disposed with his services for a bigger name.

The Chilean tactician is now 13/2 to prove a point to both hierarchies and capture this coveted cup, but first must steer past 10-time winners Real, with the Citizens a tempting 2/1 to qualify for the final.

Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Etihad Stadium

At the Etihad is where the Sky Blues will have the best advantage, after Los Blancos stumbled in their last away to German underdogs Wolfsburg, with Pellegrini 15/8 to snatch bragging rights on the night.

Real waiting on Ronaldo

Of course few clubs boast the counter-attacking potential of Real, but the Spanish side are awaiting fitness updates on two of their biggest superstars, though Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema (6/1 for the final say) will both travel.

Should the pair, and particularly the prolific Portuguese, both feature then Zinedine Zidane’s guys are more enticing at their 29/20 price to win in 90 minutes, with the cushion of a Bernabeu battle still to come.

Real Madrid v Villarreal - La Liga - Santiago Bernabeu Stadium

With City having scored seven for fun in their last three games, and Los Blancos bagging 11 in the same amount of matches, with both teams far from defensively savvy, there is a 13/8 shout for over 3.5 goals to occur, after seven were scored across the previous two meetings between this pair.

Aguero and co face biggest City task

Former Manchester United forward Ronaldo (7/2 to strike first) will undoubtedly be Real’s key man if he makes it, and the all-time leading Champions League scorer certainly knows how to find the target against City, with five career goals and three assists in 13 appearances against them.

While, Gareth Bale has struck four in eight against the Sky Blues and, as Real Madrid’s most recent hero with a match-winning brace against Rayo Vallecano, the one-time Spurs star is 10/1 to dispatch a double or more again.

Manchester City v Stoke City - Barclays Premier League - Etihad Stadium

As for the Mancunian hosts, they must make this first leg count, and much of the weight of expectation will fall on the shoulders of in-form duo Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne. The latter Belgian (7/4 to strike anytime) made the difference versus PSG, while Argentine attacker Aguero (4/1 for the opener) knows how to score against Real after his time with rivals Atleti.

Atletico Madrid v Bayern Munich

  • Champions League
  • Wednesday, April 27th
  • Kick-off: 19:45 BST
  • Vicente Calderon, Madrid
  • Live on BT Sport Europe

Will Guardiola come unstuck against Simeone?

It could well be a tale of steel versus silk as Atletico Madrid seek to contain goal-hungry Bayern Munich in the Spanish capital.

Diego Simeone’s side are notoriously tough to beat and unexpectedly saw off Barcelona at home to reach this stage. On a streak of five successive wins in all competitions and having avoided defeat at fortress Vicente Calderon since January, Atleti are 15/8 for first leg spoils, or 21/10 odds to hold their foes to a draw.

Yet, it would be dangerous to only focus on containing Bavarian giants Bayern, as Guardiola (31/20 for a win in 90 mins) will surely seek an away goal thanks to the poaching talents of Robert Lewandowski, who has eight from 10 in Europe this term.

Bayern Munich v Juventus - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - Second Leg - Allianz Arena

Lethal Lewandowski is 5/1 to draw first blood, though menacing Thomas Muller (6/4 anytime) and midfield dynamo Arturo Vidal (11/4) have both also been among the goals lately.

Atleti need to attack

As the Munich men are unlikely to be contained for the full 90, Atletico will need to fight fire with fire, which is where their fierce but hardworking forwards come in.

Atletico Madrid v Athletic de Bilbao - La Liga - San Mames Stadium

They’ll need more than a narrow win here before returning to Bavaria, with more of the brace heroics against Barcelona from alert Antoine Griezmann (7/1 to equal or better that) required, while veteran Fernando Torres (7/4 in the anytime market) and young-gun Angel Correa (10/3) could both be alternative ace cards up Simeone’s sleeve.


See our Champions League section for more.

Coral’s top tip: In-form Aguero is excellent value at at 4/1 to score first.

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Holly Thackeray

Holly is a member of the content team, and can often be found on the sports desk writing about favourite topics Serie A and East Asian footballing nations. A recent darts convert, she is also a fully-fledged member of Barney's Army and a proud Leeds-born Manchester United fan.