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The UEFA Champions League is one of the premier football tournaments in the world and the main draw begins with the first round proper, pitting 32 teams through 6 games in the group stages; where the top 2 from each group then progress to the next stage.
UEFA Champions League Group Stage
Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid – Over 2.5 & BTTS @ 1.80 (Bet365) – 2.5 points
DORTMUND to score in 1st Half @ 1.80 (Bet365) – 2.5 points
Borussia Dortmund come into this game with one of the best attacking form seen across Europe. Heading into this encounter they have now netted 15 goals in their 5 domestic games, adding to the 6 they smashed in the first game of the Champions League and that is 21 in 6 games. Their offence relies a lot on slick passing as well as speed of their counter attacking team led by Aubamayeng, Dembele, Schurrle and Gotze which has seen them in such scoring form. Dortmund also know that Real Madrid don’t usual travel well to Germany given that they have only won 4 out of 29 games played away in Germany till now. Dortmund will have to be vary of their defence that has seen them leak goals in 6 out of the 8 games this season, which will give Real some confidence that they can find the back of the net.
Real Madrid will now that they are under pressure to perform well, given the struggles they have been facing in recent weeks. They are coming on the back of 2 straight draws and prior to a 2-0 win against Espanyol; they literally stole victory from Sporting scoring 2 goals in the last 7 minutes of the game to get back in it. Real have been struggling defensively with injuries to Navas, Pepe, Marcelo that has seen them leak goals in 5 out of their last 7 games in all competitions this season. Casilla who has been in goal hasn’t been confident, and with a Madrid defence hurting, there is a good chances that Dortmund will try to exploit them on the counter attack. In the scoring department, Ronaldo is still catching back to form since his injury but Morata and Benzema have been shuffling duties and finding the back of the net regularly.
This game promises to be the tie of the round with lots of goals expect and I expect both teams to find the back of the net, especially Dortmund who have scored a goal in the first half of each in 6 out of the last 7 matches.
Juventus came out of the weekend with a disappointing performance against Palermo away from home, and manager Max Allegri will know that following their 0-0 draw against Sevilla in Matchday 1; he will need to solid victory to turn it around. Lyon currently top the group after beating the Croatian side 3-0; and Juventus will just need to look at some of that video footage to see that this Croatian side is on the wane. After selling out most of their players and their coach resigning, Dinamo Zagreb is in turmoil. They stole a late victory against Lokomotiv on the weekend, but they don’t seem to have enough firepower up front like they used to after selling Rog and Pjaca who were their better players going forward.
Juventus will have to rely a lot on Higuain and Dybala whose quality and skill should definitely outweigh the defence that Zagreb will have to bring to the party. The Juventus midfield is the one that really needs to step up as they have been struggling to provide enough service to the attackers. I expect Pjanic and Hernanes to start a little further forward with Asamoah/Lemina to sit deeper to give cover. The defensive unit has been outstanding with just the poor performance against Inter being the only red mark on their season so far.
I expect Juventus to win this game, but I am backing them on the Asian Line as I think that they should win by at least 2 goals in this encounter.
UEFA Champions League Group Stage
CSKA Moscow v Tottenham – Both to Score @ 1.80 (Bet365) – 2.5 points
CSKA Moscow look forward to entertaining Tottenham in one of the more tougher places to travel in Europe as generally going up to Moscow in such cold temperatures don’t necessarily help the visitors. CSKA will be confident heading into this encounter after stealing a 2-2 draw against Leverkusen away from home and will also be encouraged that they have only lost 1 out of their last 7 home Champions League ties. Teams like Manchester City, Roma, Sporting, Manchester United, PSV, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid have always found the matches tough going, with the home side getting a goal in each of those games to keep the ties in the balance. CSKA will be relying on Lancina Traore, Alan Dzagoev and Roman Ermeneko to find the back of the net aside from having a fully fit squad to choose from. CSKA’s defence has seen hem now conceded in 4 out of their last 5 games.
Tottenham have been continuing the great success that they have had from last season where they drew 2, lost 1 and won the remaining of their games so far. Tottenham will be severely disappointed from their encounter against Monaco a fortnight ago where they lost 2-1 in front of their home fans and will need a turn around performance if they want to get out of this group. Tottenham will have top goal scorer Harry Kane out of this game and will rely on the inform Son to continue his scoring performance. Travelling away to Russia is not the easiest for English clubs who have always managed to concede and have a long encounter, and that might continue in this game. Tottenham have played 3 away games so far, and 2 of them have seen their opponents score in that game; while they conceded 10 in 13 away days.
This game looks to be an expansive game with Tottenham needing a victory while CSKA Moscow want to keep their home advantage going and I expect keeping that in mind, both teams should score in this encounter.
UEFA Champions League Group Stage
Leicester City v Porto – Both to Score @ 1.84 (888Sport) – 2.5 points
Leicester City come into his contest on the back of 2 games where they have got beaten by their opponents conceding 4 goals in each of those contests: against Manchester United and Chelsea. While Leicester beat Brugge by a score of 3-0 in their first game of the group; they have struggled in the Premier League losing 4-1 to Liverpool, 2-1 to Hull City while managing to beat Swansea by a score of 2-1 and Burnley by a score of 3-0. Leicester have somehow managed to find the back of the net in almost all of their games this season barring the one against Arsenal and with home crowd support tonight; it will be surprising if they failed not to score.
Porto on the other hand, like Leicester have had a mixed bag of a season so far, they drew a winnable game in their first encounter against Copenhagen by a score of 1-1; and since then drew against Tondela 0-0 while beating Boavista by a score of 3-1. Porto have seen themselves struggle when playing against quality opposition like Roma and Sporting where they have been forced into a lot of pressure for large periods of the game, before finding the back of the net. Andre Silva has been in great form for them, finding the back of the net twice on the weekend and along with Otavinho and Adrian have a good attacking lineup to trouble most teams.
This game looks like an enticing one, which Porto know they need the points from, while Leicester hoping that this game can showcase a return to form for them. I expect both these attacking teams to find the back of the net in this encounter.