Mark O’Haire’s Champions League Tips – Bayern Munich v Atletico MadridStats
Bayern v Atletico
It’s advantage Atletico Madrid heading into Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg in Munich.
Bayern Munich v Atletico Madrid, Tuesday 3rd May 2016, 19.45, BT Sport Europe
Los Colchoneros’ wonderful blend of organisational excellence, dogged hard work and outstanding efficiency has given the club firm favouritism to reach their third ever final in Europe’s showpiece event.
Of the 29 teams to previously take a 1-0 victory in the first home leg of a Champions League knockout tie, a chunky 20 (69%) have managed to see out the second leg and Atletico will be relishing the chance to extend that record here.
No side on the planet enjoys playing the underdog role more and no side on earth knows how to sit and protect better than Diego Simeone’s battle-hardened and lion-hearted squad.
Having extraordinarily kept their sheets clean in 15 of their last 20 Champions League ties – including four in five knockout games this season – it’s advantage Atleti.
The capital club kept their La Liga title challenge on track despite making wholesale changes on Saturday and the visitors have now won seven fixtures on the spin, including six shutouts. Four of those victories were achieved by a 1-0 scoreline and considering the lay of the land, a repeat at 12/1 here shouldn’t be snuffed at.
The Spaniards can welcome back defensive rock Diego Godin from injury and can also now select the fully fit Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, giving Simeone’s side greater options further forward on the counter-attack. Los Colchoneros are masters of the clinical break and executed it perfectly against Barcelona in the quarter-final.
Looking back at the first leg, Bayern did push and press hard for a goal, firing in 20 attempts and created 17 chances whilst Atletico faced the fourth-most shots on goal (7) in a match all season. Indeed, the Madrid club enjoyed just 26.5% possession but defended supremely.
Saul Niguez’s flourish of brilliance settled matters but Simeone arguably got the better of Pep Guardiola from a tactical perspective and now the Bayern boss is under intense pressure to deliver a stirring comeback in the Allianz Arena.
Bayern Munich have progressed from five of the seven Champions League ties in which they’ve lost the away leg 1-0 and the hosts have won their last 11 in a row in this competition on home soil, although one of those – against Juventus in the last 16 – came after extra time when they trailed 2-0 and only levelled in the last minute of normal time.
The Bavarian powerhouses have been struggling to make their dominance pay of late and the 10-time finalists were far from convincing when edging past Juve and Benfica in the previous two rounds. Pep’s men have also recorded just the one clean sheet in five knockout rounds this season with both previous visitors to Munich enjoying enough goalscoring opportunities to have landed a Bayern KO.
At the weekend, FC Hollywood fielded a B team against Gladbach and were held to a 1-1 draw, missing the opportunity to wrap up the title early and in front of their own fans. Jerome Boateng made his long-awaited return in that game but the Bayern crowd and local press remained unimpressed.
Pep’s legacy in Munich is on the line as his treble-seeking side begin to chunder on the final furlong.
The Munich media are already preparing the Catalan’s footballing obituary having seen the Bavarians fail to grab an away goal on Spanish soil for the third successive year
previously losing out to Real Madrid and Barcelona – the knives are being sharpened.
Patience is key if the hosts are to stand any chance and they must move away from the slow paced and predictable football they’ve practised all too often in recent months. However, a repeat of their headless chicken antics that were seen against Juventus could and will kill off their treble dreams in an instant.
There are of course positives – Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller have combined for 70 goals this season and both should start here. But the Juventus matches are possibly the closest dress rehearsal for Atletico and in three encounters against the Old Lady and Los Colchoneros, Bayern have fumbled.
Simeone will know, the longer they can keep the Germans from scoring, the more likely the game is to open up. And then it comes down to the simple matter of efficiency, so sitting deep and structured for the first 45 minutes will be top of Atleti’s agenda – and those ideals could lead us to profit.
In seven away Champions League knockout ties under the Argentine, the half-time scores has been 0-0 on five occasions. A repeat at the Allianz Arena can be snapped up at 13/8 and that looks like a great first port of call.
Bets, Bets, Bets
Secondly, we can snap up Under 2.5 Goals at a hunky 8/11. Ordinarily this selection would be much shorter but because this is a second leg where attack will have to become top priority for someone at some stage, we’re able to capitalise on the generous price.
For the record, fewer than three goals have been scored in five of Atletico’s last six as well as five of their seven away knockout ties in this competition. Meanwhile, Bayern have followed suit in seven of their last 10 across all competitions and I just can’t foresee a goal-heavy game in Munich.
Under 2.5 Goals (8/11)
0-0 Half-Time Correct Score (13/8)