The knockout stage of the Champions League is in full swing and the competition to reach the final in Kiev is fierce. To help you find the best bets, we’ve gone beyond the usual form guides and head-to-heads and pushed ourselves to deliver a different take on the stats you’ll need to inform your betting as the eight two-legged ties play themselves out over the next month.
For each fixture in the Round of 16 we’ve identified each club’s three main goal threats, based on how frequently they’ve found the net this season, measured the Champions League experience of each squad by round, broken down their average age by position and finally looked back over each club’s record to work out which of the two legs will be more pivotal.
Manchester United vs Sevilla
Sevilla had already held Liverpool to a draw twice in this season before their first-leg stalemate against Jose Mourinho’s side, and would surely be taking an aggregate lead to Manchester if not for David De Gea’s heroics. The visitors could offer more of a threat at Old Trafford if Wissam Ben Yedder makes the starting 11 this time around, with the French striker having netted more frequently than anyone else on either team.
United will surely play more expansively with the crowd behind them and they have a sizeable advantage in big-game experience. The Spanish side only have seven appearances between them beyond this stage of the competition, even if the Red Devils’ attack is one of the youngest in the Round of 16. Sevilla’s vulnerability in away matches at this level also makes a shock unlikely, with just 28% of their trips resulting in a win.
Roma vs Shakhtar Donetsk
This match-up pits youth against experience, with the youngest attack left in the tournament facing the oldest, along with the third oldest defence. Facundo Ferreyra demonstrated his capabilities with his leveller in Ukraine a few weeks ago and another goal from him here could settle the tie.
Given Roma’s poor away record in the Champions League, a narrow first-leg defeat was perhaps a decent result for them, and with Shakhtar’s own win percentage on the road barely better there will be plenty of optimism that it can be overturned here.
Regardless of who wins, many of the quarter-finalists will fancy facing the victor in the last eight, with neither side having much pedigree in this competition: the two squads can only muster a combined 67 Round of 16 appearances – and one goal apiece – prior to this year’s competition.
Besiktas vs Bayern Munich
If Besiktas are to stand any chance of pulling off a historic comeback, then there’s one man that they need to focus on above all others: Robert Lewandowski has been netting almost a goal per 90 minutes for the German champions this season. Two of the Turkish side’s top three threats will be familiar to Premier League fans: former Manchester City and Middlesbrough man Alvaro Negredo leads the line with the assistance of ex-Liverpool forward Ryan Babel.
Besiktas’ poor home record in the competition makes even the prospect of a face-saving win unlikely, although they have plenty of experience to draw upon. Their defence is the oldest with an average age of almost 33 and they also operate one of the three oldest midfields and attacks.
Barcelona vs Chelsea
This match is by far the most compelling tie remaining in the Round of 16, with Chelsea’s impressive first-leg performance rattling the runaway La Liga leaders. The outcome could well determine how much longer Antonio Conte remains at Stamford Bridge and he’ll need to coax another impressive performance out of his squad to progress further in this competition.
The two biggest goal threats in this match will be turning out for the hosts, although the relatively advanced age of the Barcelona midfield means that an energetic performance from the visitors could starve their attacking stars of service. History is on Ernesto Valverde’s side however, with the hosts having won a whopping 76% of their Champions League home matches under the current format.
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