Matchweek 35/36: 4-4-2
All-Time Record: 224-199-57
After an average weekend in the Premier League, I (and everyone else on Earth) switches their focus to the Champions League Semifinals on Tuesday and Wednesday. Even though I whiffed in the first legs of both of these matches (thanks Europa League for saving me), I’m not going to let that change my strategy for Leg 2. Trust The Process baby!
Bayern Munich  @ Real Madrid  – This is a major uphill battle for Bayern here after they gave up two away goals to Madrid in Leg 1. For Bayern, a 2-1 win will put it into extra time, a 3-1 win would put them through, but anything less than either of those (basically without the two away goals) and they are watching the final from home. Last season in the Champions League they also lost 2-1 in Leg 1 but blew the second leg 4-2 in Madrid to bow out in the Quarterfinals.
This is where I get caught between two though processes though, as Madrid have to prepare for El Clasico this Sunday but also can’t lose focus on the task at hand. Over the last few seasons they’ve been almost perfect at home in the Champions League, but a draw or even a 1-0 loss will still put them through.
As I mention in the next preview, only one team has won both legs in the semifinals over the last 3 Champions League campaigns. I can’t stray away from Bayern here as the underdog as they are too good to capitulate on this stage. It may be the risky pick, but I have to trust my gut on an underdog who needs to win by two goals. Bayern Munich (+0.5).
Liverpool  @ Roma  – After being down 5-0, Roma actually responded brilliantly in Leg 1 with two away goals to give themselves a chance for the second leg. For those that don’t know, Roma will need to win 3-0 or 4-1 to go through, with a 5-2 scoreline putting it into Extra Time. The odds that any of these happen are slim, with the most likely result being the 3-0 or 4-1 but Roma will need to score early if they want either of those to happen.
There is good news for Roma though, as just in the last round they became the third team to every come back from a 3-goal aggregate deficit in the second leg. To add to that, only 1 team in the last 3 years has won both legs in the semifinals. Form-wise, Liverpool come off of another bad league draw to Stoke, who are slated to get relegated this season and Roma are coming off of a comfortable 4-1 victory.
I don’t see Roma getting through to the finals here, but I think they will at least draw here. Roma (Pick -105).
That’s all for this week’s Champions League matches. I’ll be back for this weekend’s preview and an updated Power Rankings after the dust has settled in the Champions League.
Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.