With a 4-0 lead going into the home leg of their Champions League last-16 clash with Bayer Leverkusen, PSG could be forgiven taking it easy against Sami Hyypia’s side, but the hosts’ European campaign thus far suggests no such let up lies in store for the Bundesliga outfit.
Laurent Blanc’s side have won 14 of their 19 matches at the Parc des Princes this season, while Bayer have lost three of their last five on the road, so the 2/5 on a home win is sure to appeal to canny punters looking to secure a quick return from their wedge.
However, the value bets in France’s capital have to be the whopping 13/1 about PSG going in for half-time oranges with a 3-0 lead already in the bag, or the slightly less lucrative 15/2 about them scoring three or more in the first half.
This may sound somewhat far-fetched and therefore reasonably priced, until you realise that Blanc’s side have registered this scoreline in three of their seven Champions League matches this season – namely, the Group C clashes against Benfica and Anderlecht and last time out at the BayArena.
At that hit rate this bet should be much shorter and the chances of a 3-0 half-time correct score coming in again are bolstered by shot-shy Bayer’s miserly strike-haul in recent European outings.
Defender Omar Toprak’s solitary effort against Real Sociedad in December is the only time they’ve managed to find the net in their last four Champions League games.
Furthermore, Hyypia has only managed to coax two goals out of his players in their last five domestic matches – with another coming by way of an o.g. – and last season’s third-placed Bundesliga side are without a win of any kind since the first week of February.
It’s not going to get any easier in Paris, as PSG’s chief strike-threats Ezequiel Lavezzi, Edinson Cavani and the one and only Zlatan Ibrahimovic have bagged eight goals between them since the 4-0 win in Leverkusen.
Rumours that their super Swede will be rested for this clash seem wide of the mark, as Ibrahimovic’s spectacular ego dictates that he must catch Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo – who currently has 11 goals in this season’s competition – at the top of the Champions League scoring charts.
Zlatan has ten and is 2/1 to overtake the Portuguese phenomenon by the end of the campaign, so Blanc is likely to have been love bombed with personal assurances from the much-travelled maverick that he is fit and raring to go.