Crisis time for Klopp!

Crisis in Dortmund!

Klopp’s Dortmund are rock-bottom of the Bundesliga!

He may be one of the most sought-after managers in Europe after his recent success, but for the time being Jurgen Klopp is living a Bundesliga nightmare at Borussia Dortmund. Whilst big rivals Bayern Munich are seemingly strolling to yet another title, Dortmund amazingly find themselves rock-bottom of the division after 13 games.

Sunday’s 2-0 loss at Eintracht Frankfurt was just the latest in a run of inept performances in the league this season, made all the more mystifying by Dortmund’s excellent form in the Champions League. The Black and Yellows have now lost eight of their 13 league games and won just three. To make matters worse the atmosphere within the club seems to have turned nasty following the latest flop.

Dortmund’s huge army of supporters have always enjoyed a reputation for patience, but travelling fans vented their frustration and anger in no uncertain terms after the Frankfurt game to further increase the pressure on both Klopp and his team to turn things around.

General manager Michael Zorc stressed that the club’s bosses are still behind charismatic Klopp, but his magic does indeed seem to be on the wane. The coach himself stressed that he has no intention of throwing in the towel after six years at the helm at Signal Iduna Park, but Friday’s Bundesliga encounter at home to a confident Hoffenheim side could yet prove to be a crossroads in his career. If the 2011 and 2012 Bundesliga champions should slip up again at home (fourth loss in seven home games), then a fairytale relationship between coach, team and fans could well come to an abrupt end.

German Bundesliga, Matchday 14: Borussia Dortmund vs. TSG Hoffenheim Betting Odds:

Borussia Dortmund 1,53
Draw 4.25
TSG Hoffenheim 5.25

Next Bundesliga coach to leave his club Odds:

Jurgen Klopp 7.0

All odds provided by allyoubet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI

Champions League – Three Key Moments

Might things be different had Zlatan Ibrahimović not picked up an injury?

Might things be different had Zlatan Ibrahimović not picked up an injury?

As Lisbon’s Éstadio da Luz prepares to welcome Madrid’s biggest clubs for this season’s Champions League final, Betting Instinct takes a look at some of the flashpoints which have defined this season’s competition.

 

Champions League outright betting odds:

Real Madrid – 1.48

Atlético Madrid – 2.52

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

  1. Henrikh Mhkitaryan hits the post, 8 April

Last year’s finalists Borussia Dortmund had all but been written off as long-term defensive injuries left them fighting an uphill battle since the early stages of the season. They edged a three-way tie at the top of their group and managed to sneak unconvincingly past Zenit St Petersburg in the last 16, meaning a 3-0 first-leg defeat in their quarter final first leg in Madrid was disappointing but not unexpected.

Real Madrid were themselves not at full-strength for the return game at Signal Iduna Park, with Cristiano Ronaldo only fit enough for the bench and Marcelo also missing, but few expected the Germans to cause too many problems. That was until two first half goals from Marco Reus shook things up.

There was always a sense that a chance for an equaliser would arrive, and when that moment came it fell to record signing Mhkitaryan, a replacement for last year’s star Mario Götze. The Armenian showed great composure to round Iker Casillas but could only find the foot of the post with a shot from a narrow angle. Real held on and didn’t receive anything like as big a scare in their comprehensive semi-final victory over Dortmund’s domestic vanquishers Bayern Munich.

 

  1. Adrián keeps calm, 30 April

Atlético Madrid’s phenomenal season has largely been attributed to the two Diegos – manager Simeone and 36-goal forward Costa. However it was one of the club’s less illustrious names who played a big part in their progress to the final.

In discussions of Atlético’s firepower, Adrián is essentially ‘the other one’. The former Deportivo forward has just one league goal this campaign, and both Costa and Spanish record scorer David Villa have claimed more of the plaudits. The first of his Champions League goals this campaign – the opener in a 1-1 draw with Zenit – was just the appetiser for one far more significant.

