More Champions League Surprises on the Way?

The Champions League group stages have had an interesting beginning. Who would have guessed Barcelona would be bottom of their group after two games? Then again, few would have imagined Sheriff Tiraspol being top of their group! Let’s look at the upcoming games and some betting odds too.

Barcelona face two games against Dinamo Kiev in Group E. The Spanish side have lost to both Bayern Munich and Benfica and are four points behind the Portuguese side who are in the second qualifying place. The hope now is that they can pick up points against Kiev (third with one point), while Porto lose their next two games against mighty Bayern. Barcelona are 7/4 at Betfair to qualify and those look odds worth taking before this game.

Anything less than a win at home to Kiev on the 20th will be a disaster for Barca. Kiev held Benfica to a goalless home draw but lost 5-0 away at Bayern. The team from Ukraine have only won one of their last 13 away Champions League games. A bet on Barcelona to win and be ahead at both half and full time is 8/11 at BetVictor.

Sheriff Tiraspol are the first Moldovan club to reach the Champions League group stages. They might become the first to get into the knock-out stages too. Two games in, they top Group D by three points after beating Shakhtar Donetsk at home and then winning at Real Madrid. Sheriff are five points clear of third placed Inter but you can get 9/4 at William Hill of a top two finish.

The Moldovan club now have two games against Inter. That begins with a trip to Milan on the 19th. You can get odds of 2/11 on Inter to win this match. A home win over Sheriff is likely but it’s the trip to Moldova on November 3 that is going to be the vital game. Inter have failed to reach the Champions League knock-out stages twice in a row and could well be heading for a hat-trick of early exits. If you do fancy Sheriff to cause another upset, they are 16/1 at Betfred to win on Tuesday.

Another club needing some points are Manchester United. The euphoria of signing Cristiano Ronaldo has died down now. United have lost four of their last seven league and cup games, not what they were expecting when the great one returned.

Ronaldo did save United with a late winner against Villarreal. That followed an opening Champions League loss away at Young Boys. After two games in Group F, they are in third place with Atalanta top (a point ahead) and Young Boys in second, ahead on head-to-head results.

United now take on leaders Atalanta on October 20 with the reverse fixture in Italy on November 2. Can United get back on track after that 4-2 loss at Leicester? Or is Ole Gunnar Solksjaer going to take another step towards being sacked? A couple of bad results against Atalanta would put them in danger of another trip to the Europa League. United are 7/10 at Betway to beat the Italians.

Atalanta had to come from behind to get a draw at Villarreal. They have had some notable Champions League wins on the road, winning at Liverpool and Ajax last season. A bet on both teas scoring at Old Trafford looks a good one to make.