Assessing the Sophomore TEs
Covering the impact of coronavirus on the sports world
The UEFA Champions League is back this week on CBS All Access, and it returns with two seismic round of 16 matches on Tuesday’s schedule. Bayern Munich, 2020 winners and Bundesliga champions, are reeling a bit after going without a win in their last two matches and suffering from a rash of injuries. Can a club with a history of excellence on the European stage get back to form against a Lazio side that have made it to the knockout stage for the first time since 2000?
On the other side, we’re looking at the tie of the week which pits La Liga’s leading side, Atletico Madrid, against a Chelsea team making strides under the new management of Thomas Tuchel.
So who will draw first blood in the round of 16? Our CBS Sports’ soccer experts have made their picks below. You can catch all the action on CBS All Access.
Craving more coverage of the Champions League? The ¡Que Golazo! podcast has a full preview of Tuesday’s action. Listen below:
Time: Tuesday, 3 p.m. ET (CBS All Access and CBS Sports Network)Atletico 170; Draw 200; Chelsea 190 (odds via William Hill Sportsbook)
Rongen’s take: Atleti are still stingy on the defensive side and have the firepower with Luis Suarez. If Liverpool’s attack couldn’t do it last year, I don’t see any reason that Chelsea will do it now. Pick: Atletico Madrid 2, Chelsea 1
Romano’s take: Diego Simeone’s team is having an amazing season in La Liga, now it’s time to show their skills in the Champions League too. Pick: Atletico Madrid 1, Chelsea 0
Echegaray’s take: This is a perfectly balanced matchup as both teams have two wins each, three draws and 11 goals a piece. Having said that, they’re very different from a tactical standpoint. I don’t see it as a goalfest as Diego Simeone and Thomas Tuchel will attempt to nullify each other’s strengths. In the end, even despite playing in Bucharest and not Wanda Metropolitano, Atleti — who will probably be up for it after losing to Levante this past weekend — will just about win it. Though it will be tight. Pick: Atletico Madrid 2, Chelsea 1
West’s take: Chelsea are struggling to find their identity under Thomas Tuchel, and despite Atleti’s struggles over the last couple matches, they’re still a better team overall. This one will be tight, but the home side just shades it. Pick: Atletico Madrid 1, Chelsea 0
Johnson’s take: This one has changed with Thomas Tuchel’s arrival on the Chelsea bench. The German is good at approaching difficult away legs in Europe and obviously went all the way to last year’s final. I can see a tight game with the tie still alive for the return. Pick: Atletico Madrid 1, Chelsea 1
Benge’s take: I certainly wouldn’t expect vintage fare from a game between a defense that is better than its recent record and an attack that naturally hasn’t clicked into gear yet. This will be a tie decided on fine margins and you suspect Chelsea are more likely to make a mistake — and Atletico to make them pay. Pick: Atletico Madrid 1, Chelsea 0
Gonzalez’s take: Atletico Madrid and Chelsea are both coming off poor weekend results, and the Spanish side won’t get the comfort of playing at home with this game in Romania due to travel restrictions. The Blues still haven’t lost since Thomas Tuchel arrived, and that continues here. Pick: Atletico Madrid 1, Chelsea 1
Herrera’s take: Both sides are heading into the match on inconsistent form and will likely get a boost on the big stage. Pick: Atletico Madrid 2, Chelsea 2
Goodman’s take: Thomas Tuchel has come in and stabilized Chelsea by switching to a back three system and instituting an extreme brand of possession based play. What he hasn’t been able to do yet is turn that possession into attacking patterns that pry apart a defense. Instead Chelsea keep the ball and door just enough to win while struggling to create great chances. Atleti will let them keep the ball all day, sit deep, be disciplined, and spend 90 minutes looking for a chance to break that won’t come as Chelsea just keep passing the ball around. Pick: Atletico Madrid 0, Chelsea 0
So who should you back in the UEFA Champions League match between Chelsea and Atletico Madrid? And where does all the betting value lie? Visit SportsLine now to see this week’s best bets for the UEFA Champions League, all from the European soccer insider who’s generated over $16,900 for $100 bettors since the 2017-18 season!
Time: Tuesday, 3 p.m. ET (CBS All Access) Lazio 380; Draw 310; Bayern Munich -150 (odds via William Hill Sportsbook)
Rongen’s take: Credit Lazio for making it to the round of 16 behind Ciro Immobile, but they are simply overmatched against Hansi Flick’s Bayern Munich. Pick: Lazio 1, Bayern Munich 2
Romano’s take: Lazio are a good team, but they’re not up to par with reigning champion Bayern Munich. Lewandowski and Co. will be able to win the first match away from home. Pick: Lazio 0, Bayern Munich 2
Echegaray’s take: Let’s talk about facts, first. No matter what happens or who he faces, Robert Lewandowski scores. That’s it. So Bayern Munich, even with absentees, will get on the scoresheet. The problem for them is that on the other side, there’s another tremendous striker who only needs an inch to make things happen: Ciro Immobile. There’s the added notion that Bayern, after losing to Eintracht Frankfurt this past weekend, once again showed cracks at the back. Regardless, Lazio often struggle against teams with multiple creativity (see Atalanta, Inter Milan) and Bayern has plenty. It will be tight, but I see a Bayern win. Pick: Lazio 1, Bayern Munich 2
West’s take: Lazio aren’t walkovers, but they’re dealing Bayern here. Bayern will always Bayern their way into a result. Calling Ciro Immobile to get on the score sheet, but the overall quality of the UCL title holders will shine brightest. Pick: Lazio 1, Bayern Munich 3
Johnson’s take: Another narrow one here, but this time with a winner. Lazio have nothing to lose while Bayern look far from untouchable at present. I can see the defending champions winning, but not by much. Pick: Lazio 1, Bayern Munich 2
Benge’s take: Like Atletico, Bayern have been a better team than the panic over their recent wobble suggests. In 2021, their expected goals return per game is a gaudy 2.6, so we can assume they are going to get plenty of chances. Expect this to be the day when they make a statement to Europe. Pick: Lazio 1, Bayern Munich 3
Gonzalez’s take: Bayern Munich want to get that bad taste out of their mouths from their Bundesliga loss to Eintracht Frankfurt, and Lazio pay the price with this tie over after the first leg. Pick: Lazio 0, Bayern Munich 3
Herrera’s take: The Serie A side has been impressive during their Champions League campaign playing through COVID-19 and solid performances from Ciro Immobile. But Bayern’s historic form at this time will be too much to handle. Pick: Lazio 1, Bayern Munich 3
Goodman’s take: Bayern’s defense really is not up to recent standards this season, and Lazio excel at getting Ciro Immobile free on the counter thanks to Luis Alberto’s passing. So, don’t expect this to be a cakewalk for Bayern, but ultimately the German side has too much firepower for what is really a relatively average Lazio defense. Pick: Lazio 1, Bayern Munich 3
So who should you back in the UEFA Champions League match between Bayern Munich and Lazio? And where does all the betting value lie? Visit SportsLine now to see this week’s best bets for the UEFA Champions League, all from the European soccer insider who’s generated over $16,900 for $100 bettors since the 2017-18 season!
Thanks for checking us out, and good luck with your picks!
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