Real Madrid

On this page you find articles on Real Madrid and sports betting in general.

Real Madrid v Dortmund Betting Tips: 1, 2016-12-07

Champions League Tips

REAL MADRID V BORUSSIA DORTMUND

Wednesday 7th December 2016 – Kickoff: 1945hrs

Football – Europe – Champions League Betting Tips

Matchday 6 continues in the Champions League on Wednesday night and my next pick features the top two clubs in Group F as they fight it out between themselves as to who gets the most favourable draw in the knock-out phase.

Second placed Real Madrid find themselves in the unusual position of having to play ‘catch-up’ with group leaders Borussia Dortmund, but a win tonight for the Spanish club over their German visitors would see them pip Dortmund to the post in the group standings.

With both teams unbeaten so far, Real Madrid seem to have the advantage here as they return to their Estadio Santiago Bernabéu for this Group F decider particularly when you consider they’ve won their last nine Champions League matches at home on the trot!

Borussia Dortmund know they only need a draw here to progress to the next round with a favourable tie, but they’re expected to come under severe pressure from the hosts Real Madrid as the home side look to overhaul them at the top of Group F.

Dortmund secured all three points on the weekend with a resounding 4-1 home win over Borussia Moenchengladbach but they’ll be facing far superior opposition this evening and in Madrid with the memory of their last visit probably still in the backs of their minds.

Dortmund lost that last encounter 3-0 to Real Madrid a couple of seasons ago, and despite having accounted for Legia Warsaw and Sporting on their travels so far in this year’s Champions League, they’ll have their work cut out for them this evening if they’re to leave the Bernabeu with anything.

Pick: Real Madrid to win @ 1.91 Paddy Power

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Sporting v Real Madrid Betting Tips: 2, 2016-11-22

Champions League Tips

SPORTING v REAL MADRID

Tuesday 22nd November 2016 – Kickoff: 1945hrs

Football – Europe – Champions League Betting Tips

Group F up next in the Champions League as I take a look at hosts Sporting’s chances against Real Madrid when the two teams clash at the Estádio José Alvalade in Lisbon as the hosts seek a second win in this tough group.

Sporting currently lie in third spot after having registered just one win from their first four group matches which was a 2-0 home win over Polish side Legia Warsaw but even though they hold home advantage here this evening, it looks like they’ll have their work cut out against the Spanish giants.

With just four wins overall from their last eighteen appearances in the Champions League, Sporting  are placed as the under-dogs here, and I just can’t see them overhauling Real Madrid even in their own backyard.

Onto Real Madrid, and they sit in second place in Group F and just two points behind group leaders Borussia Dortmund as the Spanish outfit travel to Portugal looking to maintain their unbeaten start to this group phase.

Real Madrid have registered home wins over Sporting 2-1 and a crushing 5-1 victory over hapless Legia Warsaw as they’ve really made home advantage count, while a point against Borussia Dortmund away from home was a satisfactory result.

However, a 3-3 draw at Legia Warsaw would have felt like two points dropped for tonight’s visitors so I daresay they’ll be fully focused on taking all three points here in order to keep the pressure upon the German side.

Pick: Real Madrid to win @ 1.62 bet365

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Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid Betting Tip 1 – 27 September

Champions League Tips

Tuesday 27th September 2016 Kickoff: 1945hrs

Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid

Football – Europe – Champions League

It is match day two in this season’s Champions League and the match of the round is undoubtedly in Germany as current champions Real Madrid travel to inform Dortmund. These two are no strangers to each other having faced off plenty of times in recent history but it still remains a game any football fan should be looking forward to as both clubs aim to make it two wins out of two following victories in their opening games of the competition a fortnight ago.

Dortmund produced one of the performances of the round last time out when knocking six past a hapless Legia Warsaw outfit away from home. It was a clinical display from the Germans who have started the season on fire as they return to this level following a year’s absence. Now in the care of Thomas Tuchel who is in his second season in charge, Dortmund qualified for the Champions League by virtue of finishing runners-up to Bayern Munich last term. There is increased expectation that they can go one better than that this time around and although they have already lost one of their opening five league games, the impression they have made in their other games has been such that the rest of the Bundesliga and Europe appreciate just how much of a threat they will be this season. Tuesday represents a good test for them in that they not only face the current champions of Europe but much stronger opposition than they have faced either domestically or in this competition, and whilst they have been brushing aside other teams, Real will, of course, be much sterner.

