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27.4. UCL BETTING PREVIEW: ATLETICO vs BAYERN

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19:45 ATLETICO MADRID - BAYERN MUNCHEN

The second semi-final pairing features two very different teams, and especially two contrasting managers. Hosts of the first leg Atletico Madrid put their faith in defending and hitting their opponents on the break, making no effort to control possession. Pep Guardiola's Bayern on the other hand breathe through possession and short, controlled passing. The contrast of views on how the game should be played is what makes this pairing so interesting.

Atletico have had to fight their way to get this far. In the round of 16, they defeated PSV on penalties, as the tie went 210 minutes without a single goal. Their reward for progression was a quarter-final tie against last year's champions Barcelona. Although they lost the first leg 2-1 at the Camp Nou, they put in a steely and effective performance at home and progressed 3-2.

Bayern on the other hand got probably the worst opponents they could in the round of 16, as they were drawn against Italian giants Juventus. The Old Lady gave the Bavarians a torrid time, but eventually Bayern clawed themselves back into the tie and a late goal in the second leg forced extra-time, where the Germans managed to steal victory. In the quarter-finals they beat Benfica 3-2 over two legs.

Due to being favourites in nearly all their matches in the Champions League this season, Bayern are used to facing opponent's only interested in parking the bus. However, they haven't yet faced a defence of Atletico's calibre. Led by top goalkeeper Jan Oblak, Atleti have kept a clean sheet in 13 matches out of their last 15 in the Champions League, an incredible statistic! The Spaniards will fight for every ball for the whole 90 minutes, making Bayern's players feel more uncomfortable than they've been all season. Atletico's goal difference from their last five games is a very respectable 10-1, and their brilliant form has led them back into the La Liga title race, where they are on equal points with league leaders Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Bayern have gained a seven-point advantage on their nearest rivals Dortmund with three games left to play. In domestic competitions Bayern are on a six-game winning streak, but despite being in the semi-finals of the CL, their performances have still left some questions about their consistency. When playing at their best, Guardiola's side might well be the best team in Europe, but so far they haven't been able to show it in the Champions League. Bayern had problems against both Juve and Benfica, and now they face if not the most skillful opponents, definitely the toughest they've come up against this season.

In terms of injuries the biggest news ahead of the first leg is the absence of Atletico centre-back Diego Godin, who has a hamstring problem. Their other first-choice CB Jose Gimenez has luckily made a full recovery just in time, but he does have some big boots to fill tonight. The Spaniards will also be without Tiago, who is still recovering from a broken leg. Bayern will be without Holger Badstuber and Arjen Robben, while Jerome Boateng and Sebastian are doubtful.

The German side are favourites to qualify from a statistical standpoint, but Atletico have shown that they have what it takes to cause an upset against skillfully superior sides. If they play as well as they did against Barca and avoid red cards, they have a great shot at claiming a spot in the final at San Siro. The big question for Bayern is whether they can break the Spaniards defensive wall down without being too exposed on the break. This tie looks like it won't feature a lot of goals, so both sides ability to finish off the few chances they get will probably decide who progresses to the final.

Atletico's last five matches:

23.4.2016 Atletico - Malaga 1-0

20.4.2016 Ath. Bilbao - Atletico 0-1

17.4.2016 Atletico - Granada 3-0

13.4.2016 Atletico - Barcelona 2-0

9.4.2016 Espanyol - Atletico 1-3

Bayern's last five matches:

23.4.2016 Hertha - Bayern 0-2

19.4.2016 Bayern - Bremen 2-0

16.4.2016 Bayern - Schalke 3-0

13.4.2016 Benfica - Bayern 2-2

9.4.2016 Stuttgart - Bayern 1-3

BETTING TIPS:

Bayern have relied on their Allianz Arena fortress in the Champions League for many years, meaning that they'll most likely be content with a draw tonight, especially if they manage to grab that crucial away goal. Atletico on the other hand will do everything they can to keep a clean sheet, so a defence-minded match from them can be expected. Bayern will control possession, while Atleti will try and strike their opponents with pacy counter-attacks.

Home advantage makes up for Bayern's slight edge in terms of quality, so a tight-fought match can be expected. The best idea in terms of betting tonight is a small bet on a draw, with Expekt's risk-free bet being a great opportunity to do just that!

** 1x2: X 21/10 Expekt

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