Soccer Champions League - Play-Offs Prediction
Bayern Munich vs Manchester City - Match Preview
⚽ 19 April 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0
After a 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim at the weekend saw them miss the chance to stretch their Bundesliga lead, a month of unrest at Bayern Munich looks set to get even worse, with elimination from the UEFA Champions League (UCL) looking highly likely after a thumping 3-0 defeat to Manchester City in the first leg of this quarter-final tie. In spite of such a deficit, boss Thomas Tuchel maintained his side “won’t give up” as they look to become just the fifth side to progress from a UCL knockout tie after losing the first leg by a 3+ goal margin.
No German side has ever achieved that feat, and Bayern now look to avoid losing both legs of a UCL knockout tie for just the third time in their history, with the previous two instances coming against Real Madrid. The omens don’t look great in avoiding that feat considering Bayern have scored more than once in just one of their last six games, while Tuchel has lost each of his last three personal meetings with City boss Pep Guardiola without his side scoring a single goal.
Manchester City travel to Germany on the back of a ten-match winning run in all competitions, last tasting defeat back in early February (W12, D2 since). A first-ever UCL title for the club is now firmly in Guardiola’s sights, while he sits just one win short of 100 in this competition, a landmark only Carlo Ancelotti and Sir Alex Ferguson have reached prior to the Spaniard.
With just one defeat from their 20 meetings with German opposition in the UCL (W16, D3), that landmark appears within touching distance for Guardiola. It likely won’t be plain sailing though, as the fact the Citizens have won just one of their last six European road trips (D4, L1) muddies the waters somewhat and perhaps sows a seed of doubt in a squad that has so far failed to deliver a coveted maiden UCL trophy.
📋 Players to watch: If scoring goals against Man City is what Tuchel is looking for, it may be time to take Sadio Mané off the naughty step and bring him back into his team as he’s netted ten times against City over his career, only scoring more against Crystal Palace (13). City hitman Erling Haaland is on the verge of a slice of history, needing one more UCL goal to equal Ruud van Nistelrooy’s 12 strikes in 2002/03 - the most in a single campaign by a Premier League player.
⚡ Hot stat: Bayern Munich hasn’t lost consecutive UCL matches over 90 minutes since 2014!
Inter vs Benfica - Match Preview
⚽ 19 April 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0
Holding a handy two-goal aggregate lead coming into this UEFA Champions League (UCL) quarter-final second leg, Inter Milan has one foot in the semi-finals. However, a shock 1-0 home defeat to Monza at the weekend proved Inter are penetrable at the San Siro, so they will have to be on their guard to warn off Benfica’s advances and secure a first UCL semi-final spot since 2010.
Considering Inter has won 17 of the 18 UEFA competition ties in which they have triumphed away from home in the first leg, they look well placed to book a last-four date. In fact, you'd have to go back to 2011 and a 5-2 defeat against Schalke for the last time Inter lost a UCL home game by a margin big enough to see elimination in 90 minutes here, leaving Simone Inzaghi poised to become the first home-grown Italian coach to lead Inter to the semi-finals of Europe’s premier competition since Eugenio Bersellini in 1980/81.
Benfica makes the trip to Italy on the back of a shock 1-0 defeat of their own, going down against Chaves in Primeira Liga action to extend their losing run across all competitions to three matches. If the recent form doesn’t offer much hope for Benfica, then the fact they have already won on Italian soil this season perhaps does as they beat Juventus 2-1 in group-stage action.
Joy has proved to be limited against their Italian counterparts, though, with that win against Juventus one of just four on Italian soil (D1, L11). They do appear well placed to improve upon that record here on the back of a nine-match unbeaten run in UCL away games (W6, D3), but considering only one of those victories came by a margin big enough to avoid the torture of extra time and penalties, Benfica’s slim hopes of progression may need more than the allotted 90 minutes.
📋 Players to watch: Inter’s spot-kick king Romelu Lukaku has seen four of his last five goals come from the penalty spot, including the game’s final goal in the reverse. Benfica’s Rafa is enjoying a fruitful UCL campaign and expects entertainment if he gets on the scoresheet again, with his last three UCL scoring appearances witnessing at least six goals!
⚡ Hot streak: None of Inter’s last six UCL home games has seen both teams score.
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