The 2-month wait is over, because the Champions League returns to motion this week with the knockout phases. I lastly have an opportunity to fill in that “0-0” mark that is been sitting within the desk monitoring my outcomes all this season.
For these of you who could also be new to the Champions League, the knockout phases are the match’s second section. Group play consists of eight teams of 4 enjoying six matches in opposition to the opposite three groups of their group (one residence, one away), and ultimately, the highest two groups within the group transfer on to the knockout phases.
The knockout phases resemble a extra conventional match format like within the NCAA Event, although the house and away facet stays till the ultimate. So the matches we’ll see this week are merely the primary of two legs, and after the second leg, the workforce that wins on combination will transfer on.
That is vital not solely to grasp what’s taking place but additionally from a playing perspective. It provides a little bit of nuance as a result of the method groups would absorb a win-or-go-home setting is far totally different than the method they might select for this format. The street workforce may look to maintain issues shut till they return residence for the second leg. It is a issue that makes betting these matches tougher however extra enjoyable on the similar time.
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RB Leipzig vs. Actual Madrid
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 13 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Watch: Paramount+
Neither of those groups have been pressured to interrupt a sweat in group play, as Actual Madrid gained all six of their matches, and Leipzig’s solely losses got here to Manchester Metropolis. The latter portion of that sentence stands out to me essentially the most right here. Leipzig outscored Younger Boys and Crimson Star 10-4 however have been outscored 6-3 by Man Metropolis. That is commonplace, however what stands out is that Leipzig didn’t maintain a clear sheet in any of the matches.
It is nothing new for Leipzig. Whereas they’re the fourth-best protection in Germany going off anticipated targets (xG) allowed, they’ve solely managed six shutouts in 21 matches, and 5 of these got here within the first 9 matches of the season. They’ve solely carried out it as soon as of their final 12. Actual Madrid have been shut out as soon as in 34 matches throughout all competitions and have managed to attain not less than twice in 25. Even when Madrid take a extra relaxed method, they’re going to have ample alternative to attain. The Choose: Over 2.5 (-150)
Copenhagen vs. Manchester Metropolis
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 13 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Watch: CBS/Paramount+
Copenhagen is a superb story reaching this level of the match, however I would be mendacity if I did not say they bought a bit fortunate to be right here. They’d the worst xG differential within the group however have been the beneficiary of Galatasaray’s and Manchester United’s failures. Now, their reward is Manchester Metropolis. Hooray!
As we enter the week, Copenhagen sits in third place in Denmark’s Superliga. There is not a lot motive to imagine they’re going to knock off the defending champions, however betting Man Metropolis to win at (-400) is not essentially the most thrilling play on the earth. As a substitute, I will take a barely totally different route that results in the identical vacation spot. The Choose: Copenhagen Below 0.5 (-125)
PSG vs. Actual Sociedad
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 14 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Watch: CBS/Paramount+
PSG is a tricky workforce to get a learn on. Did they end in second place in its group behind Borussia Dortmund as a result of it is not nearly as good because it often is, or was it only a byproduct of enjoying in essentially the most troublesome group (AC Milan and Newcastle United have been the groups that didn’t advance)? Sure, PSG is working away with issues in Ligue 1, however that will say extra concerning the state of the league than PSG proper now.
I sat and contemplated this for some time earlier than realizing I did not care! It is PSG, enjoying at residence in opposition to a Actual Sociedad workforce that at present sits in seventh place in Spain and has gained solely 4 of its 12 matches because the group stage ended. And it is solely scored eight targets in these 12 matches! You are not beating a workforce with Kylian Mbappe on it 0-0, regardless of how laborious you attempt. The Choose: PSG (-145)
Lazio vs. Bayern Munich
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 14 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Watch: Paramount+
Not that Bayern Munich would ever not take the Champions League significantly, however I’ve to surprise if Bayern will take issues to a distinct gear after dropping to Bayer Leverkusen over the weekend. Bayern at the moment are 5 factors behind Leverkusen within the Bundesliga, and it seems like its run of 11 straight league titles will finish. The Champions League could be its greatest probability at silverware this season.
This isn’t excellent news for a Lazio workforce caught in impartial a lot of the season. Sure, they superior by the group phases, however they weren’t nice in its six matches; they’d a neater draw with Feyenoord and Celtic in the identical group. And that is been Lazio’s story even at residence in Italy. They’ve carried out effectively in opposition to the underside half of the league and struggled with the higher groups. Even at residence, it is powerful to think about Lazio pulling off a victory right here. The Choose: Bayern Munich (-145)