Mark O’Haire – Real Madrid v Wolfsburg – Preview & Tips
A shock defeat in Germany last week leaves Real Madrid trailing Wolfsburg 2-0 on aggregate going into Wednesday’s Quarter Final second leg.
Real Madrid v Wolfsburg, Tuesday 12 April 2016 (19.45), BT Sport 2
Did you know, in 15 previous occurrences of teams losing 2-0 away from home in the first leg of a Champions League game, only twice have they managed to progress? In fact, since 1970 only 19% of teams to lose the first leg of an away knockout game 2-0 have gone through.
Did you also know, Real Madrid’s last eight attempts at overturning first leg deficits in this competition ended in failure? It’s all true.
But recent history is on Real’s side – Bayern Munich landed a knockout blow against Porto last season despite losing 3-1 in Portugal whilst Manchester United and Barcelona have delivered similarly strong second leg performances after shockingly poor openers on the road since 2013.
Madrid managed just three shots-on-target in Wolfsburg last Wednesday – their lowest tally in a Champions League game since October 2012 – and there’s a fair suggestion that the Los Blancos squad were still riding the euphoric wave of a Clasico victory.
But with minds now focussed, Zinedine Zidane’s star-studded squad could quite comfortably turn this tie on its head.
The cavalry should return having been rested for the 4-0 thumping of Eibar on Saturday with Raphael Varane the only injured absentee and with the 10-time European champions triumphing in all but one of the nine games Zidane has managed at the Bernabeu – scoring 37 goals – the hosts will be confident.
This season Madrid have W18-D1-L2 at the Bernabeu and since the start of December that record reads W12-D0-L1 with three or more goals plundered on 11 occasions at a rate of 4.77 goals-per-game. Nine of those 12 victories were by at least three goals with their only reverse coming against neighbours Atletico.
Looking at Champions League returns, Real have W29-D3-L2 in their past 34 outings as hosts including 16 wins from their most recent 18 on the continent. Crucially, 10 of those 16 successes came by scorelines that would at least take them to extra time, and eight by margins that would see them through in 90 minutes.
However, it should be noted that Los Blancos’ lack of an away goal could leave them a little exposed. The Spaniards are yet to leak a Champions League goal at the Bernabeu this season but Roma and PSG could and should have picked up results in the capital, failing to net when well on top.
With Wolfsburg likely to field the same XI that secured victory in Germany – Andre Schürrle spearheading the attack with support from the pace and trickery of Julian Draxler and first-leg goalscorer Maximilian Arnold, Dieter Hecking’s charges know an away goal isn’t beyond the realms of possibilities. It would leave Real requiring four goals.
But the Bundesliga side have a horrible record on the road over the past few campaigns. Wolfsburg have won just twice in nine road trips now and were humbled 3-0 at Bayer Leverkusen in the match preceding the first leg contest. Indeed, the visitors boast the second worst away record in the Bundesliga.
Wolfsburg have W5-D4-L10 in away days during 2015/16 and looking at league results since 2013/14 the guests have W16-D12-L20 recording just 7/48 clean sheets. Ten of those 20 defeats were by margins of at least two goals or more.
The Wolves have managed just 11 goals in their 14 away games in league action this term – six of which came in their trips to the bottom two – and they’ve also shipped exactly two goals in three of their four away continental clashes. The Dante-Naldo centre-half partnership certainly doesn’t fill punters with confidence.
And arguably the final nail in the coffin comes in German clubs’ record in Spain (other than Bayern Munich) since the start of the nineties. Germans have been beaten in 20 of 23 visits, including eight of nine knockout matches with seven defeats by at least two goals and four by three or more goals.
So I’m going to support Real Madrid to qualify at 10/11 and back Cristiano Ronaldo to score 2+ goals at 31/20 on Tuesday night.
CR7 has scored 23 goals in his past 13 games at the Bernabeu. The Portuguese juggernaut has scored/assisted 74% of Real Madrid’s goals in this season’s competition (17 out of 23) and notched 37 goals in in 35 Champions League games at the Bernabeu since moving to Madrid.
If Zidane’s troops deliver the goods, Ronaldo will surely play a leading role.
Real Madrid to qualify @ 10/11
Cristiano Ronaldo to score 2+ @ 31/20