When you win a Champions League having been in charge for less than six months, it is hard to see how it could get much better or where the improvement could come from, but that’s exactly the challenge that Zinedine Zidane faces with this Real Madrid team. Last May’s victory on penalties over Atletico Madrid gave the club their second Champions League in three seasons and this season sees their bid to become the first team ever to win it in consecutive seasons. Their defence got off to a shaky start against Sporting Lisbon two weeks ago as they conceded early in the second half and looked for a while as though they would lose their first home group game since 2009. That was until Cristiano Ronaldo scored a spectacular free kick against his former club, quickly followed by Alvaro Morata’s injury time winner. It was another sign of the desire that Zidane has instilled into this team and that was every bit as important as their ability last season – perhaps more so. Despite becoming European Champions again, there’s no doubt that it was not a vintage campaign from Real and they rode their luck at times, not least in the final itself. However, the record books show that they came out on top and I’m sure the manager and all concerned would bite your hand off for a repeat.

As has become customary in Dortmund these days, the summer witnessed yet more star players exit for pastures new. Mats Hummels left to join rivals Bayern whilst Ilkay Gundogan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan moved to the English Premier League with Manchester City and Manchester United, respectively. The club sought to invest those transfer fees by bringing in a mixture of experience and youth with Andre Schurrle and Sebastian Rode are well versed at this level but the additions of Ousame Dembele and Emre Mor are further investment in the future. The most notable signing, however, was the return of Mario Gotze from Bayern. Gotze made the original switch back in 2013 following an incredibly successful spell under Jurgen Klopp but failed to settle in Munich and he could well be one of those players who suits a certain type of club. Tuchel will certainly be hoping that’s the case as his contribution to Dortmund’s two title wins and reaching the Champions League final was massive.

Real have stuttered in La Liga of late having drawn their last two games against Villareal and Las Palmas. Those dropped points followed four consecutive wins in the league and although they remain top of the table at this point, Zidane will be slightly concerned at this team’s lack of a killer edge when on top in games. The match against Sporting was further evidence that Real are not quite at the top of their game at this moment and will have to improve if they are to be successful either in this competition or domestically. Their cause has not been helped with the squad being hit by a spate of injuries at the beginning of the campaign but now that the likes of Ronaldo and Karim Benzema are returning to fitness, the hope is they are able to return to winning ways.

Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid Betting Tips

I noted that these two teams have some recent history together and that includes an epic semi final back in 2012/13. Dortmund ran out 4-3 winners on aggregate on that occasion before losing out to Bayern at Wembley. Those ties were part of meetings in three consecutive seasons between the clubs, having been drawn against each other at the group stage either side of that. Due to Dortmund not participating last season, it means they will have played against each other in the Champions League every time for the last four campaigns. Interestingly enough, within that time, no team has ever won away from home against the other and I think that’s a trend likely to continue on Tuesday.

Dortmund have been irresistible in attack so far this season, scoring 20 goals in their last four games alone. Madrid are still to really get going despite a couple of good results and we know there remains a fragility about their defence, particularly with the protector Casemiro ruled out with injury. Their record in Germany against Dortmund is very poor as well, conceding eight goals in three visits and managing just the two goals. Both clubs are widely expected to progress to the knockout stages but the value of finishing top should not be underestimated, and as Dortmund are at home this week, their need is just that bit greater, combined with being in better form at present.

Borussia Dortmund 6/4 @ Betfred

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Real Madrid v Villarreal Betting Tips: 1 HT/FT, 2016-09-21

European Football Tips

REAL MADRID v VILLARREAL

Wednesday 21st September 2016 – Kickoff: 2000hrs

Football – Spain  – La Liga Betting Tips

Real Madrid sit proudly on top of the Spanish La Liga having registered four straight wins to mark their new campaign with real intent, and they’ll be looking to make it a fifth win on the trot at their Estadio Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday night when they take on Villarreal.

