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Back Villareal or tie in the double chance market in the Caesars sportsbook.
Bayern Munich will probably prove too strong over two legs, but they could be frustrated by the Yellow Submarine on Wednesday.
To find out more about how to bet on soccer, have a read of our guide.
Of the four favorites to win the Champions League, three are from the Premier League: Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea. Bayern Munich, the German champions, are sandwiched between Liverpool and Chelsea as the third overall favorites to lift the trophy on May 28. The bookmakers reckon that if there is to be a non-Premier League winner, it will probably be Julian Nagelsmann’s side.
That feels about right. Bayern have played some spectacular soccer this season.
They were sensational in the group stage, amassing 18 points out of a possible 18 (despite being drawn in a tough section alongside Benfica, Barcelona, and Dynamo Kyiv), scoring 22 goals and conceding only three. Bayern has improved since last year and are on course to become the first team to win the Bundesliga title for a 10th season in a row.
Yet in the last few weeks, Bayern have shown a few signs of vulnerability. In the Bundesliga they lost to Bochum and drew with Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim. In the Champions League they needed a late Kingsley Coman goal to rescue a draw in the first leg of the round of 16 against Red Bull Salzburg. Their new three-man defense could be vulnerable against strong opposition, particularly if Nagelsmann persists with Coman and Serge Gnabry as ultra-attacking wing-backs.
A more positive interpretation would focus on what that formation allows Bayern to do to other teams. In the second leg against Salzburg, a team that managed to fit Coman, Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane and Robert Lewandowski into the same starting XI blew the Austrian champions away in a 7-1 victory. Nagelsmann will hope the benefits of the system outweigh the potential drawbacks as we enter the business end of the Champions League.
Caesars rate Villarreal as the clear underdogs in this one, with a price of +500 available on the Spanish side to advance to the semi-finals at Bayern’s expense.
It will indeed be difficult for Villarreal to get the better of Bayern over 180 minutes of soccer, but that does not mean they are not capable of causing Nagelsmann’s men problems.
They certainly did to Juventus in the last round. Granted, the Italian giants are not in Bayern’s league at the moment – they might only finish fourth in Serie A this season and have now lost in the last 16 of the Champions League three years on the bounce. Even so, Villarreal deserve great credit for their performance over two legs.
Unai Emery’s side fell behind within seconds of kick-off in the first leg, but they did not panic. Juventus shot themselves in the foot by sinking too deep, too early, but Villarreal showed patience and poise to play their way back into the match.
In the return fixture, goals from Gerard Moreno, Pau Torres, and Arnaut Danjuma gave them a 3-0 victory. All three goals came in the final 12 minutes, but before that Villarreal played with discipline and organization – just as Emery teams often do.
This is the first time Villarreal have reached the last eight of this competition since 2008/09, when they lost to Arsenal. The Yellow Submarine will be determined to prove they are not here just to make up the numbers.
Bayern Munich should not expect an easy match at the Estadio de la Ceramica, where Villarreal will almost certainly need to win to stand a chance of going through.
A victory is likely be beyond them, just as it was when Red Bull Salzburg hosted Bayern last month, but Villarreal could replicate the Austrian outfit by holding Lewandowski and co. to a draw on home turf.
Emery’s side have not lost any of their last nine home games in all competitions, despite visits from Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid in that time. Only Madrid and Sevilla have lost fewer games on their own patch in La Liga, while Villarreal have score more home goals than any other team in the Spanish top flight this term.
That might come as a surprise given the perception of Emery as a defensive coach, but such a statistic pushes back against that simplistic description of the former Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain head coach.
Bayern will need to get the balance right between attack and defense if they are to emerge triumphant on Wednesday. They will probably dominate possession but will have to be wary of Villarreal’s quick breaks forward.
All things considered, we would go for Villarreal or draw in the double chance market.
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|Villarreal vs Bayern Munich Information|
|Teams||Villarreal vs Bayern Munich|
|Location||Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal, Spain|
|Time||Wednesday, 6 April 2022, 03.00 PM EDT|
|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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