Manchester City is once again bidding for that elusive Champions League title, and Pep Guardiola’s team is the pick to gain a slight advantage with a first-leg win over Bayern Munich.
Who do Bettors Favor?
The best-rated online sportsbooks have taken a clear approach to the first leg of the biggest quarter-final matchup and as expected, bettors have made Manchester City the strong favorite to win. The reigning Premier League champion team is a -115 favorite with most bookmakers, while the German champion is a +265 shot to win the first leg and the draw is rated at around +290.
|Manchester City v Bayern Munich|
Champions League Quarter-Final Briefing
We’re down to the last eight stage of the Champions League and after a flurry of activity, there is a lull before the quarterfinals get underway in the middle of April. These ties will be played on the standard two-leg basis, but one interesting factor to bear in mind at this stage is that the draw for the semi-finals was made at the same time as that for the quarterfinals, so all the teams know their potential opponents.
There is the prospect of Real Madrid facing either Bayern Munich or Manchester City in the semi-finals, while we could also be in for an all-Italian tie at the last four stage as the winner of the Napoli versus Milan quarterfinal will take on whichever of Benfica and Internazionale emerges triumphant from their last eight match. The first legs of these quarter-final games will take place on April 11 and April 12, with the second legs to follow a week later.
Manchester City v Bayern Munich, April-11-2023
Manchester City’s latest quest to land an elusive Champions League title brings it face-to-face with one of Europe’s most successful clubs. Bayern Munich has six European Cup/Champions League trophies and regularly features in the latter stages of the biggest club competition of all.
It has been 15 years since Manchester City’s owners took over and 12 years since Pep Guardiola last claimed the Champions League and the desperation on the part of the club to finally get their hands on the big prize is almost palpable.
Erling Haaland has simplified many of the City gameplans, but Guardiola’s capacity to overcomplicate the tactics on big games cannot be entirely overlooked. The dynamics of this first leg may mean that Bayern is not on the front foot, so City should be able to grab the win, though the real work must likely be done in Germany if the Manchester Club is to progress.
Benfica v Internazionale, April-11-2023
Benfica is rated as a big underdog in the Futures market, but it is probably being underestimated and certainly for the first leg, has a good chance of upsetting expectations.
It has been 19 years since a team from Portugal won this competition, but Benfica has already beaten Juventus and matched PSG this season and has a talented, resilient team including World Cup winner Nicolas Otamendi, Goncalo Ramos, Joao Mario and Rafa Silva.
Inter, meanwhile, is not quite the same team as it was last season, and Romelu Lukaku’s struggles have been a significant blow to its chances of progression. The home side looks the pick here.
Real Madrid v Chelsea, April-12-2023
A year on from their epic quarter-final clash in last season’s Champions League, Real Madrid and Chelsea meet again, but while Real has maintained its high standards, Chelsea has fallen away alarmingly and while Graham Potter needs to be given time to turn things around, he may not get it.
Chelsea is 10th in the Premier League, an astonishing 31 points behind leaders Arsenal and although there are signs of improvement, that promise may not stand up to the severe examination of a two-legged tie against Europe’s most successful club team.
Real is also off the pace domestically, but the Madrid squad is packed with experience and has the assuring presence of four-time Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti in charge.
Milan v Napoli, April-12-2023
Italy has more representation at the quarter-final stage than any other nation in Europe and is guaranteed a contender in the semi-finals thanks to this all-Italian quarterfinal.
Milan is rated as the underdog of the eight teams through to the last eight, and it’s hard to argue with that assessment. Stefano Piolo’s team is improving, and it battled through a tie against Tottenham Hotspur to get this far, but that level of form is way short of what is needed here.
Napoli is arguably the most impressive team in Europe right now, with a free-scoring style of play that has proven to be irresistible in Serie A. It won 2-1 when it took on Milan at the San Siro earlier this season and will have no fear when heading north to take on its rivals here.