Real Madrid know they must keep winning and making the most of their home games with arch-rivals Barcelona just three points behind them in the Spanish top flight, but having won their first four matches of the season in dominant fashion, tonight’s hosts will be confident of further success here.

Overall, Real Madrid have won their last seven home matches on the bounce, scoring a total of 28 goals for and conceding just 6 in reply as the goals have positively flowed on home soil, and tonight may well be no exception as they’ll look to dominate early on.

Visitors Villarreal head into Wednesday nights encounter in Madrid on the back of two straight wins as they’ve recently accounted for Malaga and Real Sociedad and they are also unbeaten in these early stages of the new Spanish domestic season.

Villarreal’s form away from home though has been a little patchy in recent times as they’ve registered wins at Valencia and Malaga but have also suffered losses at Real Madrid (3-0 last season) and Sporting Gijon towards the end of their last campaign.

They have also lost two of their last three at the Bernebeu and this match-up will be their toughest test yet in this new Spanish top flight season.

Pick: Real Madrid HT/FT @ 1.75 Coral

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Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid Betting Tips: Draw, 2016-05-16

Champions League Tips

REAL MADRID v ATLETICO MADRID

Saturday 28th May 2016 – Kickoff: 2045hrs

Football – Europe – Champions League Betting Tips

It’s an all-Spanish affair for this grand final of the best european football clubs with Real Madrid taking on Atletico Madrid in Milan in this Champions League winner-takes-all encounter.

Let’s take a look at both teams’ progress from the knockout stages, starting with Real Madrid; in the last 16 Real Madrid accounted for Italian outfit Roma by an aggregate scoreline of 4-0 as they secured 2-0 wins both home and away.

They then received a bit of a shock to the system in the quarter-finals as they found themselves 2-0 down after the first leg in Germany against Wolfsburg, but recovered in the second leg and ran out 3-0 winners on the night, and 3-2 on aggregate to progress to the semi’s.

It was a tight affair against Manchester City, but Real Madrid achieved their goal of avoiding defeat in the first leg at the Etihad Stadium, then secured a narrow 1-0 win in the second leg to make it through to the final.

Atletico Madrid’s path to the Champions League final was a little more complex and nerve-wracking as they had to go to penalties against Dutch side PSV in the round of 16, and many thought they would fall at the next hurdle as they faced Barcelona in the quarter-finals.

Indeed, Atletico found themselves 2-1 down after the first leg but they then secured a memorable 2-0 victory in the second leg to overcome the current champions 3-2 on aggregate to make it through to the semi-finals to face the German champions Bayern Munich.

Atletico sealed a narrow 1-0 win in the first leg and it was this clean sheet at their Estadio Vicente Calderón which proved to be pivotal as they denied Bayern a vital away goal, and in the second leg they clung on despite losing 2-1 on the night in Germany, to go through to the final on the away goals rule.

Looking at the head-to-head results between these two sides, there have been three stalemates in the last seven encounters, with five results being under 2.5 goals. You can either go the unders then here, but I will take the draw after 90 minutes as I can see this one going all the way, perhaps even to penalties.

Pick: Draw (after 90 mins) @ 3.20 Bwin

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Real Madrid v Manchester City Betting Preview, 2016-05-04

Champions League Tips

Wednesday 4th May 2016 Kickoff 1945hrs
Real Madrid v Manchester City
Football – Champions League – Europe

When Real Madrid were paired with Manchester City in the semi-finals of the Champions League, two entertaining games, full of goals and excitement were expected. That made the match in Manchester all the more surprising as both sides approached the first leg with plenty of caution and appeared happy with the goalless draw. It would be virtually impossible for Wednesday’s game to be as uneventful but with so much pressure contained within this match, anything is possible.

The big team news surrounding Real Madrid last week was the late withdrawal (or non-selection, rather) of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese forward is practically an ever-present when fit, and is often selected even when he’s not quite 100%, so we know the knock that kept him out was serious enough. His absence would have undoubtedly had an impact on the way in which Zinedine Zidane set his team up to play as he is so pivotal to how Real attack. With three hat-tricks already in this year’s competition – and 16 goals in total – not having him available led to Real being much more conservative in attack from the outset. Zidane’s attacking options were reduced even further with Karim Benzema having to depart at half-time and unlike Ronaldo, the Frenchman will not be fit enough to take his place at the Bernabeu. It goes without saying that all connected with the club would prefer to have Ronaldo playing if they had the choice but Benzema’s influence as the central striker should not be underestimated – he’s the only player in the Real Madrid squad who plays that position effectively.

