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P.J. Murray 13th Mar 2012 - 9:00

Champions League Tuesday - Preview

The Champions League reaches a make or break point for Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, both of whom are on the verge of making shock exits from the competition.

Bayern Munich v Basel

History is with the home side as they have survived a first-leg eight times previously. They have also won four of five ties in which they lost the first leg 1-0. Basel travel to Germany with nothing to lose and absolutely everything to gain. The Swiss side caused a massive shock in denying Man Utd a place in the knock-out stages and now, if they were to deny Munich a place in the quarters it would surely be the best result in the clubs history. Alas, at 1/5 it is not expected that the Germans will lose this. The visitors are massive outsiders at 14/1.

The Germans sent out a clear message of intent after the demolished Hoffenheim 7-1 on Saturday. Basel opened up a 12 point lead atop the Swiss league with a 2-0 win over Grasshopers at the weekend. The Basel coach has been speaking of his desire for his side to make a second trip to Munich after Tuesday night. However, all the belief in the world doesn't mean they will actually follow through. Munich are 100/1 to register a 7-0 win and to be fair, I've seen worse 100/1 shots. But a more realistic punt could be backing the hosts at 29/20 -2 goals. Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben are both doubts for the game, but this will not leave Bayern too short on attacking power. Franck Ribery (10/3 first, 4/5 anytime) and Ivicao Olic (9/2 first, 6/5 anytime) are two of the many alternative options available to the Germans. Alexander Frei (10/1 first, 7/2 anytime) is the main threat for the visitors, the prolific striker has only failed to score in two Champions League games this season. Valentin Stocker was the hero in the first leg and he is 6/1 to score again at anytime,

Despite the previous leg only having one goal I think a more focused German side will take to the pitch and this game will be a goalfest, at 21/20 you can back over 3.5 goals. I think Basel will hold out for the first half and backing a handicap draw at the break at 15/8 is worth a shot. That handicap being one goal.

Inter Milan v Marseille

The Italians are in trouble, they are in serious danger of failing to qualify for this competition next season based on their league form. Their only real chance could be the win it outright. Something which they are 40/1 to do. Ranieri's men broke their winless streak at the weekend with a 2-0 win over Chievo. Marseille have failed to make the last eight since they claimed the title in 1993, and how they would love to change that.

Milan are Even Money to win the game in 90 minutes, they need to overturn a 1-0 deficit from France. The visitors will not be lacking in confidence and they are backable at 3/1 while the draw at 11/5 would suit the French side.

But, while the Italians seem to be coming into form, the same cannot be said of Marseille, Deschamps' men have lost four on the bounce, without scoring. Milan to win to nil are 21/10 which seems better value than backing them to keep  a clean sheet.

There is no shortage of firepower among Milan's ranks and Milito (11/2 first, 6/4 anytime) will be leading the charge. Andre Ayew (7/1 first, 2/1 anytime) scored the solitary goal in the opening leg, Milan will have to be wary of his threat.

I fancy the home side to win 2-0 at 17/2, there is just not enough to justify a totally one sided affair and I expect a few nervy moments for the hosts.


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