Things are about to get Real in Germany
With La Liga victory in the balance and a pivotal El-Classico to come, Real Madrid must now also contend with a Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich.
The Allianz Arena in Munich is set to host the final and there is no doubting that both sides will get a glimpse into the atmosphere when they take to the pitch on Tuesday night. And of all four teams in the semi-final this is probably the most vitriolic pairing. Both these sides have won a combined 13 Champions League titles.
The teams have met on 18 occasions with Bayern dominating these encounters. The German side have won 10 while Madrid have claimed just six victories.
Bayern's hopes of a treble are all but over after they lost 1-0 to Dortmund in what was described as a title deciding game before they drew with lowly Mainz. But on the positive it leaves them free to concentrate on returning to the Allianz for the final.
As you would imagine, it's hard to pick a winner between these two and the betting reflects this with Bayern slight favs at 8/5 while the visitors are 17/10, a price only normally seen when they play Barca. The draw is 9/4 and only a scoreless draw at 11/1 would really do for Bayern should the game end in a stalemate.
I had initially tipped Bayern to win the competition outright a few months ago, the Germans, for want of a better word, are the most effective side left. They are capable of getting the results needed to guarantee that the Champions League final is a home affair.
Jupp Heynckes rested Gomez, Ribéry, Kroos and Lahm in their draw with Mainz at the weekend, a gamble which didn't pay off then, but may work against Real. The visitors can't afford to rest any players, but they then have Barcelona after this game, so by the return leg they could potentially be suffering fatigue. The Germans are 6/4 to qualify.
Jose Mourinho is going to be need to manage his team right down to the last detail to negotiate these upcoming fixtures, Cristiano Ronaldo could easily be overworked, if it's possible for the Portuguese player to over extend himself. We are offering you an enhanced Match Winner for the first game. We have enhanced Ronaldo to score from outside the penalty area, originally 7/2 we are going 5/1. This includes set pieces, something which he is very capable of doing.
The Germans are tough at home, they haven't conceded a goal in the knock-out stages this season. They also put Swiss side Basle to the sword with a comprehensive 7-0 win before beating Marseille 2-0 both home and away. Under 2.5 goals is 21/20 and I fancy the Germans to keep it tight and play for a low score despite the lack of firepower in their team.
I fancy, at 16/5, an anytime goalscorer doubled bet of Mario Gomez and Ronaldo. But at the end of the day I expect Bayern to grind out a result and to inevitably qualify for the Champions League final.