The UEFA Champions League has reached crunch time. Eight teams remain, all with eyes on the biggest prize in European football, and the legendary status that accompanies it. Let's take a look at the bitcoin betting odds for the first leg of the UCL Quarter-Final.
The Quarter-Final draw certainly created a fair share of enticing and mouth-watering match-ups, and whilst some teams will be seen as heavy favourites to overcome their respective opponents, the Champions League has a knack of throwing up plenty of shocks and surprises.
Here’s our preview of all four of next week’s matches:
Tottenham Hotspur vs Man City
Premier League rivals Spurs and Man City had to overcome German opposition in the last-16 in order to advance, and both did so in comfortable fashion.
It was of no surprise to many to see competition favourites City make extremely light work out of Schalke (winning 10-2 on aggregate), but there were some eyebrows raised when Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham side saw off Dortmund over two legs.
If domestic league form is to be taken into consideration then Pep Guardiola’s side will be fancied to steamroll their English counterparts. Unfathomably, City are showing signs of getting even stronger as the season reaches the closing stages, whilst frequent injury problems to Spurs’ small squad seems to have taken its toll on the North London side in recent weeks.
To make matters worse for Tottenham, City have twice recorded their biggest European victory in this season's UEFA Champions League, beating Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0 in Manchester on matchday four before the 7-0 defeat of Schalke last time out.
Although it may seem all doom and gloom for Spurs, their move to a new state-of-the-art stadium, will give them a much needed lift, and the atmosphere will certainly play a part, in what is set to be a fascinating encounter.
Spurs themselves are not goalshy, and in Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son, Dele Alli, and Christian Eriksen, they posses a quartet admired by most of Europe’s elite clubs.
City will end up progressing over two legs but not before an entertaining and hotly contested goalfest in North London.
Back over 3 total goals at 2.04
Liverpool vs FC Porto
In a repeat of last season’s round of 16 tie, Premier League title challengers Liverpool face Portugese Primeira title challengers FC Porto.
The Merseyside club made light work out of Porto last season, winning 5-0 on aggregate
enroute to their Champions League final appearance in May.
Like Premier League rivals Man City and Spurs, Jurgen Klopp’s side brushed aside German opposition in highly impressive fashion, overcoming Bayern Munich 3-1 over two legs.
Liverpool have been imperious at home this season, both domestically and in European competition, having only suffered one defeat at Anfield all season - a Carabao Cup defeat to Chelsea in September being the only blemish on an otherwise impressive campaign.
FC Porto have been resolute on their travels so far in the competition. A last-16 first-leg loss to Roma, is the only away defeat Sérgio Conceição’s side have suffered in the tournament this season, and the former Portugese winger will be hoping to be the first coach since fellow countryman Jose Mourinho to guide Porto to a Champions League Semi-final.
Twelve months ago, a Sadio Mané hat-trick at the Estádio do Dragão helped Liverpool to a 5-0 first-leg victory, and with the Senegalese forward in breathtaking form there could be every chance of the 26-year-old getting on the scoresheet against Porto once more.
Mane, has notched three goals in the competition to go along with his 17 league goals, and will fancy his chances of guiding Liverpool to a comfortable first-leg victory.
Back Liverpool over 2 goals at 1.67
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Manchester United vs Barcelona
Manchester United, under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer channeled a spirit reminiscent of the Norweign’s playing days at Old Trafford to overturn a last-16 first-leg deficit against PSG to triumph in Paris, thanks to a late Marcus Rashford penalty.
The Red Devils have already played Spanish opposition in this season’s competition, following a goalless draw at home to Valencia on matchday two with a 2-1 loss at the Mestalla in their final group game.
Those results however, were under the stewardship of the more pragmatic figure of Jose Mourinho.
Solskjaer’s arrival has brought a change of attitude and approach by United, and with the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, and Romelu Lukaku in their ranks the English side will be confident they can penetrate a Barcelona back-line which has had its fair share of struggles in recent months.
There’s only one small problem. Standing in their way is an utter phenomenon. Lionel Messi.
The Argentinian superstar’s performances this season have at times defied logic, comprehension and even gravity itself.
Messi is unsurprisingly leading the way in Spain, leading the La Liga scoring charts with 32 goals; he has 25 in his last 21 games for Barcelona and 13 in his last 11.
If that wasn’t daunting enough for United fans, the thought of the 31-year-old flanked by Luis Suarez and Arthur Melo up against a United defence consisting of Chris Smalling and Ashley Young is enough to make their stomachs turn.
The Old Trafford crowd will encourage their players to take the game to Barca but bank on Leo Messi to turn the Theatre of Dreams into the stuff of nightmares for the United faithful.
Back Barcelona to win at 2.03
Ajax v Juventus
If there was one result to sum up the unpredictable nature of the Champions League, it would be Ajax’s stunning victory at the Bernabeu last month.
The Eredivisie side shocked the football world in Spain, displaying a new brand of ‘total football’ which was used to great effect to knock out holders Real Madrid.
Whilst Ajax may have convincingly beaten a new-look Madrid side, it’s the old guard which they’ll be most wary of, in the form of a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.
Real’s all-time record goalscorer swapped Spain for Italy, with the aim of delivering the Champions League trophy from Madrid to Turin.
The Portuguese captain’s hat-trick heroics against former Madrid rivals Atletico ensured that the objective is still in sight, and the 34-year-old has previous against his upcoming opponents.
Ronaldo has scored seven Champions League goals against Ajax - only against Bayern Munich (9) and current side Juventus (10) has he scored more often.
Ajax have more than enough quality going forward to carry attacking threats of their own in the form of Dusan Tadic and Hakin Ziyech but the duo will need to be at their brilliant best to get the better of an experienced Juventus rearguard.
Whilst Juve don’t tend to concede too many chances, Ajax do. For all their creative brilliance against Real Madrid, the amount of opportunities conceded to their opposition in the Spanish capital was evident and whilst Real without Crisitano Ronaldo couldn’t take their opportunities, Juventus with Cristiano Ronaldo will take theirs.
Back Juventus over 1.5 total goals at 2.20