There was more than a hint of nerves in Manchester City’s performance last week which is unsurprising considering that it’s the first time they have ever competed at this stage. Manuel Pellegrini’s men started well enough and had the majority of possession in the first-half but they lost their way somewhat when David Silva was taken off injured late on in the first 45. Silva’s ability to link the play and retain the ball high up the field is essential to how City play and with him going off it left more space for Real’s deep-lying midfield to control the game better. It’s not certain the condition of Silva but it seems he’s more likely to miss out than play any part and that would be a severe dent to City’s hopes of reaching the final. Yaya Toure, who never played last week, has travelled to Madrid and could make a surprise return. His experience would be invaluable but he’s becoming rather erratic overall, and it could be something of a gamble if he was to start a game where the pace if likely to be much more frantic than eight days ago.

For all the plaudits that Real Madrid’s attackers get, it should be noted how good they have been defensively at home in the Champions League. No visiting team has scored in the 2015/16 competition, with a record reading five wins, 16 goals scored and none conceded. It’s that sort of record which will have given Zidane the confidence to be more defensive in their approach last week, knowing that they are capable of shutting out a Sergio Aguero-led attack in the return. It’s important not to get carried away, however, as Real have faced some poor opponents in their run to the semi-final. PSG are the strongest team they have faced to date but there appears to be a doubt over their credentials after a poor quarter-final tie against City. Other than that, Wolfsburg, Shakthar Donetsk, Malmo and Roma have all been kept to nil, but anybody who would have watched the game against the Italians would tell you the chances the visitors passed up that evening. I do not doubt that Zidane has had a positive impact on Real’s defence, and the influence of Casemiro is also a positive, but they can most certainly be got at.

City created virtually nothing last week but because they kept a clean sheet they know that should they score on Wednesday it will give them an excellent chance of reaching their first ever Champions League/European Cup final. Scoring goals on the road in this competition has not been an issue for them, either, managing 10 in their five games to date. Only last year’s finalists Juventus have managed to keep them at bay on their travels and that should give them plenty of hope going into this one. One major concern for Pellegrini is that they are also liable to concede away from home, and have not managed to keep a clean sheet since winning in Rome in December 2014. That’s the balancing act that the manager has to get right if they are to be victorious – being able to offer a real threat going forward, but also giving their defence the protection it needs.

Real Madrid v Manchester City Betting Tip

It was hard not to be disappointed with the first-leg so let’s hope that the return is much more what we had all originally anticipated. With Ronaldo back in the fold I expect Real to be much more of a threat. There were signs in the second-half that they were beginning to get on top of City and only a couple of saves from Joe Hart prevented them taking a precious lead home with them. How important those missed chances will be in the context of this tie remains to be seen but it proves that even with a decimated attack, Real have more than enough quality to create chances against this City team. The visitors would have been much better equipped if Silva was fit to start this game as his ability on the ball in the final third is so important, and he has an understanding with Aguero that has proven so deadly down the years.

It’s a return to the Bernabeu for Manuel Pellegrini who managed Real for one season back in 2008/09. As much as I would like to see it be a fairytale one for the likeable Chilean, I don’t think his team have quite enough to get them through. They lacked much-needed experience last week and that could ultimately be their downfall. Ronaldo is the all-time leading scorer in the Champions League and he has scored in seven of Real’s 10 wins in this year’s competition. The former Manchester United player would love nothing more than to score against City and book another appearance in the final against Atletico – it may not be the most original selection but Ronaldo to score and Real to win is the bet.

Ronaldo to score/Real win 11/10 @ Ladbrokes

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Real Madrid v Manchester City Betting Tips: 1, 2016-05-04

Champions League Tips

REAL MADRID v MANCHESTER CITY

Wednesday 4th May 2016 – Kickoff: 2045hrs

Football – Europe – Champions League Betting Tips

It’s a definite case of ‘Advantage Real Madrid’ heading into Wednesday night’s Champions League semi-final second leg in Madrid following a 0-0 stalemate at the Etihad Stadium in the first leg.

