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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
Man City AH-1.5 to beat Celtic @ 2.05 (Bet365) – 3 points

Sergio Aguero to score 2 or More Goals @ 4.00 (Bet365) – 1 point

Manchester City have been undefeated since Pep Guardiola has taken over at the Etihad; moreover the have won all their games played in the competition so far. Under Guardiola City have found their mojo playing in a smooth and offensive way that has seen them smash a minimum of 2 goals in every game that they have played so far this campaign. They have now smashed 30 goals in the 10 games played this season, which really showcases the confidence they are riding under. Sergio Aguero is already the competition’s top scorer with a hat-trick in the first game, along with the hat-trick he smashed in qualifying. He returned back from his domestic ban and smashed 2 goals on the weekend, and given his current form, it won’t be a surprise when he takes on this Celtic outfit. He has been ably supported by the likes of Sterling, Nolito, De Bruyne, Navas and Silva who have been servicing him well thought he midfield. With Celtic conceding goals in 13 out of 16 games played so far this campaign, it doesn’t bode well when the Man City side comes to town especially given their performance that came against Barcelona. Aguero is the main outlet for Manchester City’s goal and he will be looking for a couple of goals given that he has smashed 2 goals in in 4 out of the last 5 matches that he has played.

Celtic have beens struggling defensively as I have mentioned, and that I believe down to manager Rodgers who has not been able to get his team concentrating and the demolition against Barcelona was a clear indication of the problems that he is facing. With Guardiola’s rampant City coming into town, a loss here will probably knock out Celtic from Europe solely only on their goal difference itself. While the Battle of Britain as this game is known as should bring about some fierce competitiveness, but Celtic honestly stand no match for this City side. Celtic will be missing defender Derrick Boyata which means Sviatchenko and Lustig will remain in the centre of defence. Celtic might feel confident of finding the back of the net considering that City has leaked goals in each of their last 4 away games.

UEFA Champions League Group Stage
Barcelona WIN/Over 2.5 Match Goals v Gladbach @ 2.10 (Bet365) – 3 points

Barcelona come into this encounter already sitting pretty at the top of their group and will know that they have a great chance to take the group lead ahead of Manchester City with a solid victory tonight. Barcelona have relied a lot of their scoring in recent times on Luis Suarez and Neymar who come into this game with 3 goals combined on the weekend. That should help elevate tensions of the Barca faithful who think that the team needs to depend sorely on Messi, who is injured for this encounter. Barcelona will also rely on the creativity of players like Turan, Iniesta and Rakitic along with the full backs Alba and Roberto to create enough chances for the front two to score. Defensively Barcelona have been struggling especially in recent times since Bravo has left them, conceding in 3 out of their last 5 games. There could be an opportunity to be exposed, which Barcelona will have to outscore Gladbach to win the tie then.

Gladbach come into this game after a good run of form by winning 2 and drawing 1 after they lost out by a 4-0 margin to Manchester City. Gladbach will be hoping that their home fans will help them through the game as they have now scored 6 goals in their last 2 home games led by Stindl, Hazard and Rafael. A lot of reliance will be on Gladbach opening the scoring to steal the tie for that Stindl, Hazard and Hahn need to step up given the absences to key players in Raffael, Hermann, Drmic and Strobl. Gladbach have been struggling defensively however, shipping out goals in 8 out of the 10 games that they have played this season, and that will be their achilles heel especially when the free scoring Barcelona come to town.

Barcelona will look to take advantage of the struggling Gladbach and push a lot of goals past them and I am backing Barcelona to win and over 2.5 goals; given the fact that 7 out of 10 Gladbach games have been over 2.5 goals and 6 out of 9 Barcelona games have been over 2.5 goals.

UEFA Champions League Group Stage
Bayern Munich over 4.5 Corners v Atletico Madrid @ 1.67 (Bet365) – 3 points

Bayern Munich travel away to Atletico Madrid in a typically tough test for away sides as they tend to come out with a lot scoring game. Atletico Madrid’s defence has been extremely stubborn seeing them draw 1-1 with Barcelona a week ago, a 1-0 win against Bayern in the Semi-finals last season, Barcelona losing 2-0 in league last year while Real Madrid drew 1-1 with them. Diego Simeone has made the side into a tight defensive unit, who like to break on the counter attack and score goals. Doing that has seen them ensure that the ball is no where near their goalkeeper Oblak, who himself is a great shot stopper. That has resulted in corners for their opponents in the above 4 games land to Barcelona (8), Barcelona last season (5), Bayern Munich (5) and Real Madrid (1).

Their opponents tonight Bayern have been struggling offensively with a lot of games seeing them score goals only in the second half, and this puts a lot of frustration on their team. Their wingers Ribery and Kingsley Coman like to cut in to space and try to shoot from distance which results in a lot of saves, while full backs Lahm and Alaba like to pump the ball in the box that sees them get a lot of corners as well. Their struggles has seen their corners rack up in their last few games reading – 5, 6, 5, 8, 7, 8 and 5.

With that in mind, the generous offer of over 4.5 team corners for Bayern needs to be absolutely smashed in for tonights encounter and that’s my pick for this game.


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