Wednesday Champions League Multi - 5 March
It would take a mammoth effort for Spurs to blow it while Real Madrid are in the driving seat after their Amsterdam triumph.
Dortmund v Tottenham
Spurs head to Germany in an incredibly strong position following their 3-0 victory at Wembley against Borussia Dortmund, but they shouldn’t feel safe yet – the Signal Iduna Park is a fortress.
Dortmund beat Atletico Madrid 4-0 at home in the group stages of this season’s competition, and if a side as savvy and battle-hardened as Atletico can capitulate under the yellow wall, what on earth could happen to Spurs?
In the Bundesliga, Dortmund are unbeaten at home (drawing just two of their 12 matches), banging in 40 goals in the process; this is far from a forgone conclusion.
Spurs have lost their last four away games in all competitions – most recently a meek defeat at the hands of Chelsea – which is why I’m backing Dortmund to win on the night.
I believe the Londoners will scrape through by the skin of their teeth, perhaps virtue of an away goal, but I’m convinced Dortmund finish the second-leg as victors.
Real Madrid v Ajax
It’s certainly been an eventful season for Real Madrid, but while domestic duties aren’t quite going to plan, they are in good shape to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and they’re not going to give up the trophy – the trophy they’ve held at ransom for so, so long – without a proper scrap.
Real’s 2-1 win in Amsterdam has given Ajax - who have generally been impressive in Europe this season - a mountain to climb. Their task isn’t impossible, however: CSKA Moscow shocked Europe with a 3-0 win at the Bernabéu earlier this season, and Erik ten Hag will take plenty of encouragement from that.
But as we all know, when push really comes to shove in Europe, Real Madrid deliver. They may be Zidane and Ronaldo-less, but winning (at least in Europe) is ingrained in these players’ DNA, and I expect them run out comfortable winners.
For my best bet, I’m backing Real Madrid to win and over 2.5 goals to be scored, priced at a nifty $2.
There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 30 of Real Madrid’s last 33 Champions League matches, and they’ve scored at least twice in 13 of their last 16.
The necessity for Ajax score is also handy; the state of the tie means the match will be open, making over 2.5 goals (and hopefully a home win) even more of a likelihood.