Paris Saint-Germain are out. Real Madrid, the champions, have bitten the dust. Atletico Madrid are 2/9 to knock Juventus out on Tuesday. The 2018/19 Champions League is really opening up for a team to go and win it.
And it could very easily be Bayern Munich or Liverpool. The former are 11/1 to be crowned Champions of Europe on June 1st, while the Reds are 9/1. They’re both a shorter price to go all the way than three of the four teams who are already through to the last eight. The outcome of this tie could have a big impact on the outcome of this season’s Champions League.
Paddy’s not really sure which way it’s going to go either. The home side are available at 10/11 to qualify from the tie, with Liverpool narrow 4/5 favourites. Bayern might be evens to win the match in 90 minutes while Jürgen Klopp’s team are 12/5, but the Reds only need a score draw to reach the last eight.
The clubs have been here before, albeit not for almost 40 years. Liverpool have drawn five European knock-out first legs 0-0 at Anfield, and three of them have been against Bayern.
The good news for Kopites is that they got through following three of their previous four home 0-0s, but more recent Champions League history is not on their side.
Of the 21 ties in the past 15 seasons which began with a 0-0 draw, the side playing at home in the second leg went through 16 times. Bayern’s home record is so strong, with just one defeat in all competitions this season, it’s hard not to back them to get the job done.
Plus they haven’t lost a Champions League knock-out match at home to a team other than Real Madrid for six years. They lost 2-0 to Arsenal in 2013. No really.
We can probably rule out another 0-0, as there has only been one tie which ended entirely goalless since 2004. There are also only three examples of a team scoring the first goal of a Champions League knock-out tie in the second leg after a 0-0 and not qualifying. Opening the scoring is always massive, but here it will be enormous. Ginormous, even.
Liverpool’s away form doesn’t augur well for them. They haven’t scored at all in their last two games on the road in the league and netted just once away from home in the group stage.
Bayern haven’t conceded the first goal in a Champions League match at the Allianz Arena for three years, and only once there in any competition this season. Sorry, Liverpool fans, if your team is going to get through then they’ll probably have to do it the very hard way.
But that’s not to say Klopp’s side can’t score on Wednesday night. Bayern have only kept three clean sheets in their last 10 home games in the knock-out stages of the Champions League.
Despite their lack of away goals recently, Liverpool will carry more attacking threat than Benfica, Besiktas and Sevilla – the last three teams who failed to score at Bayern in a knock-out tie – so Paddy and I agree we can expect a few goals here.
Robert Lewandowski is the favourite in the goal scorer market, a position which is fully justified by his record. Klopp’s former forward has scored 23 goals in his last 22 Champions League games at home, with nine in his last 10 knockout games at the Allianz Arena. Lewa is also the only Bayern player with more than two goals in the competition this season, so it’s hard to make a case for anyone else.
A Liverpool scorer is harder to select. The Reds’ front three all notched 10 Champions League goals last season, but have just six between them in 2018/19. Mohamed Salah is the shortest price, Roberto Firmino is the value pick, but it’s Sadio Mané who is the Liverpool man in form.
The Senegalese star has scored eight goals in his last nine appearances. He also had two of Liverpool’s three clear-cut chances in the home leg against Bayern, so will be looking to make up for those misses in Munich.