Barcelona half-time/full-time is one of the fancies in our Tuesday Champions League round-up.
BATE Borisov v Leverkusen
With Roma travelling to Barcelona a win for either of these teams will likely see them move up to second in the group. BATE are big underdogs but they have beaten Roma, Athletic Bilbao and Bayern here since 2012/13. Leverkusen snapped a three game losing streak at the weekend but they don’t have the best of away records in Europe having lost their last four road trips. Their last seven matches in all competitions have seen 36 goals while BATE have scored nine times in their last two games, so expect goals. BATE’s opening two group games finished with a 4-1 defeat in Leverkusen and a 3-2 win here over Roma and with both teams pushing for the win there looks to be a great chance that both teams find the net, while the value is definitely on the home side, who can be backed at 19/2 to win with both scoring.
Zenit v Valencia
Zenit are already through but a point here will guarantee they top the group. In freezing conditions and with a few injuries it promises to be a difficult trip for Valencia. Zenit’s home record in Europe since 2010/11 is an impressive W22-D7-L3 and while their domestic form has been shaky they warmed up with a comfortable 3-0 win at the weekend. Valencia, meanwhile, failed to win at home against Las Palmas and lost at Gent in their last Champions League game to make it four defeats in their last five European away matches.
Barcelona v Roma
Since 2013/14 Barcelona have won 12 of 13 European home games, with nine Win/Win HT/FT doubles and going back another few seasons they’ve won 15 of 17 home group stage matches, with 11 wins by at least two clear goals and five by more than that. Roma haven’t kept a clean sheet in Europe for 26 games and while they did actually win on their last trip to Spain – at Real Madrid in 2008 – the thought of Lionel Messi potentially making his first start in two months is enough to limit expectations.
Bayern v Olympiakos
Bayern have scored 26 goals in their last five European home games with Barcelona the only side to stop them scoring at least five times (they still scored three). Furthermore, they’ve won by at least three clear goals in seven of their last 10 home group stage matches. Olympiakos just need a point to progress but they may need to wait till their home game against Arsenal in the final week having lost 17 of their last 21 trips to Germany, England or Spain. However, they’ve won both away matches in the group so far and have won their opening 10 games in the Greek Super League, so their form is good and with minimal expectations from this game they may look to attack which leads us to the over-goals markets.
Lyon v Gent
This is a must win game for Lyon after just one point from their opening four games and while they are second in Ligue 1 their domestic performances have been well below the level they set last season. Their problems have been mostly in attack and they’ve netted just twice in their first four group games, with three of the matches having fewer than three goals, including the first meeting with Gent. The Belgian side has a few injuries but they won 5-0 on Friday and have lost only one domestic game all season. Half their 10 away games this term have had fewer than three goals with only one having four or more and with a point enough to claim a top-three finish in the group they may look to keep things tight.
Porto v Dynamo Kiev
With a two point deficit to Chelsea and five to Porto, Dynamo will probably have to win this match if they want to progress in the Champions League. They have a fully fit squad though and are in good form, so with third place all but assured they will surely look to attack here. They’ve won five of their last six away matches while scoring at least twice in all those wins and they also won on their last visit to Portugal, a 3-0 victory at Rio Ave last season. However, Porto tend to be formidable at home and have scored at least twice in seven of their last eight European home games, with five of the last seven having at least three goals. Furthermore, five of Porto’s last seven Champions League matches have actually had more than three goals and this could be the most entertaining game of the night.