After a goalless semi-final first leg against Chelsea, Atléti went behind to their former star Fernando Torres in the return leg. However just a minute before half time Tiago floated a ball to the back post, Juanfran reached it and as Chelsea’s goalkeeper and defenders panicked Adrián kept his cool to direct the ball low into the corner of the net. It came at a perfect time for Simeone’s side, who then went on to score twice more after the break to seal their place in Lisbon.

 

 

  1. Zlatan Ibrahimović injures his hamstring, 3 April

While there is little doubting that the two remaining teams both deserve their place in the final, it’s always fun to adopt a Butterfly Effect approach to a certain player’s absence from a key game.

Despite Sweden’s failure to qualify for the World Cup, 2013-14 has been a sensational season for Zlatan Ibrahimović, who has scored 40 times in 44 games, winning Ligue 1 player of the season as he led Paris Saint-Germain to a second successive title. However the club will ask themselves whether they might have got further in Europe had he not been injured in the first leg of their quarter-final against Chelsea – indeed The Guardian‘s Daniel Taylor described the injury as “the most encouraging news [for Chelsea] from the first leg”.

PSG won that game 3-1, but the absence of the Swede for the return game in London prompted an overly cautious approach from coach Laurent Blanc, without a comparable attacking outlet to take the game to their opponents or even just to relieve some of Chelsea’s pressure. Ultimately a timid PSG went out on away goals and missed the chance to take on Atléti for a place in the final – who knows what kind of difference a healthy Zlatan could have made.

 

Betting Instinct tip – in what looks likely to be a tense encounter in Lisbon, less than 2.5 goals can be backed at 1.69 with GR88.com

If a goal is scored in the 88th minute or less in Saturday’s final then GR88.com will refund selected losing bets which were winning before the goal went in. For full details, visit http://www.gr88.com/promotions.

 

tv TOM VICTOR (editor) is the editor and co-founder of Betting Instinct. He has written for a variety of    sports sites in the past, including JustFootball, Footy Matters and BeNeFoot. You can follow him  on Twitter or Google+.

Dortmund or Bayern? Who’ll win the clash of the German titans in the DFB Pokal Final?

Dortmund celebrate Marco Reus' goal in the 3-0 win over Bayern in the league last month

Dortmund celebrate Marco Reus’ goal in the 3-0 win over Bayern in the league last month

The domestic season in Germany comes to a close this evening with the DFB Pokal final as Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich clash at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin in their second final meeting in a year. Their last clash in a final came a year ago at Wembley as Bayern Munich scored late to secure a 2-1 victory over Jurgen Klopp’s men to lift the Champions League trophy in celebration, now will they add the DFB Pokal trophy to their runaway Bundesliga victory tonight in Munich?

Dortmund v Bayern Betting Odds (Normal Time Only):

Borussia Dortmund – 3.20

Draw – 3.30

Bayern Munich – 1.99

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

Dortmund have had a great time of things in the DFB Pokal this season as they are yet to concede a goal in the competition as they have all but steamrolled everyone in their path en route to this evening’s final against their biggest rivals. Only a second round match against 1860 Munich saw them need extra time to progress, but they have built from the back and they’ll be desperate to get revenge, however small in comparison, for the Champions League final loss last season. They ended the season with seven wins and one draw in their last eight games, including beating Real Madrid 2-0 as they almost came back from a 3-0 first leg loss to send the Spaniards crashing out, and winning 3-0 at the Allianz Arena against Bayern. Can they extend their unbeaten run to nine tonight?

Bayern may have runaway with the league in Germany this season as they took the title in record time, but once they had nothing left to play for they lost their way a little. Their final 12 matches of the season saw four losses and two draws, including suffering defeats to Real Madrid in the semi finals of the Champions League. They have been hit and miss at the end of this season, but the quality is still there and a cup final is sure to bring it to the fore and they will want set down a marker for next season, but with them being so inconsistent it is difficult to be sure about which side we will see tonight.

The teams have already faced each other on three occasions this season and both teams have claimed 3-0 away wins, with Bayern winning at Dortmund in November and Dortmund repeating the feat a month ago. The other match saw them clash at the start of the season in the Super Cup as Bayern were ripped apart in a 4-2 defeat in Pep Guardiola’s first match. I feel that this match will have an end of season feel to it as both sides look to close out 2013/14 campaigns in style with some attacking football and with their being 12 goals in the three meetings already this season I can see goals this evening. If pushed, I feel that Dortmund will win this trophy tonight, but the value is to be had on goals at the Olympic Stadium.

