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Villarreal head into their Champions League quarter-final second leg against Bayern Munich with a slender 1-0 advantage, but the Yellow Submarine will be ruing a string of missed chances that could’ve put the tie out of the Germans’ reach.
Arnaut Danjuma’s eighth-minute winner was the difference in Spain, but their away record in La Liga isn’t great and with Bayern hammering in the goals at the Allianz Arena in recent weeks and months, Unai Emery knows his side have a huge task on their hands to keep the Bavarians at bay in the second leg.
That said, a 3-0 thrashing of Juventus in Turin in the last round means Bayern have a big job ahead of them too.
Keep scrolling for our full match preview and expert football betting tips.
The task in theory is simple for Bayern. A two-goal victory would seal their place in the semi-finals of the Champions League, but Villarreal have been a tough nut to crack in Europe this season.
Emery’s men have conceded just a single goal in their last three away games in the competition, including back-to-back clean sheets against Atalanta and Juventus – both of whom very much know where the goal is.
And, generally speaking, Villarreal’s recent games haven’t delivered much in the way of goals. At least one side has failed to score in all of their last six matches and over 2.5 goals has been a winner on only one occasion.
So, it looks like Bayern will have to be patient as they look to get back into this one. Villarreal have conceded only one goal in the opening 45 minutes in their last 13 games, but Bayern usually have things their own way at home, winning eleven of their last 13 at the Allianz Arena.
We think Bayern will win this in 90 minutes, but this could be a war of attrition in Bavaria, so Under 2.5 goals looks like a solid play at 17/10 (Betway).
It’s safe to say that Bayern Munich got away with one at El Madrigal last week.
The defending Bundesliga champions simply didn’t show up in the first leg, and on another day, could’ve been staring down the barrel or a three-goal deficit heading into the second leg.
But nevertheless, they remain in the mix, and with 19 goals in their last five games at home, they have the firepower to run through any defence that comes to visit.
However, Villarreal have developed a continental reputation for making life difficult for home sides and they’ll take heart from the fact that they limited Bayern to very little in the way of clear-cut chances in the first leg.
That particular lightening doesn’t tend to strike twice with Bayern, though, and we think they’ll get on the scoresheet at least once over 90 minutes.
Alphonso Davies made his long-awaited return in the first leg and all being well, the Canadian will be fit to start once again in Munich.
A 1-0 win represents an excellent result on the face of it, but had they taken just one or two more of their many chances on Tuesday then they would have one foot in the semi-finals.
But it’s certainly not panic stations for a side that have the defensive resilience to make life very difficult for Bayern, and even when they lose games, they don’t tend to lose them by much.
And they know a clean sheet will be enough to seal their place in the last four. However, just three away shutouts this calendar year suggests that task is easier said than done, despite their heroics in Turin in the Round of 16.
Alberto Moreno has been out for more than a month with a knee injury and is likely to be missing for the remainder of the season.
This will be just the fourth meeting between the two sides, with all of the previous three taking place in the Champions League.
Their first two clashes took place during the 2011/12 group stage of the competition, with Bayern picking up wins both home and away.
Despite opening as recently as 2005, the Allianz Arena has a reputation for being one of the top stadiums in Europe and is particularly breathtaking as far as visuals go.
The 75,000-seater hosted the final of the Champions League a decade ago, when Bayern were beaten on penalties by Chelsea after a dramatic 1-1 draw.
Villarreal showed in the first leg that they’re much more than a cohesive defensive unit, so Bayern will have to be at their best at both ends of the pitch to get what they need to go through to the semis.
We think Bayern will have enough, whether that be over the course of 90 or 120 minutes, but the visitors’ record for making sides wait for a breakthrough means we’re likely to have a cagey affair that could result in a lack of goals.