Real Madrid have lost just once in their last twelve Champions League matches overall (which was a 2-0 defeat away at German outfit Wolfsburg earlier this month), but they then smashed Wolfsburg 3-0 at home in the second leg to continue their progress.

Real Madrid are also unbeaten in their last seven at the Bernabeu (having won six of these) along with scoring a total of 20 goals and conceding just 1 goal in reply during this sequence. The Spanish giants have also registered six clean sheets during this time as well which is an impressive statistic at this level.

Manchester City need to find another gear on Wednesday night following their dismal 4-2 capitulation away to Southampton in the Premier League on the weekend, and it’s never easy to suddenly click back into gear, especially when coming up against one of the best club sides in the world – and away from home.

City have had a decent run in this competition though as they’ve lost just once in their last ten matches overall at this level, but they do seem to be running out of steam (and dare I say, desire?) as this season draws to an end, knowing that current manager Pellegrini is on the way out.

The visitors will no doubt be pumped for this one, and will take confidence from recent away wins at Sevilla and Dynamo Kiev, but these teams are not in the same class as Real Madrid.

Pick: Real Madrid to win @ 1.53 bet365

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Manchester City v Real Madrid Betting Tip 1, 2016-04-26

Champions League Tips

Tuesday 26th April 2016 Kickoff 1945hrs
Manchester City v Real Madrid
Football – Champions League – Europe

Now we have reached the last four of this year’s Champions League, the stakes are getting to their highest they have possibly ever been for Manchester City and their supporters. This is old hat for their opponents Real Madrid of, course, who are looking to add to their record of 10 European Cups which makes the next two games all the more fascinating starting with the first leg at the Etihad on Tuesday night.

Although City have won a couple of league titles among some other domestic honours over the last five years, they have yet to experience anything like the prestige or pressure that comes with playing at this stage of European club football’s premier competition. To their credit, their Champions League campaign has seen them go from strength to strength and in the last round against PSG, Manuel Pellegrini’s men were in complete control in the second-leg – even being able to afford to miss a first-half penalty. It was the type of mature performance that has been missing from City’s participation in previous seasons but it’s also one that they will have to improve on if they are to see off the giants of Madrid. One major change in recent games is how much better defensively they have been, keeping clean sheets in both of their knockout stage games against Dynamo Kiev and the French Champions. That may seem rather insignificant but when you factor in that City conceded in their last 14 home games in the competition before that, it’s a marked improvement. Whether or not they are able to keep this opponent at bay is another matter altogether, but they do at least have something to build on.

It wasn’t so long ago that this season looked to be a write-off for Real Madrid as they trailed Barcelona by double figures in the race for La Liga and performances in Europe were well below the level required to win this. Fast forward to now and Zinedine Zidane’s charges have cut the gap between themselves and their arch rivals to a point with three games to go, and following the current European champions’ exit in the last round, Real are now in with a great chance to reign supreme once again at the top table. It’s been a pretty remarkable turnaround but it would be foolish to think that they are completely transformed, as demonstrated with the weekend’s match with Rayo Vallecano. The defensive frailties that have blighted them so often this season came back to the fore in the first half as they were two goals down to their capital rivals. Only a terrific second half salvage prevented them from suffering a rather embarrassing and anti-climatic end to their title challenge, having only reignited it at the beginning of this month. Zidane will be conscious that his team can ill-afford to make the same mistakes against City who are unlikely to be as naive.

As has been the story of the season for Pellegrini, there is mixed news on the injury front as City prepare to welcome Real Madrid. Yaya Toure will be missing having picked up a knock against Stoke on Saturday and despite certain limitations in the defensive aspect of his game, his experience would be invaluable against a team he knows extremely well. On a more positive note, captain Vincent Kompany has not suffered any aggravation of his own injury and will almost certainly take his place in the heart of the defence. His presence as much as his own ability will be a great asset in what is new territory for the majority of this squad. Pellegrini will also be hoping to finish on a high before leaving the club at the end of the summer and making amends for a semi-final exit against Arsenal when manager of Villareal in 2006.

