The draw for the semi-finals of the 2014/15 Champions League has been made, pitting Barcelona against FC Bayern Munchen and Juventus versus Real Madrid.
At bwin the layers have found it virtually impossible to separate the two Spanish sides and the Bavarian powerhouse in the outright betting as a result.
Barca are 2/1 favourites, with their last-four foes next in the betting at 11/5, a whisker ahead of the reigning champions of Europe at 23/10.
Juve are rank outsiders in the reckoning at 8/1, but the Italians have been plotting a singular path through the competition and have a far better chance than their odds suggest as a result.
They can be seen as the footballing antidote to the Josep Guardiola disciples who meet each other in the competition’s other semi-final.
Having out-pragmatised the immensely obstinate Monaco in the last eight, the Bianconeri’s stubbornness rather than their ability to duke it out with attacking sides of the quality of Bayern, Barca or Real can prove their trump card.
For inspiration they need only look to Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan, who snuffed out the first two mentioned on the way to winning the competition in 2010.
Juve have been doing things differently throughout the knockout stages too.
Received wisdom has long suggested that playing at home in the second leg is the preferred draw in knockout football.
This season’s Champions League has borne this out, with six of the eight qualifiers from the round of 16 and three of the four quarter-final graduates’ return matches in their own backyards.
Of the three occasions in which a team have overcame the handicap of a home draw in opening fixture, two saw Maximiliano Allegri’s men progress.
Real Madrid head to Turin for the first leg of the semi-final against the masters of unfavourable draw progression as 33/100 favourites to reach the final, while their overlooked hosts are 11/5 to make a mockery of the odds.
The other last-four clash sees Barcelona lead the market to advance at 17/20, from FC Bayern at 91/100.