Real Madrid’s quest for a record-extending 15th Champions League trophy resumes with a round-of-16 first-leg tie at German aces RB Leipzig.
Madrid have assumed control of the title race in Spain and will be eager to make a mark at the first opportunity in the knockout stage in Europe, while Leipzig will be desperate to clutch a positive result for the return in the Spanish capital.
Real Madrid & Both Teams to Score @ 11/4
Real Madrid head to Leipzig for the resumption of the Champions League fresh from a 4-0 drubbing of Girona to ease five points clear of the pack in La Liga.
It was the 19th successive match in which Carlo Ancelotti’s Galacticos have found the net across all competitions.
Leipzig, meanwhile, welcome the 14-time winners on the back of a thrill-a-minute 2-2 draw at Augsburg, a result which lost them precious ground in the race for the Bundesliga top four and was the 11th match in their last 13 in which both teams scored.
The magnitude of the occasion suggests there ought to be an element of caution from these sides but the reality is that they are both free-scoring while Leipzig’s defensive record is suspect at best.
Real will travel north missing key players, none more influential than Jude Bellingham, Spain’s 16-goal top scorer, who turned his ankle on Saturday night. Antonio Rudiger, Eder Militao and David Alaba are also big misses at the back.
But the attacking options at Ancelotti’s disposal run far beyond Bellingham and Leipzig defensively this season are an absolute liability.
They made light work of securing second spot in qualifying for the knockout stages behind Manchester City, but they shipped goals in all six games, four of them against Young Boys and Red Star.
They will try to fight fire with fire because it’s the only way Marco Rose’s men know how to go about things and they can’t be relying on upsetting the odds in Madrid in the return.
Xavi has lit them up as an attacking unit and the front two of Benjamin Sisko and Lois Openda are in sizzling scoring nick.
Rodrygo any time scorer @ 12/5
This looks like a tie full of goals and Real Madrid frontman Rodrygo looks a decent price to go in as an anytime scorer.
The 23-year-old Brazilian has scored 13 goals this season across four competitions, three of them in the Champions League group phase.
He has been left in the mighty shadow cast by Bellingham but in Leipzig, alongside Vinicius Junior and presumably with the ageless Luke Modric picking the locks in the No.10 role, Rodrygo has the chance to shine.
And a Leipzig defence that has kept just one clean sheet since 28th October is there for the taking.
Dani Olmo to score or assist @ 7/4
Real’s reshuffled defence will have the twin attacking threat of Sesko and Openda to deal with but also the firepower and imagination from their support acts, Xavi and Dani Olmo.
Spaniard Olmo has just returned from a lengthy lay-off and has looked back to his ingenious best in the last couple of games against Union Berlin and Augsburg.
He has six goals and three assists to his name this season and can add to either - if not both - of those tallies, profiting from a Madrid rearguard which is missing key personnel.
Over 4.5 Real Madrid corners @ 8/11
The bare stats alone suggest that Real Madrid winning at least five corners looks a top bet.
Domestically they average 5.8 corners per game, 5.3 away from home. In this season’s Champions League they are racking them up at an average of 8.3 per match, far more than any other team.
Leipzig are a cut above Braga and Union Berlin, the two whipping boys of Group C which Real bossed in the autumn, but their vulnerability at the back is there for all to see and this promises to be an open affair.
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.