Well thank goodness for that. After giving it the big build up in my first ever instalment of the £10 to £10k Challenge, I would have been left as red-faced as Glen Johnson with a toilet seat up his jumper had I fallen at the first fence: I would have then had to decide whether or not to admit that despite the money I’m given, I’m not that good and don’t really know what I’m doing. Or as I call it, the ‘Mark Hughes Conundrum’.
Alas, Real Madrid did the business (and then some) for us with a thumping 5-1 win over Athletic Bilbao at the Bernabeu that was well in keeping with the tradition of meetings between the two sides: in fact, it was as predictable as Roberto Di Matteo’s demise at Chelsea.
Just a quick aside: let’s not feel too sorry for Di Matteo, shall we? He knew exactly what the situation was when he took the job – that he was the most glorified caretaker in football history – so let’s not get into how he has been shoddily treated. I’m sure the millions of roubles will ease his pain.
Anyway, the Madrid result was a good, solid start, letting us ease our way in with little trouble and no scares whatsoever. And at odds of 3/20, it also put our initial tenner up to £11.50. I can basically see the ten grand from here.
So on to Bet 2, which in this busy midweek programme could have come in numerous guises given the pretty full coupon at home and abroad, so it is with a fair amount of confidence that we look to the Champions League for a second go at turning a tenner into a life changing amount of money.
While most eyes will be on Real Madrid’s trip to Manchester City, I am actually going to be more bothered about the other game in the group, which sees Ajax host Borussia Dortmund and the meeting of two of the finest young bosses in European football, Frank de Boer and Jurgen Klopp.
I don’t know about you but whenever I think of De Boer, I think of my favourite ever World Cup goal and the glorious pass he played to Dennis Bergkamp for the Dutch maestro to score that wonderful, wonderful strike against Argentina in the quarter-finals of France 98.
So I’ve always had a soft spot for De Boer and his beautiful balls (less so his twin brother Ronald, who these days seems to be morphing into the kind of seedy-looking guy you used to see featured on Eurotrash) and I’m glad to see his Ajax side blossoming, with two consecutive Eredivisie championships and a real good tilt at the Champions League.
I’ve always been pretty fascinated with Dortmund manager Jugen Klopp, too, and not just because of the fine job he has been doing at Westfalenstadion, but because of his name. He might have won back-to-back Bundesliga titles, but what kind of name is Klopp? It sounds like a symptom of something you would go to the doctors with if you’d been particularly lax with your morals. Not that I’d know anything about that.
But what De Boer and Klopp have in common is a penchant for attacking football, which is why Bet 2 is going to be the 3/20 that there are over 1.5 goals at the Amsterdam ArenA tonight.
Don’t be out off by the fact the first match between the two finished 1-0 – that was Matchday 1, when avoiding defeat was the name of the game. We’ve reached the business end now, when games tend to open up more as a rule.
Besides, that match was an anomaly for both sides. Eighteen of Ajax’s 20 matches this season have seen at least two goals scored – 11 of them have seen four or more – as they uphold the club’s proud tradition of playing attacking football and being ropier than Michael Hutchence at the back.
Encouragingly, Dortmund offer the very same statistic: 18 of their 20 games have featured over 1.5 goals, and seven have seen at least four notched. In short, there are going to be goals aren’t there? With Ajax needing to win before they head to Madrid for the final match they will play the only way they know how, and Dortmund are set up to counter attack like few sides in the competition.
So I like the look of goals, so let’s get on the 3/20 that there is over 1.5 at Ajax, which with our £11.50 stake will swell the coffers to a back-of-the-couch £13.23.
Bet 2: Over 1.5 goals in Ajax v Dortmund @ 3/20
Current Balance: £11.50
Potential Balance: £13.23