Borussia Monchengladbach take on Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday in a 8pm kick-off at the Puskas Arena.
Due to German travel restrictions the game was forced to move to Budapest, where Liverpool defeated RB Leipzig 2-0 last week.
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Gladbach have had a difficult time of things of late, dropping to eighth in the Bundesliga while dealing with the forthcoming blow of losing manager Marco Rose to Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
City, on the other hand, have won 18 consecutive games in all competitions while opening up a 10 point gap at the top of the Premier League, allowing Pep Guardiola to prioritise winning the Champions League for the first time.
As such, it is perhaps unsurprising to find the Citizens heavily odds-on to win the first leg at 2/7. The draw is 19/4, with a Gladbach win 17/2.
The Germans progressed to the knockout stages for the first time by finishing above Shakhtar Donetsk and Inter Milan, so are clearly no mugs. However, it does feel a little like right place, wrong time for them, especially with the growing strength of City.
Gladbach have scored in all 15 Bundesliga and CL home games this season, but in nine of their 12 league games they have only scored once.
Moreover, City have kept eight clean sheets in their last 10 PL games and conceded only once in the group stage, so I’m going to back Under 2 Goals for Gladbach.
Gladbach have conceded in 12 of their 15 home games, with City blanking only three times on the road, so I’ll also back Over 0 Goals for Man City.
Portuguese referee Artur Dias officiates, with the 41-year-old averaging six cards per game in his three CL matches this season. That’s a small sample size, though, and this game doesn’t scream loads of cards to me to be honest.
To boost our Bet Builder, I will back both teams to pick up a card each. This has landed in 18 of Dias’ last 20 games in all competitions, with Gladbach receiving a card in all six group games and City in four of their six (the last of which they had already qualified from beforehand).
I think Gladbach have the quality in transition to draw a few trademark tactical fouls out of City:
Under 2 Goals for Gladbach, Over 0 Goals for Man City, Over 0 Cards for Gladbach, Over 0 Cards for Man City @ 4/5.
Also at 4/5 (Sky Bet), I like Ilkay Gundogan to have 1+ shot on target. This has landed in 11 of his last 13 league appearances, so to be receiving close to even-money in a match City should dominate seems great value if the in-form midfielder starts.
If you’re looking for a bigger price, Betfair have boosted Gundogan and Alassane Plea both to have 1+ shot on target to 11/4. The French forward has scored five times in this season’s Champions League and has had eight shots across his last two Bundesliga starts. The same bet is only 7/4 with Sky Bet.
Elsewhere, I’m quite keen on Stefan Lainer to be carded at 4/1 (bet365). The right-back has already been carded twice in Europe this season, leading Gladbach’s tackles and fouls per game, and was booked nine times in the Bundesliga last season. He could struggle with Raheem Sterling.
I couldn’t put you off the likes of Ramy Bensebaini, Florian Neuhaus or Denis Zakaria, but they’re all shorter prices.
Lastly, 5/1 for Bernardo Silva is definitely too big if he starts, with the Portugal midfielder very cynical on his day, as two bookings in his last three games backs up.
It might be worth keeping an eye on a City defender, too, especially if the pacey Breel Embolo or Marcus Thuram start.
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