The opening slate of Champions League fixtures last week provided a number of shocks with Real Madrid’s 3-2 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk at the Bernabeu Stadium the biggest. The La Liga champions need to bounce back with a win this week when they travel to Germany to face Borussia Munchengladbach, which began their campaign with a 2-2 draw at Inter. The stand-out fixture this week sees two of Europe’s biggest clubs meet in Turin as Juventus hosts Barcelona. Here are some bets that I think are worth considering on DraftKings Sportsbook for the midweek slate of games.
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich extended its winning streak in this competition to 11 games after finding a way to penetrating Atletico’s well-organized defense four times in last week’s opener. Lokomotiv got its first point of the competition when drawing 2-2 at RB Salzburg. Despite being the away team, Bayern will start as favorites and they prepared for this game with a routine 5-0 Bundesliga win at home to Eintracht Frankfurt which was their ninth successive game in which there were three or more total goals scored. The Russians’ preparations for this game did not go according to plan, as they were beaten 2-1 at home to Rotor Volgograd at the weekend.
Borussia Monchengladbach v Real Madrid
It may be the second game of the group stage, but this has a feel of a must-win game for the visitors. The blueprint for progressing to the knockout stage is to win your home games and try to pick up points on the road wherever you can. Losing its first home game puts pressure on Real Madrid for the remainder of the group that is regarded as one of the toughest. However, Zinedine Zidane’s side got the perfect pick-up on Saturday by beating Barcelona, 3-1, at the Nou Camp, which should give the Madrid side the confidence they need to win this game. However, Monchengladbach will not make this easy for their opponents. The Bundesliga side went to Inter and claimed a 2-2 draw last week and they followed that up with a 3-2 league win at Mainz on Saturday.
Atalanta v Ajax
If this game finishes in a goalless draw, I will be very surprised. You only have to look at Saturday’s results to see that it’s acceptable to expect goals. Ajax went to VVV Venlo in the Dutch Eredivisie on Saturday and won 13-0. Four of those goals came within six second-half minutes, while the final three goals came in a five-minute span. The rout came three days after Ajax lost their UCL opener, 1-0, at home to Liverpool. The past eight league and cup matches Atalanta has played have seen three or more total goals scored, which suggests these two sides should combine for a minimum of three total goals. The Italian side got their Champions League campaign off to a winning start beating the weakest team in the group, Midtjylland, 4-0. However, they were soundly beaten, 3-1, at home by Sampdoria in Serie A on Saturday.
Liverpool v Midtjylland
Speaking of Midtjylland, they now travel to Anfield to meet the 2018-19 champions Liverpool. It would take a brave person to back the visitors in this contest, but in an unpredictable 2020, you never know. Liverpool fell behind at home to Sheffield United but rallied to score in both halves to claim the win to become joint EPL leaders with neighbors Everton with 13 points. The Reds have won both games without their key defender Virgil Van Dijk and they will be expected to win their second UCL tie comfortably against the Danish side. It’s already looking like Midtjylland is going to be the weak team in this group, but a 3-2 win at Brondby will have given them a confidence boost before facing the EPL champions on their home ground.
Juventus v Barcelona
The tie that stands out this week is Barcelona’s trip to Juventus. Cristiano Ronaldo’s reunion with long-term Balloon D’Or rival Lionel Messi is in doubt after issues with the Juventus’ star’s COVID-19 tests and protocol thereafter. The Italians managed to win their Champions League opener without Ronaldo when they beat Dynamo Kyiv, 2-0, while Barcelona was the biggest winners in the opening round of matches with a 5-1 win at home to Hungarian side Ferencvaros. Barcelona lost the first El Clasico of the season, 3-1, on Saturday, which will not have done much for their confidence ahead of this clash. In Serie A, Juventus dropped two points at home to Verona, which took the lead in Allianz Stadium. Whether Ronaldo plays or not, these two giants of European football usually bring the best out of each other so we can expect a few goals in this contest.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is CharliePMullan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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