There weren’t a ton of surprises with the Champions League kicked off a couple weeks ago. A few top teams left points on the board, but none of the heavy favorites lost. There’s a good chance that changes this week during the second round of fixtures (September 27 and 28) just because of the matches on the schedule, with Real Madrid visiting upstart Dortmund and Atletico hosting Bayern Munich.
Where should you put your money when these powerhouses clash? Let’s get the lay of the land and find some value.
Real and Dortmund both won their opening matches, but looked distinctly different in doing so. Real needed two late goals – one from Alvaro Morata and one from Cristiano Ronaldo – to edge Sporting Lisbon, 2-1 (home). Dortmund, on the other hand, pasted Legia, 6-0 (away), getting goals from six different players.
Real are on the up and up, domestically, winning four straight to take over top spot in the table. But they’re just 3-2-1 in their last six road games in the UCL. Dortmund are 3-1-1 in their last five at home. They’ve also been on a tear, offensively. Since dropping a 1-0 (away) game to Leipzing in the Bundesliga, they’ve rattled off four straight wins (all competitions) by a combined score of 20-2.
The home team has dominated this series of late, taking five of the last six. Dortmund have the talent to hang with Real and will get it done at home.
Pick: Dortmund (+137).
Bayern and Atletico are clearly the class of Group D and showed it in their opening fixtures. Bayern demolished FK Rostov, 5-0 (home), while Atletico cruised to a 1-0 (away) win over PSV Eindhoven.
For Atletico, not much has changed this season. They’re still relying on defense to win games, and have arguably the best backline in the world. Bayern are now under the guidance of Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti, but they’re still an offensive juggernaut that pushes the pace.
When they met in the semifinals last season, Atletico’s defensive style came out on top. They earned a 1-0 home win and then managed a deciding away goal in a 2-1 setback in Germany.
Madrid’s lack of offense is coming back to bite them early in their La Liga campaign. They’ve already drawn three matches, including a 0-0 tie with Leganes back in August, and that’s put them in an early hole to Real and Barcelona. Bayern, meanwhile, are cruising once again in the Bundesliga, winning their first five matches by a combined score of 15-1.
Even though Atletico are a tough nut to crack at home, the Bavarians are on better form and will find a way to tally.
Pick: Bayern Munich (+137).
Photo credit: Carlos Delgado [CC BY-SA 3.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
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