Manchester City and Real Madrid tied, 1-1, and entered the second leg of the Champions League semi-finals.
Quite simply, whoever wins Wednesday’s match – no matter how long it takes – at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, will advance to the final in Istanbul.
And while the actual stakes are exactly the same – winner advances, loser eliminated – there is no doubt which team has more pressure on it this week.
Manchester City has been the best team in the world for a decade now.
City are on their way to another Premier League title – their third in a row and fifth in the past six seasons – and they’ve won five more major trophies in that spell, but one piece of equipment still eludes Pep Guardiola and Citizens: the Champions League.
Real Madrid selection against Manchester City
Meanwhile, Real Madrid are experts at winning this tournament.
Not only did Real Madrid win the Champions League against the odds last season by upsetting Liverpool in the final, Los Blancos have won it more than any other club in Europe, including five times since 2013-14.
Madrid have reached the semi-finals 11 of the last 13 iterations of this competition.
Despite this success and the heaps of pressure on Citizens, the betting market appears quite confident in the Premier League title holders in this match.
The city is currently -175 on the 90-minute money line and -355 for progression.
While those numbers may sound blistering (and I think they are), it’s hard to argue against the hype City is having at the moment.
Not only have Man City started to run away with the Premier League title, but they are also on a 22-match unbeaten streak (18 wins, 4 draws) across all competitions and they haven’t allowed more than one goal in a game in a while. 4-2 win over Tottenham on January 19th – 25-game period.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, have won only three of their last six matches in total, but they are in a very different position than City.
While the Sky Blues have been battling Arsenal for supremacy in the Premier League, Real Madrid don’t have much at stake in La Liga since Barcelona ran away with the title.
Real Madrid’s pedestrian form is nothing to worry about.
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Their focus is on the Champions League and Ancelotti has been adept at preparing his teams for the knockout matches.
Real Madrid showed they were comfortable playing against City in the first leg, and although they are on the road in the second leg, they should be well equipped to hang out against Guardiola’s side.
City love to get the ball and pass their way into the scoring positions, but this style suits Real Madrid, who are dynamite in the counter-attack and have players like Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema.
This match will not scare Real Madrid and the figure is definitely worth it.
Real Madrid vs Manchester City predictions
Real Madrid +420 (BetRivers)