Real Madrid face the very stark possibility of being knocked out of the Champions League on Wednesday night when they host Borussia Monchengladbach at the Bernabeu.
Head coach Zinedine Zidane has had a tricky time of it as Real boss of late as inconsistent form in both La Liga and in Europe has raised more question marks over his future.
Unexpected defeats to Shakhtar Donetsk (both home and away) leave Los Blancos in a precarious position in what has become a complicated Group B. They sit third, on seven points, a point behind leaders Monchengladbach, but they at least know a victory in midweek over the Bundesliga outfit would guarantee their place in the last-16.
Second-placed Shakhtar face bottom side Inter at the same time, and the Italians could yet sneak into the next stage themselves with a win, although they need Madrid or Monchengladbach to do them a big favour at the same time.
Assuming that Inter beat Shakhtar, the Nerazzurri must hope there is a winner in the other game to steal second place. If Madrid and Monchengladbach play out a draw, Inter will be out.
With so much riding on Wednesday night’s two games, expect twists and turns, but home wins for both Real (
5/7) and Inter (
5/18) look the way to go.
Battle-Hardened Atleti Can Pass Austria Test
Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid should be good enough to get at least the draw they need at RB Salzburg in Group A. With Bayern Munich already through as group winners, it’s a fight between these two for second and expect the Spaniards to win out.
Diego Simeone’s men are on an unbeaten 10-game run in all competitions and had a solid 2-0 domestic home win over Real Valladolid on Saturday. An away win in midweek is enticing, on offer at
23/20, while backing an Atletico victory with both teams to score at
47/20 also appeals.
Shootout Expected in Amsterdam Decider
In Group D, second spot is also still up for grabs between Ajax and Atalanta. Liverpool, who go to Danish side FC Midtjylland, are already confirmed as group winners so the focus is on Amsterdam when the Dutch giants host last year’s quarter-finalists.
Both teams appear similar in set-up and style with an attacking emphasis from both coaches, Erik ten Hag and Gian Piero Gasperini.
Therefore, we should expect goals at the Johan Cruyff Arena. Ajax have only failed to score in one of their last 10 games – last week in the 1-0 defeat at Anfield – while Atalanta have averaged two goals per game in Serie A so far this term and they’ve struck nine in Europe this season already.
Backing an Ajax win, which is on offer at
5/4 and would be enough for them to progress, seems sensible, while over 3.5 goals might prove tempting at
11/10 given the attacking talents on show.
*All odds correct at the time of writing.