Zidane has his own injury concerns to worry about, namely Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. It goes without saying how important the two are to Real’s attack but the word coming out of the Real camp is that the two should play and form the infamous B B C with Gareth Bale. The Welshman has only recently returned to full-fitness himself but he’s finding his best form at just the right time, scoring twice in the comeback win against Rayo. The trio have combined for 92 goals in 102 games this season, which has been interrupted with relatively long-term injuries for both Bale and Benzema. Their record in the Champions League is equally impressive, scoring 20 goals in 22 games. The threat they pose is obvious, and attempting to dilute it is one of the hardest things in world football.

Manchester City v Real Madrid betting tips

It’s difficult not to get excited about this match-up such is the clash of styles and what is at stake. Despite both teams capable of scoring at will when on top form, they do so in very different ways so both matches promise to be full of excitement and key battles. Man City are undoubtedly the underdogs but they will take confidence both from their own performances against PSG (who ran Real Madrid close in the group stage) but also the fact that Wolfsburg were able to get the better of Zidane’s men in the first-leg played in Germany. City are a better outfit than the Bundesliga club and will have watched that tape with a lot of interest.

Real Madrid lost at the same stage to Juventus last season and whilst I would favour them to go through over the two legs, I definitely think that City have a chance, but they almost certainly have to take a lead with them to the Spanish capital next week. Key to any potential success is, as always, Sergio Aguero who is if course a former Atletico Madrid player, so he will have as much motivation as anybody to put one over on Real. There may well be a few goals over the two ties but the value play in the first leg is a home win.

Manchester City 2/1 @ Bet365

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Real Madrid v Wolfsburg Betting Tips: 1 HT/FT, 2016-04-12

Champions League Tips

REAL MADRID v WOLFSBURG

Tuesday 12th April 2016 – Kickoff: 2045hrs

Football – Europe – Champions League Betting Tips

Spanish giants Real Madrid find themselves in somewhat of an unusual position going into their second leg Champions League tie with German club Wolfsburg as they look to overhaul a two-goal deficit following last week’s 2-0 defeat in Germany in the first leg.

But if any team can achieve this, then it’s Real Madrid at their Bernabeu stadium where they’ve won their last four Champions League matches on the bounce, and in convincing fashion! 4-0 and 8-0 wins over Shakhtar Donetsk and Malmo respectively along with 1-0 and 2-0 wins over PSG and Roma were all impressive victories.

In addition, Real Madrid kept clean sheets in each of those four matches too, and if they can keep things tight at the back here tonight, then the likes of Ronaldo and Benzema have every chance of scoring and putting pressure on the Germans.

Onto Wolfsburg, and they know they are just 90 minutes away from registering a historic win over Real Madrid and progressing through to the semi-finals of this elite european competition. However, 90 minutes is a long time to hold onto a lead particularly when the hosts possess some very dangerous attacking personnel.

Wolfsburg’s performances away from home in the Champions League have been inconsistent to say the least though, as 3 wins and 4 defeats shows, and they’ll be tested to their limits on Tuesday night if they’re to make it to the semi-finals.

Recent defeats at PSV and Manchester United suggest that this could be a very long evening for the visitors, and could ultimately end in disappointment.

Pick: Real Madrid HT/FT @ 1.62 Bet Victor

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Real Madrid v Wolfsburg Betting Preview, 2016-04-11

Champions League Tips

Tuesday 12th April 2016 Kickoff 1945hrs
Real Madrid v Wolfsburg
Football – Champions League – Europe

Without doubt, the biggest shock of the first leg quarter-finals last week was Wolfsburg 2-0 win at home to Real Madrid. The Bundesliga club were seen as one of the most favourable ties when the quarter-final draw was made but they thoroughly deserved their win against the 10 time winners and will be looking to finish the job off on Tuesday to progress to their first ever semi-final in this competition.

