Craig Moore’s Champions League Preview: Juventus v Barcelona, Dortmund v Monaco, Atletico Madrid v Leicester City, Bayern Munich v Real Madrid


Juventus v Barcelona | Wednesday, April 12, 4.45am (AEDT), Juventus Stadium

Juventus have kept six clean sheets in the Champions League because their discipline and structure is so good and they limit opportunities to their opponent.

They completely frustrate teams and starting from Buffon, there’s such presence in the way they defend.

I expected Barcelona to pull a rabbit out of the hat last time, but this presents a far different challenge.

If they were to lose and by a few goals here, they would not pull that back against this Juventus team.

KEY BATTLE: Gianluigi Buffon v Neymar

I have gone with the keeper-striker duel because I don’t think Buffon (pictured above) will be worked hugely, but he’ll be tested and need to concentrate.

Although Neymar will be a threat, Buffon can win this duel.

The Verdict

Juventus will be too strong, in which the real fireworks will be seen in the second leg.

A structured, disciplined performance from Juventus will put them in the driver’s seat for a semi.

Unibet Odds: Juventus 2.60 Draw 3.25 Barcelona 2.80

Tip: Juventus 

Correct score: Juventus 2-0

Borussia Dortmund v AC Monaco | Wednesday, April 12, 4.45am (AEDT), Signal Iduna Park

Dortmund have lost just one match out of nine against French teams but records are there to be broken.

Can Monaco do enough in the first leg to make this a real possibility? I think they can, but Dortmund have been in sweet form of late. 

One of the most impressive things about Monaco has been their ability to score goals. 

They’re a team who score regularly which asks questions of any opponent.

KEY BATTLE: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang v Radamel Falcao 

Two goal scorers who have been tearing up the matches they play in and scoring consistently.

I’ll stick with the home striker because the chances are more likely to fall to him. Aubameyang to come out on top.

The Verdict

The Germans will be too good at home but Monaco can keep their foot in the door and keep this tie wide open.

Unibet Odds: Borussia Dortmund 1.68 Draw 4.00 Monaco 4.75

Tip: Borussia Dortmund 

Correct score: Borussia Dortmund 2-1

Atletico Madrid v Leicester City | Thursday, April 13, 4.45am (AEDT), Vicente Calderon Stadium

Atletico Madrid have a hunger to compete and any team that doesn't know how to battle are on a hiding to nothing. They're intense and such a strong team.

Leicester will need to be good defensively and match the fight.

They’ll be under pressure and the important part of the game will be how they come through that push.

If they don’t concede and stay in it, they’ll have a good chance to be in the game.

KEY BATTLE: Griezmann v Jamie Vardy

The time of the tournament and the players that make a difference are normally strikers.

Even if they don’t, they’ll tell you that they are. Griezmann is in the right form to score or assist and win this battle.

The Verdict

Atletico will be too strong, start well and get the goals at the right time that will put them in a good position for progressing through this tie.

Unibet Odds: Atletico Madrid 1.30 Draw 5.20 Leicester City 12.00

Tip: Atletico Madrid 

Correct score: Atletico Madrid 2-0

Bayern Munich v Real Madrid | Thursday, April 13, 4.45am (AEDT), Allianz Arena

Two great clubs with such a rich history that have been on the top for so many years and had so many great players play for their clubs.

People know all about these clubs and love to watch them play because of the way they play, and the players they have.

It should be a great game and I’m really looking forward to it.

Lewandowski (pictured above) has been the man that it normally ends up with.

The team play so well and create so many opportunities though, it’s hard to do anything but score. 

The winning mentality at this football club is what makes them so great and so hard to beat. Especially at home.

Real Madrid will be smart in their play. They’ll know they’ll need to defend for decent periods but they know the odd chance will come. 

They must take this chance or at least keep Bayern occupied enough to keep the game in the balance.

They’ll be searching for an away goal here, that’s for sure.

KEY BATTLE: Robert Lewandowski v Cristiano Ronaldo

We all know the quality of these two players, so I don't need to go into any real detail.

Lewandowski comes out on top in this one but could be completely different story on return to Madrid.

The Verdict

Bayern will win this game, but I don’t see that much in it.

This level is so tight and teams are so well structured and organized and home advantage is sometimes the only difference.

For that reason, I’ll go with the home team, so Bayern victory.

Unibet Odds: Bayern Munich 1.75 Draw 3.80 Real Madrid 4.50

Tip: Bayern Munich 

Correct score: Bayern Munich 1-0

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