EMMET RYAN ON THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMI’S: Bayern are on the brink while Juventus could pull of a big shock. It’s time to pick some winners.

Wednesday night’s clash between Real Madrid and Juventus in the Bernabeu promises to be an absolute classic. Juventus were like an old slugger in the first leg. They took their licks from Real but kept on throwing bombs and eventually came out of it with the win. Juve didn’t escape entirely unscathed. While Juventus hold a 2-1 lead, that away goal means Real need to score just once on Wednesday night.

That, of course, is assuming Juventus don’t find the net in Madrid and we know they have the attacking talent to get the job done. That’s why I’m avoiding the outright here. Real should do enough to progress but there is far greater value in ignoring the straight win/loss debate and look for the best way to profit from Los Blancos. If you really think Real are going to progress then go on the money there. A simple Real win is 1.69, backing the home side to qualify is 1.77. The difference may look marginal but it’s a no brainer for me. Bet on Real Madrid to qualify at 1.77.

It’s mission impossible for Pep Guardiola against Barcelona tonight. Bayern Munich are in a big hole and they need a miracle to pull off one of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history. The only comparable game is Deportivo’s incredible comeback against Milan over a decade ago and this Barca side is too smart to fall to a stunning hammering on the road. The market seems determined to back the draw but I don’t think Lionel Messi is finished teaching Bayern a lesson yet. Remember, Barca are only a couple of years removed from an awful drubbing at Bayern’s hands over both legs at this stage. Payback hurts. Bet on Barcelona at 2.68 to win tonight.

Finally we come to the Europa League where Napoli travel to Ukraine in dire need of a goal. Rafa Benitez’s side drew 1-1 at home to Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the first leg and only a goal will keep them in contention to make the final. Winning this competition is the only way Napoli get into next season’s Champions League and that should prove enough motivation for the talented Naples club to find a way to win. It won’t be pretty but bet on Napoli at 1.97 to win.

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