Real Madrid are favourites to book their place in a third successive Champions League final as they prepare to host Bayern Munich in the semi-final second leg on Tuesday.
Real, who are 1/4 to qualify in 90 minutes, hold all the aces after securing a hard-fought 2-1 first-leg win over the Bundesliga champions away from home last week and are expected to get the job done at the Bernabeu with two away goals in the bag.
Zinedine Zidane’s side, 23/20 to win the match, have not been at their best this season but have discovered the happy knack of grinding out wins, particularly in Europe, when they need them the most and it would be a major shock if the Bavarians recovered to progress from here.
After successfully becoming the first club in the modern Champions League era to defend their European crown 12 months ago, Real now stand just 180 minutes away from making it three in a row and few would back against the experienced campaigners to add to their trophy haul in Kiev, even though Liverpool or Roma will have other ideas next month.
Real’s great strength in the latter stages of the competition has been their ability to manage games perfectly. They know when to sit deep and sustain pressure – like for large periods of the first leg against Bayern – while they can then strike themselves on the counter-attack with a frontline to worry anyone, led by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese ace was subdued in the first leg but he rarely lets the biggest occasions pass him by, so expect the 33-year-old to be back to his influential best in the return game and he is 57/20 to be first goalscorer.
Zidane rested a host of his first-choice players for Saturday’s 2-1 win over Levante but the likes of Toni Kroos, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Ronaldo will all be back on Tuesday as they look to repel what will probably be an early onslaught from Bayern as they look to get themselves back into the tie.
Real only just made it past Juventus in the quarter-final when they were sloppy in the extreme in the second leg at home, as Ronaldo’s late penalty prevented a famous Juve comeback. The events of that game will offer Bayern hope they can turn things around and expect both teams to score at 20/51, with over 3.5 on the night attractive to back at 1/1.
Trying to make a case for Bayern to make it to the final is tough, even though their focus has been on the Champions League since they wrapped the Bundesliga title up weeks ago.
Outgoing boss Jupp Heynckes rested most of his first-choice players in Saturday’s 4-1 home stroll against Eintracht Frankfurt but, even at their strongest, it will be difficult for them in Madrid against the record 12-time winners and they are priced at 11/5 to win the match with the draw at 3/1.
Breaching the Real defence at least once should not be too much of a problem on the night but keeping Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Lucas Vazquez, Isco and Gareth Bale quiet at the other end will be, and for those looking for correct score value – an entertaining 2-2 outcome on the night, which would see Real progress, might appeal at 21/2.
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