Back there to be at least four goals on the Three Goals No Bet market in this DFB Pokal Final between Dortmund and Bayern tonight @ 1.91 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Champions League: Returning Ronaldo can give Real first-leg lead

Can Cristiano Ronaldo add to his 14 goals in 8 Champions League games this season?

Can Cristiano Ronaldo add to his 14 goals in 8 Champions League games this season?

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to return for the first leg of Real Madrid’s semifinal match against Bayern Munich in the Champions League. The 29-year who missed the Copa Del Rey final against Barcelona has been suffering from an apparent hamstring injury but returned to full training a few days ago. Gareth Bale, the hero of the final against Barcelona, was reported earlier this week to be suffering from the effects of the flu, but he has also seemingly recovered in time to welcome Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich to the Bernabeu.

 

Real Madrid v Bayern Munich Betting Odds:

Real Madrid win – 2.38

Bayern Munich win – 2.74

Draw – 3.30

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

Real Madrid enter the game aiming for their first Champions League final berth in 12 years, though they have famously won the trophy nine times so far. History is not on the side of Los Blancos as they have lost four out of the last five semi-final matches against Bayern and Guardiola was also responsible for breaking the stranglehold of Real Madrid in Spain –not losing in any of six visits to the Bernabeu– during his time at Barcelona. Though most of the team is healthy for Madrid, Marcelo is set to miss out, leaving Fabio Coentrao to start in his place and Álvaro Arbeloa’s injury woes means that Daniel Carvajal will retain his starting spot. These issues leave Real Madrid vulnerable in Bayern’s strongest position, the wings, where Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry ply their trade.

Real Madrid’s last match in the Champions League suggests that they will have a hard time dealing with the pace of Bayern, as they were exploited by Borussia Dortmund’s pace numerous times as they went on to lose 2-0 to the Germans in the second leg of their quarter-final. While they were able to hold on and progress, the loss against Dortmund was a shock as they were able to dispatch their opponents very easily during the first leg, and in the second leg, completely collapsed as Dortmund threatened throughout, with only the width of the post preventing them from forcing extra-time.

Bayern are to all intents and purposes a better team than Dortmund, and have more weapons while retaining the same intense pace. Ronaldo’s return and Bale’s good health will be welcome news for Real but the more important factor will be if their defence can stand up against their German opponents.

 

Bayern are also welcoming back a talisman of their own in the form of Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was serving a suspension for a red card offense in the last round. The Germans were held to a 1-1 draw by Manchester United in the first leg of the quarterfinals before coming from behind to eventually run out 3-1 winners in the second leg. They wrapped up the Bundesliga title in record time but have become complacent in the league in recent weeks, suffering uncharacteristic losses to Augsburg and at home to Dortmund, though this seems to have been remedied by their most recent performances, winning 5-1 against Kaiserslautern and 2-0 against TSV Eintracht Braunschweig. This suggests that they are over there complacency issues and are back to their winning ways, something that should be concerning to Real Madrid fans everywhere.

If the Bavarians have a weakness it is their response to counter-attacking play, something that Dortmund feasted on as they ran out 3-0 winners recently, and something that has been a running problem in Guardiola teams. Their defenders push up very high and the fullbacks do a great deal of attacking, leaving them exposed if their opponents are able to form a quick, incisive counter. This plays into the hands of Real Madrid who are the best counter-attacking team in Europe, with the triple threat of Ronaldo, Bale and Karim Benzema. Angel Di Maria’s resurrection in the midfield will always be critical to the match-up, the energy of the Argentine is a big reason for Real’s effectiveness on the counter and his energy is essential for hassling midfielders and retrieving possession –all while he is still able to create chances with his dribbling skills.

