Everybody that follows soccer, or even sports have probably been made aware of the spectacle that were created after Legia Warsaw dominated Celtic over two matches in qualifying for the Champions League, but then were stripped of their win and place in the final qualifying match because they used an ineligible player for the last 3 minutes of the last match. Foolish by Legia Warsaw, yes, but far too harsh a punishment in my opinion. I think they ought to judge these matters on a case by case basis, and given that this had no bearing on the result should count for something.
Anyways, Celtic is now playing for a spot in the Champions League and they are gonna have to show up with some better football than they did against Warsaw if they are going to have any hopes of advancing. Maribor have been playing exceptionally well in their home league in Slovenia winning all 3 of their games so far and beating Gorica 4-1 in the supercup. They are really riding high and barely missed the Champions League last year. In the Europa League they showed good display off football and they are now looking to go further. Their home crowd is enthusiastic which should help them even further and the team here is not worse than Legia by no stretch.
Celtic were playing very weak in their matches against Legia and it seems their new coach Ronny Deila have not quite found the play style that is right for the team as of yet. It has gotten better as he nabbed a 3-0 victory at the start of the season, but this league is quite weak and is not what counts for its supporters. They want – no, rather need the participation of this big league. Deila needs to get their defence in order and make the necessary adjustments or else they are going to be in for another humiliating defeat. We like the Slovenian side here to get going with a good result.
Our Predictions: Maribor to win (Odds are 2.88 @ Bet365)
A big match coming up in the handball Champions League. Barcelona is taking on the german team from Mannheim Rhein Neckar Löwen in a must win match. And a big win is needed as Barcelona lost 31-38 in the first match. The german team played out of their minds and had a great day at work. But if there is a team that can rise to the task we believe that it is the spaniards.
Rhein Neckar Löwen shows excellent form at the moment where they have beaten Barcelona and are going strong in their league at home where they are the supreme leaders. Although they did showcase real strength in the first leg at home I do not expect to see such a great performance again. Gensheimer scored an amazing 14 goals, but unlikely to happen again in such a short time.
Barcelona is the favorite here at home, but are still under immense pressure. They need to not only topple the germans, but by no less than 8 goals in order to advance to the semifinals. For them to be able to do this they need to play solid defence and that is what this Barcelona side is known for. Their front is quite hard to break through, and with Sterbik back they are setup to stop the goals from pouring in like they did in the first game.
We are not as confident in the offensive side though, and while we believe everything is still a toss up on who advances, we would like to posit a bet on goals scored from Rhein Neckar Löwen. With the Barcelona side fired up they are likely to stop most of what is coming at them, and they need to in order to win. We are betting that they show up with a lackluster performance and score less than 28 goals here.
Our Predictions: Rhein Neckar Löwe, under 28 goals (Odds are 1.85 @ Bet365)
What is there to say about Atletico Madrid that has not been said about them? Simeone has done an incredible job with a team that before this season looked troubled with a lot of debt, losing key players and other problems.
Now they are in the semifinals and might be free of their financial troubles (or at least ease them a lot) if they advance. They thus have a lot to play for and will probably continue their great streak after defeating Barcelona in the quarter finals.
For this match most of their players are fit and ready to go, and even Ardan Turan is ready to play for the Spanish side which might be a crucial sub in the game. Besides this their morale is at an all time high as they are fighting for trophies all over.
Chelsea on the other hand is trucking along. They are off course a force to be reckoned with as they have for long now been a tough team to beat in any competition.
But they seem to be struggling right now. They just suffered a terrible loss against Sunderland this week, and that was at home. Since they are still in the hunt for the Premier League title this is no good. Now they are facing much tougher opposition and are away to boot.
As most know, Mourinho is tactical adept and will likely lay low and simply try to defend and keep it to a draw and force a goal at home, boring stuff for us viewers, but Atletico is not gonna let that happen. They are likely to pounce in order to get a good result going to Stamford Bridge so we like a bet on the Spanish side here.
Our Predictions: Atletico Madrid to win (Odds are 1.85 @ Bet365)
So we have another two big games going down in the Champions League 2014. The second round of second legs are being played and Manchester United is visiting the german team Bayern Munich after a 1-1 draw in England last game.
The bookies seems to think that this game is already sealed and done, but it does not seem that people are aware that this is the one tournament that matters for United as of now. They are already out of the Champions League chase for next year, not to mention the title race and has to cling to the hope of winning this years CL.
While the Munich side is the far better of these two they are missing quite a lot of players for this match. Players like Schweinsteiger, Alcantara, Shaqiri, Martinez, Contento and many others. Guardiola is quoted saying he has 14 starters available from his squad. Even though they are the better team this won’t hold up in the Champions League.
United are missing a couple of great starters as well though in Mata and van Persie. They are still able to field a nice team where players with minor injuries are back and they seem to have gotten a grip on what they need to do in order to get things back on track.
Bayerns form has also been weak lately. Being at 2-3-0 in the last five, but that might have to do with the fact that they have already won the league title at home and are likely to rest players in order to go for the champions league trophy this year as well.
United are high up after beating Newcastle 0-4 last week and are likely confident going into this game. I foresee that it is gonna be tough, but United have the experience in these tight spots and are capable of doing the seemingly impossible.
Bayern Munich will be content simply advancing here and will likely lay back and let United take charge. We foresee a low scoring, but exciting match as United will be chasing the winning scores.
Our Predictions: Under 2.5 goals (Odds are 2.70 @ 5Dimes)