Champions League Picks: Barcelona & Dortmund Seek Comebacks
Wednesday’s matchups in the Champions League round of 16 will need big time comebacks by the home teams. After poor performances on the road, FC Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund will seek a response to both series. Of course, Barcelona’s has this almost impossible challenge in front of them. But if there is a team that can come back from an unreasonable deficit is them.
Dortmund, on the other side, has a more favorable matchup ahead. The problem is they failed to score on the road, and any goal by Benfica would make them suffer. While Borussia is aggressive by nature, they can’t be reckless in their attacks. The Portuguese will be waiting for any openings if the Germans go too happily in the attack.
Both are fascinating matchups. Each has their developing story, and we are here to try to collect action bets with these Champions League Round of 16 matchups:
Paris Saint-Germain at FC Barcelona
- When: Wednesday, March 8, 2017
- Where: Camp Nou, Cataluña
- Time: 2:45 PM ET
- Money Line: PSG +550 vs Barcelona -225, Draw +395
- Handicap: Barcelona -1.5
- Game Total: 3.5
In all FC Barcelona’s glory days they have never come back from a 0-4 deficit in a European Competition. Barca has gone to the Champions League’s quarterfinals nine times in a row, but the things are looking awfully bad for them to get there a 10th time.
To advance to the next round Barcelona would need a 5-0 win. A 4-0 victory would take them to overtime. If PSG scores just one goal it would force the Catalans to win by six goals, making the challenge almost impossible.
Barcelona had a good game this weekend. They beat Celta with a 5-0 result making the pay per head sites think there is a chance for redemption against the Parisians. The pph sportsbooks listed Barcelona +850 to advance to the quarterfinals. No team in Champions League history has overcome a 4-0 deficit.
Since losing 4-0 in Paris, Barca has won four games in a row, including wins over Leganes (2-1), Atletico Madrid (2-1), Gijon 6-1) and the already mentioned victory over Celta. There is also an emotional factor going in the Catalans locker room. Coach Luis Enrique said he won’t be in charge of the team next season. This could be his last game in the Champions League with Barcelona.
Paris Saint-Germain needs to avoid any distraction or ego going into the Camp Nou. They need to play aggressive of they will be in for a long night. The worst thing the French can do is sit back and enjoy their current lead. With one more goal on the road, PSG would be clinching their ticket to the quarterfinals. They have been eliminated in the Round of 16 the past four seasons.
Since beating Barcelona 4-0 in Paris, PSG has won three games and drew one. That one draw was against Toulouse following the encounter against Barca. They also beat Marseille (5-1), Niort (2-0) and most recently Nancy (1-0) in their last three games.
Paris Saint-Germain is listed -1800 to qualify for the next round by the online bookie software. In the past, different teams had taken a two-goal lead to Barcelona, and it wasn’t enough. If PSG can’t advance after a 4-0 lead, then they don’t deserve to be in the last eight teams in the tournament.
PSG has visited Camp Nou stadium three times since 2013. They scored away goals in two of those three games. They never allowed more than three goals against despite losing all three games.
I’m taking Barcelona to win this game by a two-goal difference, but it won’t be enough to advance to the next round. It should be a great game, but the Parisians have what it takes to keep this lead.
Champions League Picks: Barcelona -1.5.
Benfica at Borussia Dortmund
- When: Wednesday, March 8, 2017
- Where: Signal-Iduna Park, Dortmund
- Time: 2:45 PM ET
- Money Line: Benfica +800 vs Borussia Dortmund -275, Draw +400
- Handicap: Borussia Dortmund -1.5
- Game Total: 3
Borussia Dortmund dominated the first leg in Portugal but their aim was so bad, they ended with the worst possible result. The Germans couldn’t score an away goal and surrendered one when they were playing their best.
A 1-0 result against forced Dortmund to win by a 2-0 score to advance to the next round. If Benfica gets an away goal, it will put the Germans in a position where they would have to win by at least three goals of difference.
The price per head sportsbooks still have faith in Borussia Dortmund. They listed them -140 to advance to the quarterfinals despite having the first leg result against them. The per head sportsbook made Dortmund a -1.5 goals favorite in the handicap. A turnaround of this series is expected.
Borussia Dortmund has won their last three Bundesliga games since losing to Benfica. They destroyed Wolfsburg (3-0), SC Freiburg (3-0) and Bayer Leverkusen (6-2) in that span. They were the best scoring team in the Champions League group stage with 21 goals in six games. One can’t be surprised if the bookmaker software fully expects the Germans to keep moving forward in this tournament.
The one thing Dortmund has against them is the injuries. Marco Reus, Mario Götze, Sebastian Rode, and Sven Bender are all out for this game. Reus was injured this past weekend against Bayer Leverkusen. He is the team’s ultimate playmaker. They could have used him to close out this series.
Benfica, on the other hand, is on a good winning streak. They have won seven games in a row, including the 1-0 victory over Dortmund in their first leg. Most recently they beat Feirense (1-0) on the road in a Primeira Liga match.
The Portuguese are listed +110 by the pay per head services to advance to the quarterfinals. They are aiming for last eight round for the third time in six seasons. Benfica is +800 to win in Germany straight up. The disposition of the series will allow them to defense most of the time and find spaces for the counterattack. But this also means they would vane stop a team that is one of the most offensive sides in European football. It’s to believe this would happen easily.
I expected a fast game plan by Borussia Dortmund; perhaps too fast for the Portuguese to handle. Take Dortmund to win the game by three goals and therefore advance to the quarterfinals. Even without Marcos Reus in the lineup, the Germans are far superior to the Portuguese.
Champions League Predictions: Borussia Dortmund -1.5.