After a scoreless draw in the first leg at Etihad Stadium, Manchester City need just one goal to make a strong case for the Champions League final. At the Bernabeu, one goal is more than Madrid has allowed through all of Champions League play this season.
Real Madrid are still -230 to advance to the final in Milan, but they are only -200 to defeat City at their home stadium, according to Bovada. City are +175 to advance and +500 to win outright at the Bernabeu, with the draw more likely at +300.
With the Spanish title still up for grabs, Real Madrid increased their domestic win streak to ten games over the weekend. City lost to Southampton, but they are focused solely on Champions League glory.
It was a tale of two halves in the first leg, as City controlled the pace early but were barely holding on for the draw by the end. Even without Ronaldo, Madrid had several chances turned away in a strong performance from Joe Hart. Each team lost a key player during that match, as Karim Benzema and David Silva both made early exits with leg injuries.
The injuries, and the players’ ability to play through them, will play a crucial role in the second leg. Benzema and Casemiro are both not in the 21-man squad for Wednesday, but Ronaldo is fit to play. Originally Manchester City reported that Yaya Toure and Silva were both left behind for the trip to Madrid, but the club’s Twitter later confirmed that Toure was on the plane.
Ronaldo missed three straight matches with a thigh injury, but has fully participated in training since Sunday. CR7 leads all scorers with 16 goals in 10 Champions League appearances this season, and even without Benzema and Casemiro, Ronaldo and Bale are a tough combination to contain.
There’s no doubt Madrid have the advantage Wednesday, but an open game can also benefit City. Sergio Aguero was a non-factor in the first leg, and City could have a chance if he gets going. Both teams have dangerous players on the ball, and it’s not impossible for a penalty to decide the match.
This is a tough call. De Bruyne has been so clutch for City lately, and he and other core players are well-rested. If Madrid score first I think they’ll get the win, but something tells me this is Pellegrini’s year.
Prediction: 2-2 draw, Manchester City advance on away goals
Best Bet: De Bruyne (+350) to Score Anytime