Champions League betting tips: It’s make or break in Europe’s elite club competition as Real Madrid defend their slender lead over Ajax and Dortmund look to make up a three-goal deficit against Tottenham.
Real Madrid vs Ajax
Real Madrid were fortunate 2-1 winners in the first-leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, with Ajax dominating the number of chances created. The Dutch side had the ball in the back of the net for the opener only for it to be disallowed through VAR and had a golden Kasper Dolberg chance denied at the death thanks to a superb Thibaut Courtois save – moments after Marco Asensio dealt a sucker punch with an 87th-minute winner.
Santiago Solari’s men travelled to Holland in arguably their best run of form, with just one defeat in 10 games prior (W8 D1).
But they have lost three of their four games since – all coming at the Bernabeu. Two of those home games were against El Clasico rivals Barcelona in which they failed to find the back of the net – and now the fans have started to turn, especially with Gareth Bale who they booed off.
It’s been a completely different story for Ajax, who have won three games on the bounce since their last meeting with Real Madrid – scoring 13 goals and shipping just one in that period. Former Southampton playmaker Dusan Tadic has been key for Ajax in recent weeks and will be looking to continue his goalscoring form of 12 in his last 14 outings.
I have no doubt Ajax have the quality to break down Real’s leaky backline – which has kept one clean sheet in 11 and will be without the suspended Sergio Ramos this time round – and I reckon Erik ten Hag’s side can cause an upset in Madrid.
Borussia Dortmund vs Tottenham
Borussia Dortmund are in danger of undoing their brilliant first-half of the season. At the turn of the year, Dortmund were nine points clear at the top of the Bundesliga with just two defeats in 26 games across all competitions, now they’ve won just one game in seven attempts.
That terrible run has allowed Bayern Munich to draw level with them at the top, knocked out of the German Cup and also includes a 3-0 hammering away to Tottenham that has them on the brink of Champions League elimination.
After an impressive first-half at Wembley, defensive naivety cost the German outfit in the second-half with three goals coming from two preventable crosses and a corner.
But it’ll be the attack that manager Lucien Favre will be most concerned with at the Westfalenstadion this evening as they look to overturn a three-goal deficit. The Dortmund boss will need the likes of Marco Reus, Jadon Sancho and Paco Alcacer – who have contributed to 40 goals between them this season – on top form if they are to keep their slim Champions League hopes alive.
They can take some encouragement in the fact their opponents are also in a tough patch of form, with Tottenham winless in three games since their win Dortmund. Spurs somehow lost 2-1 to Burnley and followed it up with a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea, a game where they were all over the place defensively. It could have been three straight losses but for a stoppage-time penalty save from Hugo Lloris against Arsenal to salvage a point.
For all the brilliant football we’ve come to enjoy at Tottenham under Mauricio Pochettino, the north London club have earned the title of chief bottle jobs in recent years. They’re out of the FA Cup and all-but out of the Premier League title race, so the Champions League remains their only hope of silverware this season – but I wouldn’t put it past them to let this aggregate lead slide.
They may not make it to the quarter-finals, but I’m backing the hosts to win this one. Borussia Dortmund to beat Tottenham after 90 minutes can be backed at 111/100 with Novibet.