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Manchester City are once again the favorites to win the Champions League this year
Bayern Munich are ranked second by the sportsbooks ahead of the quarter-finals
We should expect a hugely entertaining encounter at the Eithad Stadium on Tuesday
The odds for Manchester City vs Bayern Munich are from the DraftKings sportsbook, where punters will receive a deposit bonus up to $1000.
It is hard to see this being a low-scoring game, and we fancy home advantage to swing the first leg in City’s favor.
Back Manchester City to beat Bayern Munich and over 2.5 goals. (+150)
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Over the last few seasons, Manchester City have invariably been the favorites to win the Champions League. The Premier League title winners in four of the last five campaigns have one of the strongest squads on the continent. Their manager, Pep Guardiola, is widely regarded as one of the best of all time.
Yet despite having so many factors in their favor, City have continually fallen short. In 2019 they lost to Tottenham Hotspur, a team whom they finished a full 27 points above in the Premier League, in the quarter-finals.
The following season brought a shock defeat by Lyon at the same stage, before City reached their first final in 2021 - only to lose to Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea. Last time around they looked destined to reach another final, but a stunning late comeback from Real Madrid in the semis knocked City out in dramatic fashion.
Will this season be different? One charge against Guardiola is that he often overthinks his team selection and tactics in Champions League knockout ties. Rather than selecting his best XI and backing them to emerge victorious, the tinkering Spaniard has seen several of his tweaks backfire.
Guardiola is unlikely to fall into the same trap this term. City are in fantastic form as they chase down Arsenal in the Premier League title race. And in Erling Haaland they have a generational goal scorer whose uncanny ability to put the ball in the back of the net can get his team out of any hole.
But City will have to do things the hard way. Even if they get past Bayern Munich, they will probably have to overcome Real Madrid in the semi-final. But the Champions League is not supposed to be easy, and City will no doubt relish the challenge.
As we mentioned above, Tuchel was the head coach who guided Chelsea to Champions League glory - at the expense of Manchester City - in 2021. The German had only been appointed a few months prior, yet he achieved what had looked like a pipe dream back in January of that year.
That accomplishment no doubt played a part in Bayern Munich’s decision to fire Julian Nagelsmann and hire Tuchel. The move came as a surprise when it was made last month, given that Naglesmann had seemed like a long-term manager at the Allianz Arena.
A job as big as that may have come too soon for the 35-year-old, though, and his replacement has considerable pedigree in the Champions League (he was also a finalist in 2020 when Tuchel’s Paris Saint-Germain were beaten by Bayern).
Tuchel has not had everything his own way so far in Munich, with the reigning German champions knocked out of the DFB-Pokal by Freiburg last week. But two wins from two in the Bundesliga, including a 4-2 triumph over Borussia Dortmund, has put Bayern in pole position to win the title.
That would be an 11th consecutive championship, which is why the priority for the biggest club in Germany is European competition.
Bayern stormed through the group phase, winning six games out of six against Inter, Barcelona and Viktoria Plzen, before a comfortable 3-0 aggregate victory over PSG. Needless to say, though, this is their biggest test of the season so far.
If you have got any plans for Tuesday afternoon, try your best to cancel them. This has the potential to be one of the best games of the soccer season anywhere in the world. You will not want to miss it.
One reason for that is the quality of the attacking players on show. City will likely field a starting XI featuring Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Ilkay Gundogan, and Riyad Mahrez. Bayern’s team will probably contain Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane, Sadio Mane, and Jamal Musiala.
Another reason is the talent in the dugouts and the mindsets of the men who occupy it. Tuchel will not go to the Eithad Stadium with the mere intention of shutting up shop. Bayern will commit bodies to attack and take risks in search of a first-leg victory.
On balance, though, we fancy City to edge out the visitors this week. That does not necessarily mean we are backing them to advance to the semi-finals, but Guardiola’s side are formidable at the Etihad and home advantage should help them.
Back Manchester City to beat Bayern Munich and over 2.5 goals in what looks set to be a hugely entertaining match.
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Teams: Manchester City vs Bayern Munich
Location: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
Date and Time: Apr. 11 , 2023, 3 p.m. ET
How to Watch: Paramount+
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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