All hail Cristiano, king of the Bernabeu!
Real Madrid v Bayern Munich | 19:45 - live on ITV 1
The stakes could not be higher for both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich as they renew hostilities at the Santiago Bernabeu after a tempestuous first-leg in Munich that leaves this tie finely in the balance.
Bayern travel to Madrid buoyed by an 88th minute winner by Mario Gomez (6/1 first scorer) underneath the illuminating roof of the vast Allianz Arena. In scoring his twelfth Champions League goal of the season, the German striker handed his team the advantage and importantly, a lead to look after in the return leg.
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho still believes that his team can reach the Champions League final by seeing off Munich in front of what is sure to be a noisy and partisan Bernabeu crowd. "We have the second leg to come and it's not like we have to make a historical comeback, what we have to do is very achievable. If we win at home we are there. I am optimistic we can play in the final."
The bookmakers are definitely behind the hosts when it comes to the match betting. With a formidable home record behind them, it is easy to see why Real have been installed as 8/15 favourites to win in 90 minutes and 4/6 to qualify overall. Madrid have won 11 and lost just one of their last 13 Champions League games at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, with the only home defeat coming in last season's semi-finals against Barcelona (0-2). Speaking of rivals Barca, Madrid will have been monumentally boosted by their weekend ‘El Clasico' victory at the home of their enemy. A repeat of that 2-1 scoreline in Real's favour can be backed at 2/1.
If that scoreline were to materialise, it would then mean extra-time and possibly penalties. The William Hill Match Winner for this match is for Bayern to win on away goals at a price of 16/1, enhanced from 11/1! Bayern have already won four Champions League knockout ties on away goals, more than any other team in the history of the competition. On the last two occasions they achieved that feat, ‘Die Roten' won their first-leg 2-1 at home and lost the second leg 3-2 (Correct score 20/1)
Bayern may not need to rely on away goals if their flying wingers Arjen Robben (10/3 anytime scorer) and Franck Ribery (7/2 anytime) can work in tandem against the Real defence. It was Ribery that scored the first goal in Munich, while Dutchman Robben was a constant threat when cutting in from the wing.
The visitors are priced at 5/1 to overcome a recent Bernabeu hoodoo that has seen them lose their last four Champions League fixtures on this ground, including the 2010 final to Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan. Jupp Heynckes' outsiders can be backed at 11/10 to qualify.
A lot of Real Madrid's hopes will lie on the shoulders of Cristiano Ronaldo. The sensational Portuguese frontman is the darling of the Bernabeu with a series of sparkling displays and breathtaking goals elevating him to the same kind of god-like plateau as Ferenc Puskas and Zinedine Zidane, the latest such goal coming in the Nou Camp to all but seal Real's 32nd La Liga title, and their first since 2008. Ronaldo was kept relatively quiet in the first leg but he linked up well with Mesut Ozil (7/2 anytime scorer) to create Madrid's goal. The former Manchester United star is priced at 2/1 to open the scoring and 2/5 to find the back of the net at anytime.
While Jose Mourinho may have been outthought and his players outfought in Munich, it is unlikely that the Special One will allow that to happen once again. In what could be a high scoring semi-final second -leg, I'm going for a Real Madrid win. Scorelines of 4-2 (33/1) and 3-1 (10/1) are the most realistic in my eyes.
First scorer-wise, the anytime goalscorer doubled selection of Ronaldo or Benzema to score first pays out at odds of 27/20.