 

Bayern will most likely dominate possession and with arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, will be bailed out a few times when they are caught on the break. Real Madrid however, will look to break quickly when Bayern do concede possession and with their ferocious attack, they should be able to muster a few clear cut chances and test Manuel Neuer. His opposite number Iker Casillas, meanwhile, is having a record-breaking season as the cup keeper for Madrid and will be on hand to thwart the efforts of the Germans who are always a safe bet to manage a few shots on goal.

The game will likely come down to which defense breaks first, with both teams having topped 100 goals this season in all competitions. If both teams’ attacks behave as they have for the season, the game will be a goal-fest and the winner might come down to whoever has the last shot on goal.

 

Betting Instinct Tip – With two of the most formidable forward-lines in world football going head-to-head, we can expect goals. More than 3.5 goals can be backed at 2.60 with GR88.com.

 

BdykNApCQAEQ_-t ZITO MADU (zitov2) is a writer for SBnation, and has written for Surreal Football, LiveBreatheFutbol,  and numerous other sports sites. Follow him on Twitter.

All set for a German Cup Clásico!

 

Are we set for a Bayern vs. Dortmund cup final in Germany?

Will Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer meet archrivals Dortmund in the German Cup final?

In Spain it’s all eyes on the final of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday when Barcelona and Real Madrid go toe to toe in what should be another epic contest, and German football fans are expecting a similar showdown when their national cup competition reaches its climax. The DFB Pokal semifinals this midweek see both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund as big favourites to move on and meet in a “German Clásico” in the final.

Tuesday sees Dortmund take on Wolfsburg at their Signal Iduna Park, buoyed by an impressive 3-0 win at Bayern in the Bundesliga on Saturday evening. While there is little doubt that the Bavarians have other things on their mind after clinching the title at the end of March, nothing can be taken away from a clinical performance by coach Jurgen Klopp’s team at the Allianz Arena. Things won’t be easy, however, against a Wolfsburg side that is challenging for fourth place in the Bundesliga (and Champions League qualification) and is capable of matching (almost) anyone on their day.

Bayern need to get back on track ahead of next week’s Champions League showdown with Real Madrid and should be able to enjoy a real confidence boost when second division Kaiserslautern come calling. Coach Pep Guardiola is keen to add the cup to the Bundesliga title and will no doubt field a strong team to get the job done with a minimum of fuss to set up what most German football fans want (well expect those from Wolfsburg and Lautern of course!) – a cup final battle between Bayern and BVB!

DFB Pokal semifinal odds

Borussia Dortmund         1.4
Draw                                   4.5
Wolfsburg                          6.75

Bayern Munich                 1.05
Draw                                   11.0
Kaiserslautern                  26.0

Odds provided by www.allyoubet.ag are correct of today, but are subject to change.

CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

Can Dortmund repeat last season’s home win over Real to reach the Champions League Semis?

Cristiano Ronaldo equalled the record for most Champions League goals in the first leg, now can he break it in the second leg?

Cristiano Ronaldo equalled the record for most Champions League goals in the first leg, now can he break it in the second leg?

The first leg of this Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid Champions League Quarter Final blew away the horrific memories of last season’s Semi Final clash between these teams for Real Madrid as their 3-0 win, courtesy of goals from Gareth Bale, Isco and the Champions League top scorer for this season Cristiano Ronaldo, saw them put one foot into the final four stage. However, this week sees them return to Signal-Iduna-Park where they suffered a Robert Lewandowski led 4-1 hammering last season so will they completely banish these nightmares with a second leg victory?

Dortmund v Real Betting Odds:

Borussia Dortmund – 3.15

Draw – 3.45

Real Madrid – 2.10

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

The first leg of this tie saw Dortmund hampered at the Santiago Bernabeu due to the fact that last season’s key player in the meetings between these two sides, Robert Lewandowski, was missing through suspension. However, he is back and will start this match as the focal point of the German side’s attack, but can he bag another four goals to see Dortmund progress at the expense of the Spaniards yet again? He did score in the 2-1 home win against Wolfsburg at the weekend, so he will be confident of being on target, but with Sebastian Kehl suspended and first choice goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller doubtful do they have enough to overturn a three goal deficit?

