The dust has settled and we have our semifinalists; Roma, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich (two of which are not like the other). Liverpool and Bayern will host the first leg of matches against Roma and Real Madrid respectively.
Clearly the two favorites to win it all are Madrid and Bayern but since they are playing each other, it offers value in the futures of Roma and Liverpool. In fact I’m high on Roma getting out of the tie against Liverpool because if they can get a result at Liverpool, it allows them to seal a trip to the final in the second leg. The same also goes for Madrid who are actually away in the first leg too, and are underdogs.
Let’s get into the semifinals.
Roma @ Liverpool – Liverpool come into this a 1-goal favorite which I would find dangerous in any semifinal, but with how Liverpool has played all year (especially at home) in the Champions League it may be hard to pass up on them. But there are reasons why you may need to fade Liverpool not just in this 2-legged draw but also with the 1-goal spread in Leg 1.
Roma won a group that consisted of Atletico Madrid and Chelsea when they were favored to be the third team in that group. Another reason is that they just came off of a 3-0 win against Barcelona in a comeback over the two legs. Yes they lost Leg 1 by 3 goals and had to come back at home, but they did and they did it against arguably the best team in the world. Roma are also coming off of a win in the league where they sat almost half of their starting XI, while Liverpool are coming off of a 2-2 draw to the worst team in the league where they played 8 players who may be starting on Tuesday.
Giving Roma a point in a most likely low-scoring semifinal Leg 1 is a bold move from Vegas and I cant fade them here. Liverpool may win, but I’ll cap that win at a one-goal maximum. Roma (+1).
Real Madrid @ Bayern Munich – The two giants in the semifinal will square off in a rematch in last year’s Quarterfinal where Real Madrid took Bayern for a spin in a 6-3 aggregate win on their way to back-to-back titles. These two teams are in somewhat different shape going into this match, so let’s analyze that first.
Bayern are coming into this match RED HOT. They are on a 7 match unbeaten run and have an aggregate score of 26-5 in those matches. To put them into an even higher class, those matches came against 2 top 4 teams in the Bundesliga, and Sevilla twice in the Champions League. They’ve already secured their 6th straight Bundesliga title and are now playing for the ultimate prize; the Champions League.
Real Madrid meanwhile have not only been inconsistent all year long, but have stumbled lately. In their last 4 matches they only have 1 win and have a losing aggregate score of 5-6. The only caviat in those statistics is that nothing has mattered to Real Madrid when playing in the Champions League as they have shown that they can beat anyone, anywhere and in any way they want. They’ve showed up on the big stage all year long and so has their main man Ronaldo who morphs into the best player on the planet again when under the bright lights of the Champions League.
I don’t know how this tie will go through two legs, but I will side with the steady hand of Bayern in this one. Yes, Real Madrid have been the best team in this competition, but Bayern have not been stopped at home this season going undefeated at home in both the Bundesliga and the Champions League. Bayern Munich (-0.5).
Europa League Semifinals
Atletico Madrid @ Arsenal – They’ll do it for Wenger (and probably draw). Arsenal (Pick -110).
Salzburg @ Marseille – Marseille are just the much better team in this one and I physically can’t fade them here at home. Marseille (-0.5).
That’s it for this blog but keep your eyes out for this weekend’s preview and possibly a power rankings to come. Until next time!
Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.