Wednesday Champions League Multi - 20 February
Liverpool likely to deal damage to unconvincing Bayern, while Lyon v Barcelona is a matchup with plenty of entertaining possibilities.
Liverpool vs. Bayern Munich
We’ve already had a number of cracking Champions League last-16 ties, but this one might just take the biscuit. Liverpool are oft-fabled for their Famous European Nights™, and Wednesday might just add another one to their already extensive collection – if this is anything like Liverpool’s 3-2 win over PSG in the group stages, then we are in for a treat.
We all know how Liverpool play, but Bayern’s style is only likely to add to the carnage. Niko Kovač’s men, while coming into this on the back of nine Bundesliga victories out of 10, have shown plenty of frailties which Jürgen Klopp will be eager to exploit – most pertinently: their defence.
Bayern have conceded eight goals in their four away matches this calendar year, but that said, they have also scored at least twice in six of their last seven Champions League matches.
We all know Liverpool can score goals for fun, and I do believe they’ll have some joy against this fairly leaky Bayern side, but Virgil van Dijk’s suspension for this first-leg will certainly even the playing field a little, with Fabinho likely to fill in next to Joel Matip.
We could be in for an absolute classic here, but while Liverpool are having something of a once-in-a-generation season, Bayern have been pretty unconvincing from minute one.
I’m backing Liverpool to win and take an advantage to the Allianz Arena.
Lyon vs. Barcelona
While plenty of eyes will be firmly fixed on Liverpool’s clash with Bayern on Wednesday, Lyon v Barcelona is a matchup with plenty of entertaining possibilities.
Ernesto Valverde’s men come into this as favourites, but this is the strongest Lyon side we’ve seen in a decade, and I have a sneaky feeling they’ll get a result in this first leg. Considering they have beaten PSG this season – as well as earning four points against Manchester City while going unbeaten in their Champions League group – Lyon are not a side to be overlooked, which is why I’m backing a draw on Tuesday.
The visitors have drawn three of their last four matches in all competitions – averaging just one goal apiece – which isn’t a particularly sparkling recent record.
Nabil Fekir’s suspension is a big blow for Lyon, but I’m yet to be entirely convinced by Barcelona, who have a few injury issues coming into this (namely Arthur and Samuel Umtiti).
Leganes, Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Inter, Levante and Sevilla have all prevented Barcelona from winning away from home this campaign, and judging by how well Lyon played against Manchester City on both occasions, there’s a good chance their name will be added to this list.
I suspect Barcelona will come out on top after the two legs, but the Groupama Stadium looks a devilishly tough place to visit this season, which is why my best bet, priced at $4+, is a draw.