IT’S. BACK. BABY. The best annual sports tournament in the world starts up again after a three month break. There are some insane matchups between several European powerhouses making the next month very enticing.
This Season’s Record: 132-118-32 (-4.8 Units)
Matchweek 26 Record: 4-8-2 (-4.5 Units)
Tough week, as per usual a couple late goals set me back. But luckily I’ve had a great track record.
Let’s get into Tuesday and Wednesday’s matches!
UEFA Champions League Leg 1
Tuesday, February 12th
3:00 pm EST
PSG @ Manchester United (TNT) – United have struck gold as Neymar and Cavani will be sitting out this first leg in Manchester, giving them some more hope. United have also been in amazing form under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, going 10-1-0. Although they’ve gone 11 straight without a loss, they haven’t played anyone quite like PSG (yes even without Neymar and Cavani). This PSG team is still so dangerous and with young star Kylian Mbappe fully fit and rested, United will still have a lot of work to do. I tried finding ways to fade this PSG team but I just couldn’t especially as underdogs. PSG’s defense is better, their midfield is better with the exception of Pogba for United and I think Mbappe is the best player in this game and can make a direct impact. There isn’t a single person on defense for United who can stop or even slow him down and I expect PSG to get the first goal, sit back and defend and take anything but a loss. PSG (+0.5, -135).
Porto @ Roma – This is a very interesting draw here as most people would see this and expect Roma to not only go through, but probably comfortably. Well folks that thought process couldn’t be any more correct (in my humble opinion of course). Yes Porto play in an inferior league and were given an easy draw in the group stage, but they are a really tough team to break down. They haven’t lost since early October, are facing a Roma team who sit in 6th in Serie A and this Roma team have been in very poor form. I love Porto as underdogs against a lackluster Roma and I think they grab a crucial draw in the first Leg before going back to Portugal. Porto (+0.5, -120).
Wednesday, February 13th
3:00 pm EST
Real Madrid @ Ajax – You’re probably thinking, “oh three-time defending champions Real Madrid should run through an Ajax team”. Well just like Porto/Roma, you would be wrong in thinking that. This is an Ajax team who almost won a group which Bayern was expected to run away with, drew that Bayern team twice in the group stage and are always very tough to beat in Amsterdam (undefeated this season at home). Real Madrid meanwhile, have a Champions League void to fill after Ronaldo left. They almost didn’t win one of the easier groups this year and have had a tougher-than-usual season in Spain this year. But Madrid are beginning to figure it out recently as they are unbeaten in seven straight matches, two of which coming against Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. But this match comes at the end of a run of tough fixtures and their lack of depth has been a massive issue for this Madrid team. I’m going to put trust in Ajax, who are young and have the quality to run with big teams, to play this one to a draw in Leg 1. Ajax (+0.5, +105).
Borussia Dortmund @ Tottenham (TNT) – Both teams will be without a few key stars, but Spurs seem to be the ones suffering a bit more. Without Kane and Alli, Spurs are obviously at a big loss as their leading goal scorer and key box-to-box midfielder leave a pretty big hole. But Dortmund will be without their player of the season in Marco Reus and they will likely need American wonderkid Christian Pulisic to step up in his place. But this is a Dortmund team who has run through the Bundesliga competition this season and won a group that contained Atletico Madrid. They’re high-scoring, fast on the break and have done well in all of their big games this season. My only worry with picking Dortmund is that they’ve had three straight draws in all competitions (although they have lost only once since early November) and Spurs have won three straight. But I think Dortmund still rise to the occasion and I can’t fade them on a very generous pickem line. Borussia Dortmund (+0.5, -125) **LINE AS OF 2:00 PM EST ON 2/13**.
That’s all for this weeks Champions League action!
Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.