Real are having injury issues of their own with Cristiano Ronaldo missing the weekend 4-0 demolition of Real Sociedad as he was rested due to a knee injury and that Sociedad game saw Gareth Bale leave the field after taking a knock on his knee. Both are doubtful for this match, although Ronaldo is back in training, and if one or both of these two key players are unable to make the match day squad for this Dortmund v Real match then it will certainly give the hosts a massive boost before a ball has been kicked.

However, despite the injury concerns that Real may have for this match they are still the stronger of the two teams and with them unbeaten in the Champions League this season while Dortmund have suffered losses to Arsenal and Zenit St. Petersburg on home soil, the smart money for this Champions League Quarter Final second leg clash is on the away side. Especially as you can be sure that CR7 will push hard to ensure he is ready for this game to find the net and break Lionel Messi’s Champions League goal record.

Back Real Madrid to beat Borussia Dortmund in this Champions League Quarter Final @ 2.10 with GR88.com.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Dortmund need some magic in Madrid!

Will Dortmund past their Real test?

Dortmund need a superhuman effort to leave the Bernabeu with a result!

A year after losing out to Borussia Dortmund in the semifinals of the Champions League, Real Madrid have been handed the perfect opportunity to take revenge when the two teams get it on at the quarterfinal stage of this year’s competition.

After losing El Clásico and then going down to Seville, Real have lost the initiative in the three-way race to the Primera Division title, and so will all the more keen to give their fans something to cheer about on Wednesday.

Dortmund, who have been erratic to say the least in the Bundesliga this year and only just scraped past Zenit St. Petersburg in the last sixteen of the Champions League, travel to Spain needing to compensate for the massive handicap of losing suspended striker Robert Lewandowski. The Pole, who will be making the Bayer Munich squad even stronger next season, scored all four BVB goals in their 4-1 home thrashing of Real last season and there is little doubt that Carlo Ancelotti will be extremely happy at his absence. Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp could well choose a defensive strategy at the Bernabeu in the knowledge that Lewandowski will be available for the return leg next week. Germany international Marco Reus, who bagged a hattrick at Stuttgart at the weekend, is likely to be the visitors’ main man up front as they hope to catch their hosts on the break.

It is, however, going to need a superhuman effort to leave Spain with anything other than a defeat, but with a full house at their backs in Dortmund, a narrow loss would still give the Germans every chance in the return!

Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund, Odds

Real Madrid                        1.35
Draw                                     5.0
Borussia Dortmund         7.0

Odds provided by www.allyoubet.ag are correct as of today, but subject to change.

chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

Champions League Quarter Final Draw

Can Bayern Munich retain the Champions League following a favourable Quarter Final draw?

Can Bayern Munich retain the Champions League following a favourable Quarter Final draw?

We’re down to eight sides in the Champions League following the completion of the last 16 stage second legs this week that saw an amazing comeback from Manchester United as they lost the first leg in Greece to Olympiakos 2-0 before winning 3-0 at Old Trafford. That was the big story in the last stage, but which matches will make the headlines in the Quarter Finals?

Champions League Quarter Final Draw:

Barcelona v Atlético Madrid: 1.45 – 4.30 – 7.00

Man United v Bayern Munich: 6.20 – 2.54 – 1.92

PSG v Chelsea: 1.98 – 3.10 – 3.85

Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund: 1.34 – 5.00 – 8.80

(All first leg odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

Barcelona v Atlético Madrid:

This match promises to be one of the ties of the round as both sides are separated by just a single point in the Spanish La Primera Liga, with Atlético a point ahead of Barca, and all three meetings between the two have finished level this season. This tie will surely be another close affair, but will Barcelona’s experience at this stage of the Champions League see them through? The betting odds certainly suggest they’ll win this first leg.

Man United v Bayern Munich:

While David Moyes will have been delighted to upset the odds to progress in front of the Old Trafford faithful during the weekend and give themselves a boost with matches against West Ham and Man City coming up, he could not have imagined a worse draw in the Quarter Finals. The European champions are running away with the Bundesliga this season and have already won twice in England this season, seeing off Man City and Arsenal – both of whom are much better sides that United this season – so the value on Bayern to win at Old Trafford is very tempting.

