Champion's League preview/predictions!
Champion's League Winners
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Barcelona vs Real Madrid
The fifth and final El Classico this season and it will be in the Champion's League semi final and it promises to be a very fiery affair.
The last time these two teams meet, there were 3 individuals who got sent off, a Madrid player, Pepe, second choice goalkeeper for the visiting side, Jose Pinto, and Real Madrid's manager, the "special one" Jose Mourinho.
Jose Mourinho has apparently given up the fight against Barcelona for this 2nd leg semi-final citing refreeing inconsistency or bias as the downfall of his team but let's be honest with ourselves, Real was never in control of that game with or without 11 man and a brace from current World Player of the Year, Lionel Messi, put Barca in a very favorable spot for their second Champion's League final appearance in 3 years.
Both teams lost their domestic games over the weekend, with Real succumbing to another defeat at home to Zaragoza and Barca losing away from home to Sociedad but it is highly unlikely that these 2 results will matter much in terms of the domestic table but it will be interesting to see how the two teams will react to them.
Let's talk statistically now, Barca has been average in their goal scoring ability lately, with just 7 goals in 6 games although they do get a bucketload of chances and they also have managed to combine their attacking play with rock solid defense, managing to keep 4 clean sheets out of 6 games and conceding just 3 goals. Real on the other hand, has scored more with 10 goals out of 6 games but it is defensively that their problems arise as they have conceded 9 goals in the same amount of games. This weakness in defense will definitely be a problem for Real and Barca will be looking to exploit it as much as they can to put the tie away to bed.
With Jose Mourinho being suspended and also a suspension to one of his key player, coupled with the fact that the Nou Camp is a real fortress for Barca, I don't think an "upset" is on the books here tonight. Barca to win it, and rather comfortably too.
Final Score = Barcelona 2 - 0 Real Madrid
Over/Under goals = Under 2.5.
Asian Handicap = Barca win (-0.5, -1 odds).
Manchester United vs Schalke 04
Manchester United's weekend's lost to Arsenal was a morale crushing lost and it may not have come at a much more perfect timing for Schalke. The loss may have given Schalke a glimmer of hope in their quest to reach the Finals but it is highly unlikely that an upset will occur in this game.
Man Utd have taken a comfortable 2 goal AWAY lead from their first leg and things are looking bright for the red half of Manchester to advance to their second Champion's League final appearance in 3 years. Reports have suggested that Sir Alex Ferguson may be resting Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez current topscorer of the EPL, Dimitar Berbatov will be leading the attacking lines with Michael Owen playing alongside him. This isn't a bad setup to be honest and we know how deadly Berbatov can be in front of goal but I predict that we won't be seeing alot of goals tonight as United may look to score just 1 goal to kill the game off and then playing cautiously to avoid any unnecessary injuries in this game.
Schalke will not be letting Man United get everything going their way though, with the Champion's League leading goalscorer of all time, Raul, in a defiant mood after the first leg defeat of Schalke. Believing that his side can still make it through to the finals, he will be giving his all in this 2nd leg of the semi-final but whether he will come good on his talk remains to be seen.
Both United and Schalke are going into this game on the back of a defeat in their last domestic game and it will be interesting to see how they will react in this game. Favourites are still Man Utd to win this game as they are unbeaten at home in all competitions this season (correct me if I'm wrong but I can't recall a loss on home soil for the league leaders) and it looks like it will stay that way, at least until the game against Chelsea this upcoming weekend.
Final Score = Manchester United 2 - 0 Schalke
Over/Under goals = Under 2.5 goals.
Asian Handicap = Man United win (-1, -1.5 odds).