The Champions League continues on Tuesday night as it's Liverpool's turn as they take on Bayern Munich. Tom Carnduff picks out his best bets.
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Liverpool v Bayern Munich (Anfield, 2000 GMT, BT Sport 2)
It probably wasn't the fixture that Liverpool wanted at this stage in the competition, but they are still well equipped to start their knockout stage campaign in winning ways.
Anfield has been crucial to the Reds' European fortunes so far. Jurgen Klopp's side won their three home games, but three defeats on the road meant that they had to settle for second place in Group C.
On the contrary, Bayern managed to make it through the group stage unbeaten. The only side they had any issues against were Ajax with two draws in their games against each other. It was enough to send Munich through in first though.
Bayern's away record has been a positive this season. They have won the large majority of their games in all competitions, although they seem to come unstuck when playing against the top sides away from the Allianz Arena.
They were beaten by Dortmund (first in the Bundesliga) and Leverkusen (fifth in the Bundesliga) in the games there, while they are yet to visit Monchengladbach and Leipzig.
That should put them in a difficult position here, although an away goal could be crucial with Liverpool's away woes in this competition.
Given how Liverpool will want to be on the front foot in front of their own supporters, the value is there in backing Mats Hummels to have a high tackle count in this game.
He should line-up alongside Niklas Sule with Jerome Boateng ruled out. With the influential trio of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah up front for Liverpool, it's set to be a busy evening for the German international.
Hummels has been a presence in the Bayern back line throughout their group stage campaign. He completed a total of 15 successful tackles in the four games he played, on just three occasions was he beaten during those matches.
At a price of 9/4, it's worth a small stake on the defender having 3+ tackles on Tuesday night. He had three in the away game in Athens and the home draw with Ajax, while there was a total of four away at Benfica and five in their win over Athens in Bavaria.
It's little surprise to see him lead the way for successful tackles in this competition for Bayern. He's a reliable part of this Munich side and will be called upon to try and keep the opposition within touching distance for the second leg.
On the topic of tackles, one player who does get beaten a lot is Joshua Kimmich. The right-back has completed 23 successful tackles in the Bundesliga, whereas he has been dribbled past on 26 occasions.
Kimmich's luck has been a tad better in Europe, although he has still been unsuccessful with five of the 13 tackles he's tried in this competition.
That's another angle to look out given that poor record with trying to stop the opposition. The referee, Gianluca Rocchi, has shown 16 yellows and one red in three Champions League games this season and Kimmich could find himself in the book here.
Score prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Bayern Munich (Sky Bet odds: 8/1)
Best bet: Mats Hummels 3+ tackles at 9/4
- Bayern Munich have won only one of their seven matches in European competition against Liverpool (D4 L2), that came in the Cup Winners Cup second round back in November 1971 with two goals from Gerd Müller and one from Uli Hoeness in Munich.
- Liverpool and Bayern Munich’s only previous encounter in the European Cup/Champions League came in the 1980/81 semis. Liverpool progressed on away goals (1-1 on aggregate) – they would go on to beat Real Madrid in the final (1-0).
- Bayern Munich haven’t scored a single goal against Liverpool at Anfield (3 games).
- Liverpool are unbeaten in 19 consecutive European matches at Anfield (W14 D5), last losing at home back in October 2014 against Real Madrid in the Champions League (0-3). It’s their second longest unbeaten streak at home in European competition after their 40-match run between September 1974 and December 1991.
- Bayern Munich were one of five teams to remain unbeaten in this season’s Champions League group stages, along with Ajax, Barcelona, Lyon and Porto. They have reached the Champions League semi-finals in seven of the last nine seasons.
- Bayern Munich are on a run of eight consecutive Champions League away matches without a defeat (W6 D2), with their last loss on the road coming in September 2017 versus Paris Saint-Germain (0-3). Only once have they enjoyed a longer unbeaten run away from home in the competition (10 games, between October 2012 and April 2014).
- Eight teams had more shots than Bayern Munich in this season’s Champions League group stages but no side created more big chances than the Bavarians (21).
- Bayern Munich are the top scoring side from set-pieces in this season’s Champions League with eight goals, including five from corner situations (also a competition high).
- Sadio Mané failed to convert more big chances than any other player in this season’s Champions League group stages (6, out of 7 obtained). However, last season he scored seven goals in as many knockout games in the competition.
- Top scorer in the Champions League this season with eight goals, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski will attempt to find the net in a fifth consecutive game, a feat he has never accomplished so far in a same season in the competition.