PSG v Chelsea:

The Paris Saint-Germain versus Chelsea tie will be another close match as two of the biggest spending sides remaining in the competition clash at Parc des Princes and Stamford Bridge. It will be their first competitive clash in almost a decade following Chelsea’s 3-0 win in France and then a 0-0 draw in London during the group stages in the 04/05 season. Both sides are in excellent form right now and the match could go either way, but will the goal scoring prowess of Zlatan Ibrahimovic swing it for the French team? Or will Jose Mourinho’s masterful tactical abilities see the Premier League side progress to the Semi Finals?

Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund:

Dortmund got the better of Real last season as they claimed a 4-3 aggregate victory to book their place in the final at Wembley against Bayern Munich, but with them a massive 23 points behind Bayern in the Bundesliga and Real top of the La Primera Liga table this season things may very well be different. Real will certainly be motivated for revenge and with them having the home leg first this time around, coupled with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in ‘fire at will’ mode right now, as shown by two goals each on their last visit to Germany where they defeated Leverkusen 6-1, this could very well be the last stop for Dortmund this season.

Which way will you be betting? I feel that Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are certain to progress to the Semi Finals, while PSG will just edge Chelsea to progress and I believe that away goals will decide the Barcelona v Atlético tie, with Barcelona’s experience just seeing them through.

AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog at GR88.com.

Chelsea should prove too strong for returning Drogba

Chelsea's array of attacking talent, including Eden Hazard, should see them through against Galatasaray

Chelsea’s array of attacking talent, including Eden Hazard, ought to see them through against Galatasaray

Fresh from defeat at the hands of Aston Villa, whose squad is so unrecognisable (Yacouba Sylla? Callum Robinson?) that it sounds like it belongs in the seventh year of a Football Manager save, Chelsea come into their Champions League round of 16 return tie with Galatasaray in need of a convincing performance.

 

The hype around the fixture has centred largely on Didier Drogba’s return to Stamford Bridge. It’s easy to see why, Drogba, summoning the spirit of Diego Maradona circa 1986, having won the Champions League on his own for Chelsea two years ago. But this is no mere testimonial, as Galatasaray look to do to Chelsea what they did to the equally well-fancied Juventus in the final game of Group B.

On the face of it, they have a chance. To qualify from a group featuring Real Madrid and Juve was impressive, even if freak weather was a contributing factor. And their first XI isn’t half bad: Drogba and Wesley Sneijder obviously merit close attention, but Chelsea must also find a way through the impressive midfield axis of Selcuk Inan and Felipe Melo, as well as a way to shackle Drogba’s partner, Burak Yilmaz.

 

Chelsea v Galatasaray Betting Odds

Chelsea win – 1.39

Galatasaray win – 8.60

Draw – 4.50

(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

Galatasaray’s away form, however, is patchy at best: only three times this season have they won away from home, the last coming in December. Oh, and there’s also the Roberto Mancini factor, the scarf-bothering manager yet to guide any of his teams past the Champions League quarter finals.

 

Chelsea, as we know, have no such troubles. As well as a formidable home record, Jose Mourinho is, well, a really, really good manager, and a likely front four of Hazard, Oscar, Willian and Samuel Eto’o should prove too strong for the visitors.

Still, let’s all hope that Mancini can overcome his European yips and Drogba rediscover his magisterial 2012 form, lest Chelsea progress and, perhaps, win the whole thing. For the sight of John Terry—‘Captain, Leader, Legend’—holding the Champions League trophy aloft once more, and this time with Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend fawning over ‘The Special One’ and his ‘fairytale’ homecoming, would be too much for most to take. ‘Welcome’, as Galatasaray fans would say, ‘to Hell.’

 

Moving on, now, to Wednesday. We’ve all had a good laugh at Brendan Rodgers in the few years he’s been at Liverpool, and deservedly so, since anyone who hangs a self-portrait above their living room fireplace is more David Brent than Brent himself. But after the 0-3 dismantling of Manchester United this weekend, few would now deny the Northern Irishman’s managerial acumen. To quote that Latin motto of his, Rodgers, like a weird Buzz Lightyear, is taking Liverpool ‘through adversity, to the stars.’

