Get on the ball with Bayern


Tuesday sees Liverpool entertain Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Bayern (+5) to win possession handicap v Liverpool @ 4/5

Defensive problems will worry Jurgen Klopp and home fans ahead of this one, with Virgil van Dijk suspended and Dejan Lovren a doubt.

It leaves Joel Matip and Fabinho as the possible centre-back pairing to face the competition’s top scorer, Robert Lewandowski. Gini Wijnaldum is also doubtful and he would be another big Reds loss in midfield.

Bayern will be without Jerome Boateng due to injury although at least keeper Manuel Neuer is playing again following a period during which they struggled defensively.

With both teams having question marks hanging over them at the back, goals look on the cards although both teams to score is just 20/39.

There appears better value in another market in which Van Dijk’s absence is relevant – the possession handicap.

Bayern get a percentage points start of five which means 47.6% of the ball will win them the bet.

Both PSG and Napoli managed to surpass that mark in the group stage at Anfield – despite losing – and Van Dijk’s loss should, in theory, reduce Liverpool’s ability to keep the ball.

His distribution has been excellent while Bayern will surely want to try to take the sting out of the hosts and the home crowd.

Bayern have kept the ball better both in this competition (55.9% v 53.6%) and domestically (62.5% v 58.2%). They also pass better, with a completion rate of 87.2% (v 84.7%), so backing them at 4/5 looks the way to go.

Lyon vs Barcelona draw @ 3/1

Both sides came through the group stage unbeaten and things could remain that way going into the second leg.

Lyon managed to beat and draw with Manchester City while Barca fended off both Spurs and Inter Milan in their group.

Losing Nabil Fekir to suspension is a blow to Lyon but Barca have been found wanting in knockout stage away games in recent seasons while they’ve not won any of their last five such away matches.

Recent away form is also poor, with just one win in their last four and only three goals scored.

Lyon played some impressive, attacking football in their group and will surely look to get at the Spaniards ahead of the trip to Catalonia.

Barca would probably take a draw and that result offers some value at 3/1, with both teams to score a likely banker at 10/19.

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