- Four Bayern Munich players will be making their 50th Champions League appearance if they feature against Liverpool: Thiago Alcantara, Mats Hummels, Javi Martinez and James Rodriguez.
Lyon v Barcelona (Groupama Stadium, 2000 GMT, BT Sport 3)
Barcelona will be hopeful of reaching the latter stages of this competition, and their first knockout stage test comes against a Lyon side who caused all sorts of problems in the group stages.
They went through their Group F campaign unbeaten, although five of their six games ended in draws. Their only victory came on opening day against Manchester City, the team who would eventually beat them to top spot.
Lyon could take confidence from that, although ultimately this should be a game where Barcelona come out on top. They have the best away record in LaLiga this season, that being alongside their two wins and a draw in Group B games on the road.
Despite that, Lyon still have the capability to get themselves on the scoresheet and remain in the contest for the second leg at Camp Nou. The French side hit 12 goals in their six games so far in this competition, half of those coming at home.
The value is in the shots market with the attacking talent of the two sides. In particular, Tanguy NDombele possesses a threat going forward despite his defensive role and has had plenty of opportunities on goal.
The 22-year-old grabbed two goals in the group stages, both of which came in games against Hoffenheim, and has contributed four assists in Ligue 1.
His efforts haven't gone unnoticed either as Manchester United have been linked with a move for the midfielder. Lyon boss Bruno Genesio has described him as the "new Paul Pogba."
"He is strong physically and above all technically," Genesio said, as reported by AS, "With the first touch he manages to pass even three players, and when he starts he is difficult to stop."
"He’s precise with his passing, he has a nice dribble. I do not like comparisons, but in fact Ndombele can be a new Pogba. Tanguy will become a top club midfielder so I would not be surprised to see him at Juve in the future. But as I am his coach, I would like to enjoy him a little more here at Lyon."
That does count for chances on goal too, as Pogba has proven to be a key part of the attacking element of the current United side. NDombele has had eight shots in 463 Champions League minutes this season, four coming from outside the area.
At a price of 11/2 with Sky Bet, the value is certainly there on backing him to have at least one shot on target. Lyon know that Barcelona will be eager to keep them out, and shots from distance may be an avenue for them to explore.
Score prediction: Lyon 1-2 Barcelona (Sky Bet odds: 7/1)
- Barcelona are unbeaten against Lyon, winning four of their six previous matches with the French club, all in the Champions League. The Catalans have also scored in all six of those games.
- Lyon and Barcelona’s last competitive encounter came 10 years ago, in the round of 16 of the 2008/09 Champions League. Barcelona won 6-3 on aggregate.
- Lyon and Barcelona remained unbeaten in this season’s Champions League group stages. In fact, it’s the first time two teams are facing each other in the knockout stages of the Champions League without a defeat to their name all season since Barcelona and Manchester Utd met in the 2007/08 semi-finals.
- Lyon have made it to the knockout phase of the Champions League for the first time since 2011/12. They have been eliminated at the round of 16 five of the last six times they have reached that stage.
- Barcelona have reached the Champions League knockout stages for the 15th consecutive season, only Real Madrid are on a longer run (22). The last time they failed to make it past the round of 16 was in 2006/07 when they were eliminated by Liverpool.
- Lyon have drawn each of their last five Champions League games; a sixth in a row would equal the record for most consecutive draws in a single UCL season held by AEK Athens (2002/03) and Glasgow Rangers (2005/06). o Lyon have averaged 44% possession in this season’s Champions League, the lowest ratio among the 16 teams left in the competition whilst only Real Madrid have had more possession (65%) than Barcelona (64%).
- Lyon conceded 11 goals in this season’s Champions League group stages, the highest total amongst the 16 clubs left in the competition.
- All five goals conceded by Barcelona in this season’s Champions League have come in the second-half, including three in the final 10 minutes.
- Lyon’s Memphis Depay has assisted four goals in the Champions League this season, the joint-most alongside Kylian Mbappé and Riyad Mahrez. The last Lyon player to assist four or more goals in the competition was Juninho Pernambucano in 2008/09 (4).
- Since (and including) the 2009 Champions League final, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has scored 90 goals in 90 starts in the competition.
- Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has failed to score (or deliver an assist) in his last 1,418 minutes of play away from home in the Champions League, that’s 23 hours and 38 minutes without finding the net or setting up a goal. The last time he scored on the road came in September 2015 against Roma at the Olimpico.
Odds correct as of 1030 GMT on 18/02/19. Links automatically add selection to your Sky Bet betslip.