Real Madrid vs Man CityUEFA Champions League, KO: 20:00 Feb 26, 2020, Santiago Bernabeu
THE first-leg of the eagerly-awaited last-16 Champions League showdown between Real Madrid and Man City takes place on Wednesday night at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid, having conquered the continent a record-breaking 13 times, are one of Europe's most decorated clubs, while the Champions League is the holy grail that Man City have not been able to reach.
What's more, this season's tournament could represent the Citizens last European adventure for the next two years after they were found to have broken UEFA's financial fair play rules.
The shock ruling that shook the footballing world to its core has further heightened what has been a miserable season for Man City who have meekly surrendered their Premier League crown to runaway leaders Liverpool.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid's Spanish title charge has suffered a massive dent in recent weeks after a 2-2 draw at home to Celta Vigo was followed up by a shock 1-0 loss away at Levante on Saturday.
Consequently, Zinedine Zidane's star-studded side have surrendered their place at the summit of La Liga and Wednesday nights meeting with Man City heralds the start of what could be a season-defining four days for Los Blancos who host El Clasico this Sunday.
The Betting Odds
Zinedine Zidane has triumphed in all 12 Champions League ties that he has led Real Madrid into and the Spanish giants are 19/10 with Boylesports to take a first leg lead to Manchester.
Man City are 11/8 with Bet 365 to bag a win a in the Bernabeu, while a share of the spoils in the Spanish capital pays 11/4 with the same firm
The Betting Angles
Given the wealth of attacking talent that will be on display during this showdown, punters will naturally gravitate towards backing goals and that is reflected in the 8/15 (Bet 365) on offer for both teams to make the net bulge at the Bernabeu.
However, Real Madrid's rigid rearguard have only shipped 17 goals in La Liga this season and they will be coming up against a City defence that looks more lean with Aymeric Laporte back in the side – City have not conceded a goal in the three games that the Frenchman has featured in since returning from injury.
Yet, Man City will be squaring off with a Madrid side who have scored in each of their last 22 games in the knockout-stage of this competition and they are unbeaten in 15 home matches whilst on European and La Liga duty this term – scoring two or more goals in 12 of that sequence.
Zidane's troops are a tempting 6/5 with Bet 365 to score two or more in this first-leg meeting, however, I'm more attracted to the 4/5 (Bet 365) on offer for Real Madrid to score and for the hosts to take four or more corners.
The Spanish superpower have the tools to trouble City's suspect defence and I'm happy to back Madrid to notch at least one goal in this contest and to rack up four or more corners.
However, I wouldn't be surprised to see Pep Guardiola's team pinch a priceless away goal and backing both teams to get on the scoresheet and for each team to take a corner in each half takes appeal at Evens with Betfred given that both teams have scored in 19 of the Sky Blues last 26 matches.
Value could also lie in the card markets in Madrid given that Man City's expansive style can often leave them exposed, which in turn can lead to them committing cynical fouls – something that is feasible on Wednesday night given the amount of attacking-threat that Real carry.
What's more, Real Madrid are an ageing side and that could see them clock up a couple of cards when trying to contain free-flowing City and with that in mind, I like the look of backing both teams to pick up 20+ booking points at 11/8 with Betfred.
It's also worth noting that Italian official Danile Orsato is dishing an average of just over six cards per game this season and that all adds to the appeal of backing bookings in what should be a blockbuster battle at the Bernabeu.
This UEFA Champions League match between Real Madrid and Man City will be played on Feb 26, 2020 and kick off at 20:00