The Champions League is one of the most popular tournaments in sports globally. The tournament is in the middle of the Round of 16 and the first leg has caused a shift in which team is considered the favorite. Going into the tournament, Barcelona was considered the favorite, however after the first leg the projected winners may be seeing an early exit. When these shifts take place, you also see fluctuation in the odds for betting on soccer games legally.
BARCELONA VS PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
Barcelona were pitted against Paris Saint-Germain in the Round of 16 and were beaten 0-4. PSG were clearly the dominant team, even though Barcelona had more possession. PSG owned the midfield throughout the match, exposing gaps left in the midfield by a seemingly absent Barcelona team. Lionel Messi barely made an impact until late in the second half; the same can be said for Luis Suarez. Neymar was the only one of the powerful offensive trio to remain productive throughout the game. Meanwhile, PSG’s midfield force of Adrien Rabiot, Blaise Matuidi, Marco Verratti, Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler commanded the space and had Barcelona under constant pressure. Barcelona’s lackluster performance dug them into quite the hole for their return to Camp Nou four goals down. They will have home field advantage, but they’re going to have to make some tactical changes if they want to make it through.
BAYERN MUNICH VS ARSENAL
While PSG silenced Barcelona in Paris, Bayern Munich completely dismantled Arsenal in Munich and emerged as another strong title favorite. Arsenal seemed like they were capable of keeping up with the Bundisliga leaders, but any notions of that were quickly dismissed as Bayern Munich’s pace was too much to keep up with. Bayern winger Arjen Robben scored a trademark goal from outside the box to start things off. Arsenal equalized through Alexis Sanchez’s rebound off a missed penalty. That only seemed to wake the sleeping giant, as the rest of the game was all Bayern. Striker Robert Lewandowski scored a textbook header followed by a brace from midfielder Thiago Alcantara. Thomas Muller finished off the scoring after coming on as a late substitute. Arsenal managed an away goal, but it’s doubtful they’ll be able to manage Bayern Munich’s offense in the second leg.
Bayern Munich and PSG both displayed performances you’d expect from Champions League winners. Analysts are now predicting one of these two teams to win, as Barcelona is unlikely to advance. Reigning champions Real Madrid won their first leg, but no team in history has won the tournament two years in a row. Atletico Madrid are also a strong team, and they faced Real Madrid in last year’s final, but their performance wasn’t anywhere near the quality of the ones displayed by PSG and Bayern Munich.
Bayern Munich and Arsenal play each other again on Tuesday, March 7. Barcelona and PSG play their second leg on Wednesday, March 8. The next round will have a huge impact on the outcome on the tournament. Some analysts may predict a final between PSG and Bayern Munich, but if the two of them get matched up before the final then that obviously can’t happen. The Round of 16 brought a lot of goals and changed the odds on who is most likely to win, so it’ll be interesting to see what the second leg brings.