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Champions League Final Preview

Champions League Final Preview

If it wasn’t for two of the greatest comebacks in the history of the Champions League, this final could easily have been decided by Barcelona and Ajax. But the La Liga champions blew a 3-0 first leg lead to surrender their place in Madrid to Liverpool (1/1) while Tottenham (3/1) completed a stunning fightback of their own thanks to Lucas Moura’s hat-trick in the final 35 minutes with his third goal coming six minutes into injury time to beat the Dutch champions on away goals. After such dramatic events in the semi-final, what will the final hold for both sides looking to call themselves kings of Europe?

Football fans have not been disappointed when it comes to goals in recent Champions League finals. Only five of the 38 teams involved have failed to score with BTTS occurring in 12 of the last 14 deciders including the last eight. Six of those last eight finals have also produced three or more total goals. SportPesa are offering odds of 5/4 for BTTS and over 2.5 goals scored in the Wanda Metropolitano. Liverpool are 39/20 to win with more than 2.5 total goals in the final and the Reds are 27/10 to win with both sides scoring which Jurgen Klopp’s side have done three times so far in their cup run. Tottenham are 23/4 to win with the game producing three goals or more and they are 25/4 to win with both Spurs and Liverpool scoring which the north London side have done twice including their thrilling 3-2 win at Ajax in the semi-finals.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side have reached the final without leading at half-time in any of their 12 previous ties. Of the 20 goals they have scored, only three have been scored before half-time and two of them came in their goal-fest against Manchester City at the Etihad in the quarter-finals. The first goal will be crucial and given Liverpool’s record when scoring first in this season’s Champions League, Spurs will hope they score it as the Reds have won all seven ties when scoring first and they won both Premier League games against Spurs after scoring first. The good news for Tottenham is that Liverpool have lost all three Champions League games after conceding first. Tottenham are 6/4 to score first in Madrid while the Reds are 10/17 to be first on the scoresheet.

Tottenham have come from behind twice to beat PSV 2-1 and Ajax 3-2 in their last tie and they are 37/4 to win from behind while Liverpool, who last came from behind to win on April 5 to win 3-1 at Southampton, are 6/1 to show their powers of recovery. The Reds have scored in both halves in their last three games including their 4-0 win over Barcelona at Anfield to book their place in the final which was the fifth time in their cup run they have done so. Liverpool are 2/1 to score in both halves while Spurs are 4/1 to score in either period which they have done so at PSV and Manchester City.

The ideal scenario would be for the game to be level after 90 minutes so we get another 30 minutes of action. Extra-time was last required in a Champions League final in 2016 when Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid on penalties in an all-Spanish affair. Liverpool are 35/4 to win after extra-time and 11/1 to win on penalties while Spurs are 15/1 to win after extra-time and 11/1 to lift the trophy after a penalty shoot-out.

Harry Kane is hopeful of being fit for the final and if he starts he is 5/1 to be the first scorer. If he comes off the bench, he is also 5/1 to score the last goal and 39/20 to be an anytime scorer. Lucas Moura, whose hat-trick secured his side’s place in the final, is 29/10 to be an anytime scorer.

For Liverpool, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have scored eight of Liverpool’s last 18 goals in the Champions League and a lot will rest on their shoulders in Madrid. Both scored 22 league goals to lead the Premier League as Liverpool finished runners-up and a single point behind Manchester City. Salah is 4/1 to be first scorer while Mane is 17/4 to get the game’s first goal.

 

(All bets within 90 minutes)

 

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