Tom Carnduff- Sportinglife.com
The Champions League continues on Tuesday night with the Manchester clubs in action. We pick out our best bets for the games.
Hoffenheim v Manchester City
Group F, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena, 1755 BST, BT Sport 3
They suffered a shock defeat in their opening group game, but Manchester City will be aiming to bounce back when they travel to face Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim.
The hosts have had a phenomenal rise under boss Julian Nagelsmann, taking them from relegation certainties to Europe’s elite in the space of three seasons.
1899 have endured a bit of a slow start this season, sitting in 10th in the standings after six games. What will be a concern to City though is the fact that they have been scoring goals.
Hoffenheim have hit the net in every game so far this season, while also failing to keep a clean sheet – and that should mean more goals here.
Adam Szalai leads the scoring three in all competition, but there is real value in looking towards Joshua Brenet to strike anytime.
Granted he has found game time hard to come by in the opening exchanges of the 2018/19 campaign, but he has struck twice in the three games he has featured in.
The 24-year-old was signed from PSV Eindhoven in the summer, playing as a full-back, but he has been used in more advanced roles for his current side.
Given the fact that he is a player who likes the ball at his feet and aims to work the ball in the box, and more importantly the pace he possesses, Nagelsmann may look to bring him in with opportunities to counter-attack.
His goal against Hannover in the 3-1 victory last week highlighted how he can exploit gaps in opposition defences, using his pace to catch them out.
Brenet is a player who has been priced up as a full-back, as opposed to the wide midfielder that he has found himself as at Hoffenheim, which provides great value if he starts the game.
City should have enough about them to secure victory here, although it shouldn’t be as straight-forward as they’d expect.
The Champions League has been one competition that has eluded the blue side of Manchester in recent years, and their campaign could be in serious trouble without maximum points given their loss to Lyon.
An away win with both teams scoring can be found at 31/20, which looks a good outcome based on track record if you’re looking for that shorter-priced bet.
Hoffenheim v Manchester City Opta facts
- This will be the first ever meeting in any competition between Germans TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and English side Manchester City.
- In Hoffenheim’s only previous meeting with English opponents, they lost 6-3 on aggregate to Liverpool in the 2017/18 Champions League qualifying play-off round.
- Manchester City are unbeaten in their last five Champions League games against German opponents (W4 D1) since a 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in September 2014; current Man City coach Pep Guardiola was in charge of Bayern that day.
- Hoffenheim have won just one of their previous nine matches in European competition (D3 L5), beating Istanbul Basaksehir in last season’s Europa League.
- Manchester City have become the first English side in Champions League history to lose four consecutive matches in the competition.
- Manchester City have conceded 2+ goals in each of their last four Champions League games; they last conceded at least two goals in five consecutive matches back in March 2014.
- Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola met Hoffenheim six times whilst manager of Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga; he won five and lost none of those meetings (D1), scoring 2+ goals on each occasion.
- Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has lost five of his last six Champions League games as manager (W1), as many as he lost in his previous 28 combined (W18 D5 L5).
- Hoffenheim’s Florian Grillitsch is looking to become the first ever Austrian player to score in his first two Champions League appearances.
- Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero has had a hand in more Champions League goals for the Citizens than any other player (32 – 26 goals, 6 assists). Aguero both scored and assisted in his last CL away game vs Basel in February 2018.
Manchester United v Valencia
Group H, Old Trafford, 2000 BST, BT Sport 2
Pressure continues to mount on Jose Mourinho with his Manchester United side slipping to a 3-1 defeat to West Ham last time out.
The calls for Zinedine Zidane appear to be getting louder from certain sections of the Old Trafford faithful, with United sitting in mid-table after seven Premier League games.
They may see Valencia as a good game to try and get back on track, but the visitors have endured more success on the road in LaLiga than in front of their home fans this season.
Els Taronges have the same amount of away points as Atletico Madrid, while also having one more than last season’s Champions League winners Real.
Given the current events surrounding the club, this shouldn’t be an easy victory for the hosts.
Mourinho’s conflict with midfielder Paul Pogba is dominating the headlines and there’s little happening on-the-pitch to deflect the news to positive performances.
Given the quality in this squad, United should just get through this test on Wednesday night and make it six points from a possible six in Europe.
It’ll be a close encounter though, with a one-goal margin the likely outcome.
Manchester United v Valencia Opta facts
- Manchester United have lost only once in eight previous meetings with Valencia in all competitions (W2 D5), and never in the Champions League (P6 W2 D4 L0), with this their first encounter in this competition since December 2010, a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
- Against no other side have Manchester United faced in the Champions League more often than Valencia without ever losing (six games, level with Bayer 04 Leverkusen and CSKA Moscow).
- Valencia have only won once in 10 visits to English sides in the Champions League (D6 L3), a 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield in October 2002.
- Manchester United have not lost back-to-back home Champions League games since March 2013 when Alex Ferguson was in charge.
- Manchester United have lost just one of their last 18 Champions League group stage games at Old Trafford (W12 D5), a 1-0 defeat to CFR Cluj in December 2012. They have won eight of their last nine such games since that defeat (D1).
- Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has never previously lost to Valencia in 10 clashes in all competitions (W6 D4), including a 3-2 aggregate victory in the quarterfinals of the 2006/07 Champions League whilst managing another English side in Chelsea.
- Valencia have lost each of their last four Champions League games, their worst ever streak in the competition. Only two Spanish clubs have ever lost 5+ consecutive games in the history of the competition – Real Sociedad (five in October 2013) and Villarreal (seven in December 2011).
- Just one of Valencia’s last 17 Champions League group stage games has ended in a draw (W8 D1 L8), a 1-1 stalemate against Bayern Munich in November 2012.
- Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba scored as many goals in the opening game of this season’s Champions League against BSC Young Boys (2) as he did in his previous 37 matches in the competition combined.
- Paul Pogba has been directly involved in four of Manchester United’s last six Champions League goals (two goals, two assists), including all three this season (two goals, one assist).
CSKA Moscow v Real Madrid
Group G, Luzhniki Stadium, 2000 BST, BT Sport Extra 2
Group G brings an encounter between two sides who have endured mixed home and away form.
CSKA sit 3rd in the Russian Premier League, although they are eighth in the home standings, highlighting how they are still looking for some consistency.
What they have been consistent with though is goals, scoring in their last four home encounters.
In total, they’ve hit the net eight times in four domestic games, alongside the two goals they scored in their opening Champions League fixture.
While CSKA may worry about home form, they can take confidence in Real’s struggles on the road – securing just four points from a possible nine in their away LaLiga encounters.
They were beaten 3-0 by Sevilla last time they were away, alongside conceding to Athletic Bilbao and Girona in their other games.
CSKA are clearly a side who do know how to score in their home encounters, and could exploit Madrid’s weaknesses.
A best price of 27/10 is available on them to score two or more goals here, which does look a tad overpriced given track record.
CSKA Moscow v Real Madrid Opta facts
- This will be just the third meeting between CSKA Moscow and Real Madrid in the Champions League after they met in the Last 16 of the 2011-12 tournament. Real progressed 5-2 on aggregate despite a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Moscow.
- Current Champions League holders Real Madrid haven’t lost any of their last six encounters with Russian opposition in the competition (W4 D2), last losing to Lokomotiv Moscow in October 2001.
- CSKA Moscow have lost just one of their seven previous matches against Spanish teams in all European competitions (W3 D3), however that did come in their last such match and was against Real Madrid, a 4-1 defeat in March 2012.
- CSKA Moscow, who won their last Champions League home game 2-0 against Benfica, haven’t won back-to-back matches on home soil in the competition since October 2006.
- CSKA won their last home Champions League match 2-0 against Benfica in November last year; they haven’t won back-to-back home matches in the competition since October 2006.
- Real Madrid have won each of their last four away Champions League games, their best such run in the competition since February 2015 (five matches)
- Real Madrid fired in 30 shots (11 on target) in their opening game of the 2018-19 Champions League against Roma, more than any other side and their highest in a match in the competition since April 2017 against Bayern Munich (also 30 shots, 11 on target).
- After drawing with Viktoria Plzen in their opening game, CSKA Moscow will be looking to avoid defeat in both of their opening two Champions League matches in a season for the first time since 2006/07 (W1 D1).
- Nikola Vlasic’s penalty against Viktoria Plzen was CSKA Moscow’s latest goal scored in a Champions League match (94:21) since Evgeni Aldonin against Besiktas in December 2009 (94:49).
- Gareth Bale has scored three goals in his last two Champions League games for Real Madrid, as many as he had in his previous 27 combined for the club.
Juventus v Young Boys
Group H, Juventus Stadium, 1755 BST, BT Sport 1
Juventus started off their Champions League campaign with victory, and they should make it two from two as they host Young Boys.
The Serie A giants looked comfortable in their 2-0 win over Valencia, although they will be without star man Cristiano Ronaldo here after he was sent off in that game.
Juventus are clear at the top of Italy’s top-flight, sitting six points away from Napoli in second who they beat last time out.
They also have a healthy +11 goal difference, highlighting how they are winning games with little issue.
Young Boys may be 13 points clear after nine games in the Swiss Super League, but Juventus will be a class above the standard of opponent they come up against on a weekly basis.
Juve are on a 13-game unbeaten run in competitive matches, winning 12 of those encounters.
With 16 goals scored this season, they are a side who do know where the net is and that will be trouble for their opponents.
Young Boys’ 3-0 home defeat to Manchester United in their last European game shows how this competition is a step too big for them.
Juventus -2 looks good value at 7/5 with exceptional record in all competitions this season.
Juventus v Young Boys Opta facts
- This will be the first ever meeting between Italian giants Juventus and Swiss side BSC Young Boys.
- Juventus will be meeting Swiss opposition in the Champions League for just the second time, last doing so in the second group stage of the 2002/03 season against FC Basel, losing one and winning one of those two games.
- BSC Young Boys have won three of their four previous meetings with Italian opposition in European competition (L1), all coming in the UEFA Europa League, beating Udinese twice in 2012/13 and Napoli once in 2014/15.
- Juventus are unbeaten in their last 18 home games in the group stages of the Champions League (W10 D8) since a 4-1 loss to Bayern Munich in December 2009.
- Young Boys could become the first side to lose both of their first ever two Champions League games without scoring a goal in either game since FC Nordsjælland in October 2012. They would be the second Swiss club to do so after Grasshopper Club Zürich in September 1995.
- Excluding qualifiers, Young Boys are winless in their last seven away games in major European competitions (D4 L3), with all of those coming in the Europa League between February 2015 and November 2017.
- Juventus have received 26 red cards in the Champions League, at least seven more than any other side in the competition.
- Juventus have received a red card in three straight Champions League matches for the second time in the clubs’ history, having also done so between October 2000 and September 2001. No team has ever had a player sent off in four consecutive Champions League games.
- Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri hasn’t lost a home match in the group stages of the Champions League since December 2012 whilst in charge of Milan, a 1-0 defeat to Zenit St Petersburg (P15 W8 D7 L0 since).
- Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic scored his first ever Champions League brace in the opening game against Valencia. He had only scored twice in his first 20 matches in the competition for the Old Lady prior to that match.