Having earned so many plaudits following inflicting Barcelona’s first defeat of 2016 the weekend before the first leg in Germany, Real Madrid were expected to build on the performance and result and secure a positive result against the Bundesliga club. However, the performance they turned in was reminiscent of so many of their away day blues this season under both Zinedine Zidane and previous manager Rafael Benitez. Real looked disjointed during the match and there was no sign of their excellent defensive display that led them to victory in the Nou Camp only a few days previous. It was their first loss in the Champions League since losing to Juventus in last season’s semi-final and one that leaves them right up against it to reach the last four this time around. Zidane will point to crucial decisions when it was goalless as Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal ruled out for offside which, on another day, could easily have stood. The visitors also had what looked a more than reasonable claim for a penalty after Gareth Bale was felled in the box but the referee waived way those claims and Wolfsburg took full advantage to leave Real Madrid right up against it heading into the return.

Wolfsburg are competing in the Champions League for the first time since 2009 so even managing to negotiate the group stage would have been deemed success for a team that are novices at this level. The Germans topped their group in the end-up and were rewarded with a last-16 match against Gent – a tie they were successful both home and away. Many predicted their run to come to an end against one of the giants of European football in this round but they stand a great chance of progressing further in the competition. It was virtually the perfect evening for manager Dieter Hecking having seen his side not only win but keep a clean sheet in the process, avoiding any away goals. If he has one complaint it may be that his team failed to take one of their many chances in the second half to give them a bigger cushion ahead of their trip to the Bernabeu but it’s a result that they would have been delighted with before a ball was kicked. In what has been a frustrating domestic campaign for them, their participation in the Champions League has been a major positive if somewhat surprising. The win over Real is their only success in the last five which gives an indication of how much of a shock it actually was considering their recent form.

Zidane took the option of resting some key players in Real’s facile 4-0 win against Eibar on Saturday in with a view to the return leg. Bale, Toni Kroos, Marcelo and Luca Modric never took any part in the game whilst Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema missed out through suspension and injury. It’s the prognosis of the French striker which will concern Zidane most as he has been in terrific form since returning from an injury suffered earlier in the season. His presence in the team also makes Ronaldo and Bale more dangerous as Benzema is able to occupy central defenders and provide that focal point at the top of Real’s attack – he’s also scored 25 goals this season. Zidane came in for some criticism after the first leg for deploying Danilo at right back instead of Dani Carvajal. The latter has been in excellent form recently so it was somewhat surprising to see him dropped, whilst the expectation is he will return to the starting eleven on Tuesday in place of the Brazilian.

With qualification to next season’s Champions League via the Bundesliga looking increasingly unlikely, Wolfsburg have the unenviable task of having to win this year’s competition if they are to be competing with Europe’s best for the second season running. That may be something of an aspiration but their first leg exploits will be a massive confidence boost to the whole squad. Their away performances in the Champions League are also the cause for some optimism as they have scored in three of four away ties, winning two of them against CSKA Moscow and Gent. This obviously represents a massive step up in class and the atmosphere is likely to be different as well. However, even managing to score will be a massive boost to their chances of qualifying as it would leave their hosts requiring four to progress, emphasising just how important that clean sheet was last Wednesday.

Real Madrid v Wolfsburg Betting Tips

It would be foolish to write off Real Madrid on the back of the first leg result but they will certainly have to play better in order to overturn the two-goal deficit. They key to their chances will be the fitness of Benzema, in my opinion, and the signals coming out of Madrid is that he will start. An early goal for the home side would put a completely different complexion on things and bearing in mind they are playing against an inexperienced team at this level, and one that are currently eighth in their own league, it could yet be a long night for the Germans. Wolfsburg cannot afford to sit back on their lead and will be realistic enough to expect to have to score if they are to reach the semi-finals so it promises to be a fascinating 90 minutes…at least.

Even when Real Madrid do not have to chase a couple of goals their defence has looked vulnerable, particularly at home. In recent weeks both Roma and Sevilla have created a plethora of chances but failed to convert so I would not be overly taken by the fact that they have kept three consecutive clean sheets at home. Wolfsburg have pace in abundance going forward and with Julian Draxler have a player who is capable of picking that killer pass which will be a major asset one the break. All in all, I see goals and lots of them on Tuesday in the Spanish capital. The hosts are massive favourites to win the tie and are still expected to progress but I can see them being troubled. The main selection is for both teams to score and there to be over 2.5 goals whilst I also suggest a speculative bet on a correct score of 5-1, for small stakes.

Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals 10/11 @ Stan James

Correct score 5-1 21/1 @ Betvictor

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