UEFA Champions League Picks: FC Porto vs. Bayern Munich

Kevin Stott

Monday, April 6, 2015 2:43 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 6, 2015 2:43 PM UTC

Clubs from the Portuguese Primeira Liga are often overlooked in Europe, but FC Porto—ranked #9 by UEFA—can hang with anyone and should give mighty Bayern Munich fits in this opening leg next Wednesday in Porto. But is Porto worth a pick, or is it a better idea here to back the Bavarians at the short odds?

Odds Overview
FC Porto vs. Bayern Munich, Wednesday (April 15)19:45 [20:45 CET, Local] (Fox Sports 2 USA, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Soccer 2Go, Fox Sports GO, ESPN Deportes (US);Sky Sports 1/HD, Sky Sports 5/HD, Sky Go, Sky Go Extra (UK); 2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT): Estádio do Dragão in Porto, Portugal is the site of this UEFA Champions League quarterfinals round Leg 1 meeting between host FC Porto and visitors Bayern Munich scheduled to be played a little more than a week from now (Wednesday, April 15) in a match probably more important for the Portuguese hosts and one which could potentially end up being tricky for the defending Fußball-Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.
Odds makers have made 2013 UEFA Champions League titlists Bayern Munich -150 favorites (bet365) in the Three-Way (Winner) marketplace in this fixture with hosts Porto set as +400 underdogs and the Draw priced at +270. The Total Goals in this match has been set at 2½ Under -117 (Over -105; bet365) while the Both Teams To Score Prop odds see the Yes and No both priced at -120 (bet365).

Some various Props bets from the Oddschecker screen for this contest: Correct Score: Bayern Munich 2-0 +750 (BetVictor); Asian Handicap: Bayern Munich -0.75 -105, Bayern Munich -1 +125 (bet365; Will There Be A Bayern Munich Clean Sheet?: No -175, Yes +125 (Betfair); Draw No Bet: Bayern Munich -350, FC Porto +250; and, To Qualify odds: Bayern Munich -350, FC Porto +250 (Sky Bet), down considerably from Champions League odds of -700 (bet365) the Bavarians had over the Dragões (Dragons) ‘To Qualify’ shortly after the Draw was announced and the opening soccer odds released for this match as well as this series. Still, it should be an uphill climb for the Primeira Liga side in this Leg 1, despite the advantageous site.


FC Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich (21-4-2, 71 GF-13 GA in Fußball-Bundesliga) is now looking beyond winning—yawn—yet another German top flight league championship, so now manager Pep Guardiola and the Bavarians can focus on possibly snatching up a German Cup (DFB-Pokal) and this UEFA Champions League crown for the second time in the last three years. Teams like Bayern need to consume multiple trophies per calendar year to feed their ravenous Hunger For The Silver. And teams that bring those trophies home with them on the airplane ride are usually ones that play excellent defense. And mighty Bayern München does just that, energized by the play of the world’s best GK—Manuel Neuer—and the number of Clean Sheets this Mercedes-Benz of a team registers often goes overlooked because they are often overlooked playing in Germany, and the general, ongoing narrative for this club is that ‘Bayern just keeps winning.’ Yea, Bayern just keeps winning because they play excellent defense, usually dominate the Time of Possession and have a solid Back Four in front of Neuer with players like Jérôme Boateng, Dante, Mehdi Benatia, Holger Badstuber, David Alaba (injured), Rafinha and Juan Bernat there for Guardiola to choose from. This is how team’s win silverware, with depth in their (usual) back fours and a world-class goalkeeper.

To get here to these UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, 2013 tournament champions Bayern Munich (UEFA CL Form: WWWWLWDW) eliminated Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk in the Round of 16, winning 7-0 on aggregate after a 7-0 romp in Leg 2 at Allianz Arena in Munich. So, a 0-0 shutout in Ukraine and a 7-0 shutout at Home in Deutschland. And on Saturday in Bundesliga play at Dortmund against heavies Borussia Dortmund, Bayern GK Neuer made a wonderful save on a shot from Dortmund’s Marco Reus to preserve the win and yet another clean sheet for the visitors from Munich, who got the game’s only goal on a tally from former Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski (14 goals, Bundesliga). And there was nothing Dortmund—which has seen both Lewandowski and Mario Götze sign with the enemy, Bayern—could do, like in the departure of these two talents.

