Champions League Betting Preview: Barcelona and Bayern Munich look set to progress
Or can Frank Lampard inspire his Chelsea squad to perform a minor miracle?
The Champions League continues on Saturday night, with both ties boasting a home side heavily backed to progress.
Can Frank Lampard’s Chelsea possibly overturn a 3-0 deficit as they visit Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena? Equally can Napoli put a disappointing league campaign behind them to upset Catalan giants Barcelona, who suffered their own post-lockdown collapse in La Liga?
With Barcelona currently on a 35-game unbeaten streak at home in the Champions League (the second longest in the competition’s history), it’s safe to say Napoli have a difficult task ahead of them on Saturday evening.
Both teams had underwhelming domestic seasons by their respective standards, with Barcelona surrendering their lead in La Liga to arch-rivals Real Madrid when the season resumed. Meanwhile, Napoli’s 7th-placed finish means that without an unlikely Champions League success, they’re set to miss out on European football next season.
Barcelona are 8/13 to win tonight’s tie in 90 minutes and 4/11 to progress to the next stage. Napoli are 21/5 to win in 90 minutes, or 2/1 to progress, with the draw at 3/1.
If you think Napoli will hold out for 90 minutes, you can find Barcelona at 18/1 to win in extra time, or 33/1 on penalties. Barcelona to win and both teams to score can be backed at 21/10.
Barcelona’s injury woes were perhaps the cause of their domestic downfall and they’ll be without Samuel Umtiti, Ousmane Dembele, Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal tonight, with the latter two suspended.
However, Antoine Griezmann, Clement Lenglet and Frenkie de Jong are all fit, while Luis Suarez could return to the starting line-up, making a scary front-three alongside Griezmann and Lionel Messi.
Napoli will hope that forward Lorenzo Insigne is fit, after picking up a thigh injury against Lazio in their 3-1 win last weekend, with the likes of Nikola Maksimovic and Kostas Manolas both unlikely to feature.
Barcelona have numerous attacking threats and that’s reflected in the goalscorer markets, where Messi is 13/5 to open the scoring or 5/6 to score anytime, with Suarez at Evens to find the net, Ansu Fati at 7/4 and Griezmann at 12/5.
Napoli’s own dangerous attacking trio sees Dries Mertens at 15/2 to score first or 13/5 to net anytime, with Arkadiusz Milik at 14/5 to score anytime, with Insigne at 3/1.
Chelsea’s Champions League story this season has been similar to their fate in the Premier League this season – impressive going forward, but sometimes comical at the back. Their 3-0 loss in the first-leg was their heaviest ever home defeat in the Champions League, as they were torn apart by former Arsenal youngster Serge Gnabry, who bagged a brace on the night.
Bayern on the other hand have been dominant domestically, unbeaten in all competitions post-lockdown as they romped home to a seventh-consecutive title and a second consecutive DFB-Pokal win. It will take something incredibly special for Chelsea to beat the German giants, especially with such a commanding lead already established.
Bayern are 2/5 to win in 90 minutes and are at 1/300 to progress to the next stage. Chelsea are 13/2 to win on the night, or 28/1 to qualify for the next round, while the draw can be backed at 4/1.
To compound matters for Chelsea, they’re missing Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta who both received hamstring injuries during their FA Cup final loss to Arsenal, while Jorginho and Marcos Alonso are both suspended. Pedro, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Billy Gilmour remain sidelined, while N’Golo Kante and Willian are both doubtful.
Bayern’s injury list is far more modest, with Benjamin Pavard and Kingsley Coman the only doubts.
Chelsea frankly have nothing to lose here and an early away goal could change the complexion of the tie. If you think they have what it takes Chelsea can be backed at 16/1 to win to nil, with a cagey draw with under 4.5 goals at 17/4.
In the goalscorer markets, Bayern’s deadly Robert Lewandowski is 2/1 to score first or 4/9 anytime, with first-leg hero Serge Gnabry at 6/5 to score anytime or 6/1 to score two or more again.
For Chelsea Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham can both be backed at 13/2 to open the scoring, or 2/1 to score anytime.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.