With the dust starting to settle after two evenings of compelling top-level European action on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, the eight remaining Champions League combatants will start to assess their chances of progressing deeper into this year’s competition.
Some club’s Champions League future looks brighter than others, however, none of the four Quarter Final double-header ties look completely dead after an intensely competitive set of first leg fixtures.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of Champions League outright specials based around several hypothetical and highly possibly scenarios.
Check them out below:
Both Finalists From England – 3/1
None of the 8 Champions League quarter finalists fully flexed their continental muscles this week across 4 keenly contested Quarter Final first leg contests.
Even though they eked out a 1-0 win at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening, tournament favourites Barcelona looked decidedly off-colour against a Manchester United side, who are among the weakest teams left in this season’s competition.
3/1 UCL second favourites Juventus secured a first leg draw and an away goal in Amsterdam against Ajax, though the hosts showed enough during an impressive performance to suggest that they can make life difficult for the Old Lady in the reverse fixture next week.
24-hours earlier, Manchester City looked flat in their 0-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur, though the Citizens will be confident that they can turn the tie on its head at the Etihad.
Last year’s beaten finalists Liverpool looked the most assured in their Quarter Final first leg, though they were paired with arguably the least-threatening team left in the tournament, FC Porto.
Liverpool would have also been buoyed by events at Old Trafford last night. Facing Barcelona in the Semi Finals would be preferable to facing arch rivals United, and Liverpool would have identified plenty of areas they could exploit through the La Liga giants’ sluggish centre.
Similarly, should Manchester City find a way past a Kane-less Spurs next week, they will back themselves to topple a Juventus team that has already been beaten 3 times in the Champions League this season.
That would set up a mouth-watering all-English final Wanda Metropolitano, and we think there is every chance that the Premier League will have two representatives in Madrid on June 1st. You can back that eventuality at a cracking looking 3/1 with Betvictor.
Winning Nationality of Champions League Club – English – 4/5
Our next selection also leans on the same reasoning we used above, though just one club from the Premier League needs to reach this year’s Champions League Final for Betvictor to pay out at 4/5 odds.
With English clubs making up 50% of the field competing to win this year’s tournament, the Premier League has its biggest chance in recent memory to have it’s first Champions League winner since Chelsea’s triumph under Roberto Di Matteo in 2012.
Liverpool came within a hair’s breadth of lifting the trophy last year, though both Jurgen Klopp’ side and Manchester City look among the best-equipped teams to go one better this time around.
To Reach The Final
In terms of team’s individual odds to reach the Champions League Final in June, there is still plenty of value to choose from.
Our aforementioned favourites, Liverpool and Man City, can be backed at 5/4 and 13/8 with Betvictor respectively to come through their sides of the draw to reach the competition’s last game.
Juventus, armed with the prolific knock-out round specialist Cristiano Ronaldo, are priced at 11/10 with Betvictor to battle their way past Ajax and then Spurs or City, while Barcelona are available at 10/11 to administer a double-dose of Premier League misery to Manchester United and Liverpool on their way to booking a place in Madrid.
Champions League Top Scorer
Lionel Messi was uncharacteristically quiet against Manchester United on Wednesday evening, but even though the Argentine cut a peripheral figure for large swathes of the contest, the 32-year old still delivered the match-turning cross that led to Luke Shaw’s decisive own-goal.
Messi failed to score himself at Old Trafford however, extending his run of goalless Champions League Quarter Final games to 12. The Barcelona talisman is still the competition’s leading scorer however, having hit the net 8 times in total for Los Cules.
Betvictor have understandably made Messi the overwhelming favourite at 2/5 to finish as the tournament’s leading marksman, and when you assess the chasing back, it’s easy to see why. However, there is a certain Portuguese superstar who will have Messi firmly in his sights.
Ajax attacker Dusan Tadic is just about within touching distance of Messi’s total with 6 goals, though the Serbian will likely play his last Champions League game of the season in Turin next week.
FC Porto’s Moussa Marega has also hit the net 6 times, but like Tadic, his participation is almost certain to end in 7 days’ time.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s brilliant diving header in Amsterdam brought his UCL tally up to 5, drawing him level on goals with Juve teammate Paulo Dybala and Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero.
Ronaldo’s incredible knock-out stage strike rate makes him well worth considering at 6/1 with Betvictor to score his way past Messi at the top of the goal-getting charts.
Ronaldo has scored 64 goals in 78 Champions League knock-out fixtures during his career, making him the most prolific player to have ever played in the tournament’s final stages.