Here in Leg 1 in Porto, Bayern will look for Lewandowski (team-high 10 Shots on Target in CL, 3 Assists) to get that crucial goal again, and if he can’t, the Bavarians do possess more than a number of talented players who can, including Arjen Robben (17 goals Bundesliga), stalwart Thomas Müller (5 goals CL, 12 goals Bundesliga), Götze (9 goals Bundesliga), Franck Ribéry (5 goals Bundesliga), team heart Bastian Schweinsteiger (2 goals Bundesliga), Xabi Alonso (2 goals Bundesliga), Philipp Lahm (2 goals Bundesliga) and aforementioned defenders—Alaba (2 goals Bundesliga; injured) and Bernat (1 goal Bundesliga)—who play on the wing or in the midfield or wherever on Guardiola’s whim. On the Injury front, the UEFA.com website has Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez (knee) and Thiago Alcântara (knee) both listed as Out for this Leg 1 in Portugal, so, two losses in the midfield but this team is deep enough to overcome it here against Porto.


FC Porto
FC Porto (19-5-2, 58 GF-11 GA in Portuguese Primeira Liga) sits in second place in Portugal’s top flight of soccer, and it’s no fluke that this 9th-ranked UEFA club is still playing European football while some clubs like the English Premier League’s Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United aren’t. Porto (CL Form: WWWDDW) and 48-year-old Spanish manager Julen Lopetegui and his fire-breathing Dragões (Dragons) have become very used to this Euro-grind and should make Life very hard for Bayern Munich in this opening leg next Wednesday. With star striker Jackson Martínez (groin) listed as out, Cameroonian striker Vincent Aboubakar may end up being Porto’s biggest scoring threat against Bayern in its usual 4-3-3 tactical formation. Porto will also look to guys like Christian Tello, Adrian and Yacine Brahimi, among others, to try to make things happen against heavies Bayern Munich, but expect few real quality scoring attempts, although Neuer should be tested a couple of times early on. In goal for il Dragões is Fabiano (Ribeiro de Freitas), and he will obviously be tested, but is also a big reason this team is where it is today. And like opponent Bayern, Porto also plays tremendous defense as the 11 goals it has allowed to date (April 4) in league play reveals, and features players like Danilo—who has reportedly signed a deal to leave and play in the neighboring Spanish La Liga for defending UEFA Champions League holders Real Madrid next season—and Maicon. This Porto team fears nobody and is always one of the toughest outs in both this Champions League tourney, and its little brother the Europa League, where Porto lost to Chelsea in the finals two seasons ago in a dramatic final.

Check out the UEFA Champions League Picks for the Quarterfinal Draw, Leg 1 & Futures

Best Betting Approaches and Series Trends
These two historic clubs have only played five times with Bayern Munich 2-2-1 (7 GF-5 GA) in those meetings and going unbeaten over the L4 (2-2-0, 6 GF-3 GA), all in Champions League play, with the last coming in 1999/2000, with the Bavarians winning 2-1 in Munich. Bayern Munich (+2o5 To Win UEFA Champions League, Bwin) has won this tournament 5 times and has to consider themselves a bit lucky in a way to have gotten FC Porto (+6600 To Win Champions League, Bwin) in the Quarterfinals Draw. Here, expect both teams to start out a little tentative—remember the Bavarians 0-0 result in Leg 1 versus Shakhtar Donetsk in the last round—and somewhat on the defensive with Porto and manager Lopetegui being extremely conscientious that getting a Road goal in Leg 2—to be held six days later (Tuesday, April 21) in Germany at Munich’s beautiful Allianz Arena—will be hard. So, not letting Bayern Munich get that 1—or 2 or 3 goals maybe and essentially end this series before it even has a chance to get started—will be much of the focus of host Porto.

German powerhouse Bayern Munich, on the other hand, will be looking to score that precious goal (or more) on the Road and head home with minimal stress and in prime position to then try to casually advance to the Champions League Semifinals. Expect the usual studs you would to come through for Bayern on the attack—Lewandowski, Robben, Müller, Ribéry and maybe even Götze, who may feel he needs to prove something—with that opening and mind-freeing first goal, possibly followed by a second by probably one of the old Dynamic Duo of Robben and Ribéry, while Neuer finishes with another clean sheet facing a minimal (2-6 number quality attempts on goal in this Leg 1. It could be like walking through mud at first for the visitors, but once they get that first goal, Bayern Munich and Guardiola will be able to play the type of game they want to play, despite the formidable foe and intimidating site (Estádio do Dragão). Bayern is just too good not to win a game like this and just too experienced and wise in ways of Leg 1s in Knockout Stages of Champions league play and that experience has taught them well. Back them with your soccer picks.

PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: FC Porto 0 Bayern Munich 2
UEFA CL PICKS: Bayern Munich -150, Under 2½ -117 (bet365)

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