By Antony Jordan
The more than two month hiatus of Europe’s top football competition is now over as the first two matches from the last 16 stage of the Champions League kick off around Europe this Tuesday evening. There are four massive sides in action as PSG welcome Barcelona to Parc des Princes and Borussia Dortmund travel to Portugal as they face Benfica in their first leg clash.
We’re expecting two exciting matches in the first Champions League action since the start of December and we’re previewing both of these clashes with online sportsbook Bet365.com to bring you our best Champions League picks!
Paris Saint Germain and Barcelona renew their rivalry this Tuesday night after having a season off last time around as they clashed in the Quarter Finals during the 2012/13 season and then in both the group stage and the last eight round during the 2014/15 campaign. As the odds suggest for this first leg tie, it is the Spanish side who have done the better in these six competitive fixtures with wins in each of the last three meetings and just a single loss in all of these games. They triumphed 5-1 on aggregate as they progressed to the Semi Finals last time these teams met, but will things be different for the home team this time around?
PSG come into this game unbeaten in 11 matches in all competitions and they have won ten of these clashes, drawing only with Monaco. Despite going through the group stages of this competition unbeaten the French team still finished second to Arsenal as they won three and drew three of the six clashes and they will fancy remaining unbeaten on home soil too as they have not lost at the Parc des Princes since March of 2016. They have kept ten clean sheets in front of their own fans in their last 15 home games, but can they make it 11 in 16 against one of the most fierce attacks in world football?
Five of the six competitive meetings between these sides have seen both sides find the net and PSG have never kept a clean sheet against the Catalan team. With Suarez, Messi and Neymar leading the line for the visiting team there is very little chance that Barcelona do not score. They last failed to find the net 20 games ago and all three attackers found the net at the weekend as they defeated Deportivo Alavés 6-0 so they are warmed up for their return to European football.
With three successive wins over PSG, we feel that Barcelona offer some value to win this match, but with five of six clashes between the two seeing both sides find the net and there being a total of 21 goals in six encounters we feel that there is more value to be found on the goals market in this one.
Our best PSG v Barcelona bet is back Both Teams to Score – Yes AND Over 2.5 goals @ 2.10 with Bet365.com.
The Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica hosts the first meeting between Benfica and Borussia Dortmund this Tuesday night as the Portuguese and German sides aim to grab the advantage in the first leg to give themselves the best opportunity to make the last eight of the biggest club football competition in the world, but will it be the side sitting top of the Portuguese Liga or fourth in the Bundesliga that is in pole position at the halfway stage of the tie?
Benfica won two, drew two and lost two in the group stages of this competition as they defeated Dynamo Kyiv home and away, drew with Besiktas home and away and were beaten by Napoli in both games. Despite this inconsistent form in Europe so far this season the two group matches they did not win make up 50% of the home games that they have not won this season. They have won 15 of 19 clashes in front of their own fans and since losing to Napoli they have won eight and drawn one of nine. They have six clean sheets in this run too with 28 goals scored so they will bring plenty of confidence onto the pitch this Tuesday evening, but will it be enough to see off the Germans?
The Bet365 match odds suggest not as Dortmund are favoured to triumph on a ground where so few sides have managed to win this season and with just one win on the road since the start of November we are feeling that there may be some value in the home side in this first leg meeting. The German side do ten to score and concede on the road with them conceding in all of their ten road trips since September and themselves finding the net in nine of those matches.
We feel that this hands the advantage back to the home side and we are backing them to triumph on home soil – although we are covering ourselves too, in case the German side can get something from this clash in Portugal.