The Champions League returns for Matchday 4 with a number of clubs looking to secure progress to the knockout stage with two games to spare. Four clubs have yet to drop a point including the reigning champions Bayern Munich, who can secure top spot in Group A if they beat RB Salzburg and Atletico drops points at home to Lokomotiv Moscow. Groups B and H remain the most competitive, with all four clubs battling it out for the two top spots. Here are some bets that I think are worth considering on DraftKings Sportsbook for the midweek slate of UCL games.
There is an argument that Chelsea is the best team in Europe right now. Not only have five straight wins improved their unbeaten run to 12 league and cup games, but they have registered six clean sheets in their past seven games. That includes Saturday’s 2-0 win at Newcastle, which took the Blues to the top of the standings for a few hours. Chelsea took care of business against Rennes when the two sides met at Stamford Bridge, but on home soil, the French side will hope to be the first team to penetrate Chelsea’s defense in this season’s competition. Rennes has won just one of their past nine games in all competitions, and their chances of remaining in either of Europe’s club competitions will be slim if they fail to beat the Blues who will be expected to win this game comfortably.
Just when Barcelona thought they had moved on from Lionel Messi’s uncertain future, speculation has once again resurfaced with links to Manchester City still being mentioned. Messi’s side is already 12 points behind La Liga’s early pace-setters, Real Sociedad, but the Spanish giants have played two games fewer. Nou Camp is not a happy camp right now, and if it is to be Messi’s final campaign in Catalunia, he won’t want to leave without a winner’s medal in any of the competitions they are involved in. With three wins in three games in the UCL, Barcelona is in a good position to qualify from Group G. Messi has scored a penalty in all three ties so far and while a trip to Ukraine in November is not ideal, the La Liga side should get the job done and maintain their 100 percent record. Transferring their UCL form into their domestic league needs to be addressed to keep Messi happy.
Bayern Munich has owned the Champions League since the start of last season to the point that no team has managed to beat the Bavarians. A victory at home over the Austrians will extend their winning streak to 14 and after beating Salzburg, 6-2, three weeks ago, there is nothing to suggest the visitors will be able to topple the best team in Europe. Ahead of this game, Bayern rested a couple of players — including Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka — for their home game with Werder Bremen and it almost backfired as they rallied from a goal down to rescue a point in a 1-1 tie. One aspect of Bayern’s domination in this tournament is their ability to score late goals. Of the 58 UCL goals scored during their winning run, 20 (34.5%) have been scored in the final 15 minutes and that includes five late goals in their past two UCL matches. Bayern has also scored in both halves of their three ties this season.
Between them, Inter and Real Madrid have been crowned Champions of Europe 16 times, with the Spanish giants winning more titles than any other side with 13. However, both sides have got to the halfway stage of this season’s Champions League with just one win between them. That was Real’s 3-2 win over Inter last time out in Madrid, but this meeting takes place at the San Siro where Inter has won four of the five meetings with Real in Europe’s elite club competition and drawn in their other meeting. Since their meeting three weeks ago, Real has picked up one point from their two league games on either side of the international break, while Inter rallied from going 2-0 down to beat Torino 4-2 on Sunday to make it four points gained from their two league games since facing Madrid.
Porto boosted their hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the Champions League by beating Marseille, 3-0, before the international break. They have claimed six points from their past two ties in shutouts, which works well against this week’s opponents. Marseille has been a disappointment in this campaign with three losses and no goals scored, but they did prepare for their clash with Porto by winning 1-0 at Strasbourg on Friday. Porto’s issues recently have been on the road, where they have failed to win any of their past three away games in the Portuguese league and the UCL. Porto has scored first in all three of their Champions League ties while Marseille has given up the first goal in all three of its games. Porto has scored in the first half of all three games while their opponents have conceded a goal before halftime in their last two. Anything less than a Porto win will be a surprise in the French port.
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