Ronaldo to star again: Bayern Munich v Real Madrid Champions League Preview

Bayern Munich host Real Madrid in a Champions League Semi Final on Wednesday. Infogol’s Analyst previews the big game, using expected goals (xG) to generate the best bets.

 

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Bayern Munich Expected Goals

Bayern Munich’s route to this stage of the competition has been relatively straightforward, flattered only by a 3-1 win over PSG (xG: BAY 1.9 – 1.8 PSG), but they faced a sterner test in the Quarter Finals, drawing 0-0 with Sevilla at the Allianz after winning the first leg 2-1.

While that was a professional performance which guaranteed their progression to this round (xG: BAY 1.32 – 0.56 SEV), it was also evidence that it is possible to contain Bayern in front of their own fans.

Bayern v Sevilla shot map 

Real Madrid will prove much tougher opposition than recent domestic matches in which the German champions have been freescoring, and Bayern will be well aware that they were punished for playing too expansively when beaten 2-1 by Real Madrid at the Allianz last April.

Robert Lewandowski may be well down the goalscoring charts in the Champions League this season with five to his name (joint 11th and behind the likes of Harry Kane and Neymar whose teams both exited early), however he is actually only second to Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of xG.

Player

Team

xG

Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid

13.22

Robert Lewandowski

Bayern

7.34

Roberto Firmino

Liverpool

7.17

Wissam Ben Yedder

Sevilla

6.39

Romelu Lukaku

Man Utd

5.98

Lewandowski will again be the hosts’ main attacking threat, having scored first against Real at the Bernabeau last season, but he will need to take his chances – should they arise - more clinically than he has done so far in this year’s competition.

Real Madrid Expected Goals

Meanwhile, stopping Cristiano Ronaldo is not an easy thing to do; the Portuguese forward has 24 goals to his name in La Liga (five behind Lionel Messi) this season, but it’s the Champions League where he has come alive, scoring 15 in 10 matches.

He’s no “flat track bully”, though, with six of his goals coming in four games against PSG and Juventus, including the controversial last minute penalty which secured qualification for the Semi Final at the expense of an apoplectic Gianluigi Buffon and his Juventus teammates.

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Two of those goals were the first in the match and, having scored five in total against Bayern when knocking them out in the Quarter Final stage of the competition last year, he knows exactly how to break down the German defence. Back Ronaldo to score first at 7/2.

Ronaldo is the best bet, but Real Madrid have actually failed to score more than one goal in three of their last four matches in all competitions, with their often maligned defence proving a big strength. After keeping clean sheets against Las Palmas and Juventus (first leg), Los Blancos then limited rivals Atletico to just 1.2 xG in a 1-1 draw, and Bilbao 1.15 xG in their most recent outing which ended with the same scoreline.

Conclusion

With so much on the line, and lessons learned from their Quarter Final match-up last year, this match might not be the flowing display of attacking football that is anticipated. There looks to be some value in backing under 2.5 goals, however the best bet of the night is to back Cristiano Ronaldo to shine once again; he can score first at 7/2.

Recommended bet:

Back Cristiano Ronaldo to score first @ 7/2

Back under 2.5 goals @ 7/5

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