After an action-packed opening round of first legs in the Champions League last 16, there are more top-notch ties to look forward to this week. Predicting the outright winner can sometimes be a little tricky, so why not take a look at picking out some of the players who are going to see the back of the net bulge across the continent?
There are plenty of candidates in one of the round’s standout ties, as Liverpool host Bayern Munich at Anfield on Tuesday. Last season’s beaten finalists are up against a bona fide European heavyweight in Bundesliga champions Bayern. Things haven’t exactly been going to plan for the German giants this season though.
Nico Kovac’s first season in charge has been somewhat underwhelming, but Bayern are showing signs of revival. They’ve scored three goals in each of their last three games, with former Arsenal man Serge Gnarby netting three of those. He could be worth a look at 7/2 in the anytime scorer odds, while Robert Lewandowski is 6/4. The Polish striker has eight Champions League goals already this season, and 25 in all competitions.
That’s five more than Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, but the Egyptian’s goal against Bournemouth last week took him to 11 in his last 13 games. Salah is 23/20 to score on Tuesday, while Sadio Mane – who is looking to continue his red-hot streak and score in his fifth successive game – could be very tempting at 15/8. Especially as the Senegalese forward opened the scoring against Bayern when they met in the Audi Cup before the start of last season.
From Merseyside to the capital of France’s Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, Lyon face the daunting prospect of a tie with Spanish champions Barcelona. The Catalan giants smashed the Ligue 1 side 6-3 on aggregate the last time they met in the Champions League knockout rounds. It may have been 10 years ago, but Lionel Messi scored in the second round of that tie, and is still at the top of his game.
The Argentine maestro already has 30 goals to his name this season, and is 10/13 to add to his tally this week. Ousmane Dembele meanwhile is starting to show the form that convinced Barca to splash out on his services to replace Neymar a year and a half ago. He’s on 13 goals this term, and 19/10 to score against Lyon as he looks to make a mark back in his homeland.
Tournament favourites Manchester City are in action on Wednesday night, as they travel to Germany to face Schalke. It’s impossible to look past Sergio Aguero at the moment, with the Argentinian striker on an extraordinary run of nine goals in his last six games, including two hat-tricks. He got a rest in the FA Cup at the weekend, and is 8/11 to return to the team with a goal.
While that game in Gelsenkirchen could turn out to be a high-scoring affair, Wednesday’s other match is likely to be much tighter. Two of Europe’s finest defences square up to each other as Atletico Madrid welcome Juventus to the Wanda Metropolitano. There was only one goal in two games the last time they were paired together in the Champions League, which was in the group stages in 2014.
Juve failed to score in that double-header, but the Old Lady now have a certain Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks. The Portuguese superstar is the competition’s all-time leading scorer, and has incredibly finished top of the scoring charts in each of the last six seasons. He is 19/10 to get his 123rd Champions League goal this week. If you’re looking to land an accumulator bet this week, you can get 11/1 on Salah, Aguero, Messi and Ronaldo all getting themselves on the scoresheet. Switch Mane in for Salah and those odds rise to 15/1.