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Champions League tips: Best bets for Man City v Real Madrid

15 Apr | BY Adam Scriven | MIN READ TIME |
Champions League tips: Best bets for Man City v Real Madrid

Our best bets for Wednesday night's Champions League quarter-final second leg at the Etihad include a win for the hosts with goals at both ends.

After a 3-3 thriller in Madrid, this clash between the two Champions League frontrunners is finely poised going into the second leg. Manchester City are hoping that home advantage can be a deciding factor in this quarter-final clash, with Real having struggled at the Etihad over the years.

The Spanish giants proved they can really trouble this City defence in the first leg and they grew in confidence across the 90 minutes. However, returning home should boost the Premier League champions, who had the perfect weekend leading up to this clash. 

Selections

Over 3.5 Goals /
Goal scored between 1-15 Mins /
Kevin De Bruyne To Score, Manchester City To Win & Both Teams To Score /

Expect another open game

The first leg has set a tone for this clash and it’s hard to see this turning into a cagey affair. The way Real fought back from 1-0 down and the way they approached the second half suggests they think they’ve worked out some weaknesses in City’s defence.

Pep Guardiola’s Tony Pulis-style backline of four huge centre-halves has been a tactical marvel over the last year or so, but without traditional full-backs, they can run into problems. The way Real like to have wingers Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo start centrally and peel off wide – pushing Jude Bellingham from a number 10 role into something of a false nine – can really trouble City.

Real thrived on the counter last week and they’ll likely lean on that even more in the away leg. That arguably works in the favour of both sides, as the more City have the ball the more chances they have to thread a needle through the opposition’s backline. That should see another high-scoring game.

Either side could strike early

I expect these two to pick up where they left off and the tone for the contest should be set very early. Manchester City are on a run of early goals, with Guardiola’s side scoring within 15 minutes in each of their last four matches.

Among those early goals was an equaliser by Kevin De Bruyne, after Crystal Palace broke through the City defence within four minutes. Each of City’s last three games have seen a goal scored within the opening five minutes of the game, while Real led 2-1 in the first leg after a quarter of an hour. Given that, take 9/5 on at least one strike early into this return meeting.

De Bruyne could be key for hosts

Man City have won 12 straight home games in the Champions League and they’ve beaten Real in their last three meetings at the Etihad. While Real seem confident of hurting City’s defence, the hosts should ultimately prove too strong and take the second leg.

De Bruyne didn’t start in Madrid but he should feature in this clash. The Belgian has scored against Real in each of the last three seasons in which they’ve met. He had a goal and two assists across last season’s 5-1 aggregate win, while he both scored and assisted in a 4-3 win in 2022.

Take the 11/2 available for City to win, De Bruyne to score and Real to score.

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