 

But if the mockery reserved for Rodgers is somewhat cushioned by his on-field success, his adversary on Sunday, David Moyes, has no such fallback. The Liverpool match was the first of three crucial tests, and the first of three potential failures. To come is the Manchester derby, a fixture in which his team were battered 4-1 earlier in the season, and tomorrow, Olympiakos come to Old Trafford.

The reasons for Man United’s decline are many. But even if some of the blame lies with Alex Ferguson, what with the threadbare, aging squad he left behind, or with Ed Woodward and the Glazer family, for not securing or not sanctioning the necessary transfers, it’s becoming clearer by the week that Moyes isn’t the man best placed to arrest it. In fact, he’s only making things worse.

 

To see Manchester United sitting in seventh place in the Premier League, exactly as far from Chelsea in top spot as they are from Hull City in 13th, is one thing. But to see players like Robin van Persie losing game after game and seemingly not caring is something else entirely. #MoyesOut has gone from being a joke thrown around by rival fans to an earnest call from United fans themselves, and, given the season so far, that’s completely understandable.

And yet, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Moyes managed to overturn the two-goal deficit required against the Greek champions. This is partly because they can’t possibly be as bad as they were against Liverpool, and partly because, despite their performance in Athens and their domestic dominance (the title being already wrapped up), Olympiakos are an ordinary side. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see a 3-0 win greeted with more ‘Moyes Turns Corner’ headlines, only for his side to win but a couple of their next half a dozen games and stay hovering just above Southampton.

 

The week’s other two matches, meanwhile, aren’t nearly so interesting, so I won’t bother with more than a sentence on each. Real Madrid v Schalke will be watched by a maximum of twelve people, Real’s 1-6 win in Gelsenkirchen rendering this the biggest dead rubber since my overweight masseur perished last year. And Wednesday’s Dortmund v Zenit matchup is hardly any more enticing, although it’s nice that, even if we haven’t yet managed to Kick Racism Out Of Football altogether, Jurgen Klopp’s team can Kick Racists Out Of The Champions League Knockout Stages. That’s something, at least.

 

Betting Instinct Tip – Manchester United to score three or more goals is 2.82 with GR88.com

 

Kieran avatarKIERAN DODDS (kierandodds) is a history student and writer. He has written about sport, politics and current affairs for the Guardian, the Huffington Post, Africa is a Country, When Saturday Comes, IBWM and others.

Dortmund hope to go one better!

BVB looking for Champions League glory!

After losing last year’s Champions League final, Dortmund have their sights set on the title!

After taking Europe by storm last year to reach the Champions League final at Wembley, Borussia Dortmund have their sights set on going one better as Europe’s premier club competition continues this week.

The domestic title race has long been decided in favour of Bayern Munich and most Dortmund fans would agree that their Bundesliga performances have been erratic at times, but in Europe anything is possible as the Black and Yellows have the quality to beat anyone on their day. Wednesday sees coach Jurgen Klopp’s team a red-hot favourite to progress to the last eight of the Champions League after a stunning 4-2 victory on the road at St. Petersburg three weeks ago. The Germans came out firing on all cylinders in the first-leg encounter, going up by two goals in the first five minutes of the game and never letting their Russian opponents back into it.

Last weekend’s Bundesliga warm-up at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach was anything other than perfect preparation – a 2-1 defeat and yet more problems for Klopp with the referees! – but there seems little doubt that the charismatic coach, who has won fans across the continent over the last two years, will have his team in a perfect state of mind to finish the job on Wednesday.

With the likes of Barca, PSG, Atletico Madrid and, of course, Bayern already through to the quarterfinals, everyone at Dortmund knows it is going to be tough, but last year’s experience, coupled with the quality in the squad, could yet see the black and yellow hordes making their way to Lisbon in May!

Borussia Dortmund vs. Zenit St. Petersburg, Odds

Dortmund                          1.3
Draw                                   5.5
St. Petersburg                   9.0

Dortmund to win the Champions League:             13.0

Odds provided by www.intertops.eu are correct of today, but subject to change.

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.