We're down to the final four teams in the UEFA Champions League, including reigning champs Bayern Munich, nine-time winners Real Madrid, 2012 champions Chelsea and this season’s surprise club, Atletico Madrid.
It’s Champions League semifinal week, and after Chelsea and Atletico Madrid played to a scoreless draw on Tuesday, Bayern and Real square off Wednesday. After finding six winners from eight picks in the quarterfinals, here’s my take on the fixture Wednesday.
Real Madrid (home) vs. Bayern Munich
Asian handicap: Real Madrid -0.25 (+110) vs. Bayern Munich +0.25 (-118)
3-way line: Real Madrid +145 / Bayern Munich +200 / Draw +260
PickCenter public consensus money line pick: 73 percent Real Madrid
Total: 2.75 (Over +100, Under -105)
There are plenty of reasons to support Bayern Munich to win or draw in Madrid on Wednesday night and then go on to reach the final. The historic stats are on their side: The Germans have won four of six semifinal head-to-heads and three of the last four knockout ties against Real in this competition; Bayern manager Pep Guardiola has a fabulous 9-2-4 record against Los Merengues from his time as manager of Barcelona; and of course, as holders, Bayern are still recognised as Europe’s foremost side.
Yet Bayern’s unconvincing performance for three-quarters of their quarterfinal against an ordinary Manchester United side raises questions about the Bundesliga champions. Their patient, probing style has sometimes lacked a penetrative edge, and while they may fashion...