UEFA Champions League Update

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

By Andrew Ryan
BETCRIS Champions League Napoli vs Real Madrid

It's time for a week off the Champions League to reflect on what we've seen over the course of the first legs in the Round of 16. There are a lot of teams who have to believe they're on their way to the quarterfinals, but there's still 90 minutes to play, and there's no such thing as a lead that's too big to overturn.

Odds To Win Champions League

Bayern Munich +275

Real Madrid +400

PSG +600

Atletico Madrid +700

Juventus +700

Manchester City +900

Borussia Dortmund +1400

Sevilla +2200

AS Monaco +4000

Barcelona +4000

Leicester City +6600

Napoli +8000

Benfica +10000

FC Porto +1250

Arsenal +15000

Bayer Leverkusen +50000

It's easy to see here who's in a heck of a lot of trouble. There were only two teams who were beaten at home in the opening 90 minutes of play, and those teams were Bayer Leverkusen and FC Porto. Both teams were downed by two goals, and Leverkusen now has to figure out how to go on the road and win by three goals against one of the stingiest teams in the world, Atletico Madrid. Good luck with that. Porto isn't in much better shape after losing 2-0 at home to a Juventus team that is starting to believe that it's entirely possible it can win the UCL this season.

Arsenal is as good as finished as well after losing 5-1 to Bayern Munich at the Allianz after taking a 1-0 lead. It was as good of a start as could be expected for the Gunners, but at this point, this is a lost cause, and Arsene Wenger knows it. Will Wenger even trot out a side to legitimately compete with the Bavarian giants? He probably shouldn't bother.

Of course, one team that looks finished on paper is Barcelona. This team was absolutely stunned in the opening day of UCL play by PSG. The Parisians are so used to failing at this stage of this tournament, but they left zero doubt whatsoever by defeating a horrible Catalan team 4-0 on this day. Is the margin definitive? You'd like to think so. But Barca is still only lined at 40 to 1 to win the Champions League, knowing that an epic comeback would immediately make it the favorite to once again win this tournament.

The most interesting of the opening legs was played on English soil. Manchester City went on a real roller coaster against AS Monaco, opening up ahead 1-0 before falling behind 2-1. Sergio Aguero leveled, but Radamel Falcao, who had two goals on the night, tallied his second to give the French team a 3-2 edge. City wouldn't be denied though, as Aguero, John Stones and Leroy Sane all hit home in an 11-minute span to give the Citizens a 5-3 decision in the highest scoring first leg in a UCL knockout round match ever. Again, the margin isn't decisive, but it's a healthy position to be in.

Real Madrid has probably comfortably put away Napoli with a 3-1 win at home, while the testiest affairs left will pit Benfica against Borussia Dortmund and Leicester City against Sevilla. Both Benfica and Sevilla picked up one-goal wins at home, but going on the road with such a tenuous lead is never safe, particularly for the Spanish side, knowing that it conceded an away goal to a Leicester City side that is still just scratching and clawing to avoid relegation in the EPL this season.

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