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Champions League: Semi-Final First Legs

Analysis and recommendations on both Champions League semi-finals taking place this week.

Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris


Inter Milan (Bettorlogic rank 4) v Barcelona (1) (Tues, 19:45)

Inter Milan feature in their first semi-final since 2002/03; when they drew both legs with arch-rivals AC Milan and went out on away goals. The hosts have lost just two of their nine home knockout fixtures over the last five seasons with five wins, four HT 0-0s and five -1.5 goals games. On closer examination, two of their three such matches against teams with a Bettorlogic rank of 1-5 have settled the -1.5 goals market.

Interestingly, nine of the last 10 Champions League semi-final first legs have featured no more than a brace of scores (seven -1.5 goals) and there has been just one away win (Barcelona’s 1-0 victory at AC Milan in 2005/06). Reigning champions Barca have won only one of their last eight away days in this competition with seven draws. Six of these games have seen at most two goals and four were goalless at the interval. Further, seven of their last nine games at top-five ranked sides have contained fewer than three goals (five -1.5 goals).

Recommendation: -1.5 goals 3.25, Various


Bayern Munich (7) v Lyon (8) (Weds, 19:45)

This is the first semi-final between two teams ranked outside the top-five since Porto faced Deportivo in 2003/04. Their have been five such semi-final first legs since the inception of the Champions League and all five have been drawn at half-time – FT W3-D2-L0. Since 2004/05, Bayern Munich have won six of their nine home knockout fixtures with four W/Ws, although they have conceded in all nine games (six +2.5 goals) and have defeated the -1.5 goal handicap on just twice.

Lyon are winless in six away knockout fixtures with four defeats and three L/Ls. Five of their last eight away Champions League fixtures have seen three or more goals. Seven of the 12 knockout first-legs this season have been won by the home team and seven have also seen at least three scores. This is the highest proportion of over goals matches at this point of the competition since the Last 16 stage was introduced in 2003/04.

Recommendation: Split Stakes: +2.5 goals 2.00, Betfair
                                                           Bayern Munich W/W 2.88, Blue square


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