The Champions League is often said to be the gold standard of worldwide football competition. The tournament is arranged by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and is contested by the winners of several of Europe’s top-division clubs. The winner of the competition is decided following a double-legged knockout stage followed by a single-leg final. Every champion team of a major European football league will go in to play in the Champions League, where they will face the toughest opposition of their year. The current champions are England’s Chelsea, who won their second Champions League trophy in 20222.
The 2021/2022 Tournament
The qualifying round began on 22nd June 2021 and ran until the 25th of August, after which there is a short delay before the competition begins proper. A total of 80 teams participate in the qualifying round which is whittled down to the best 32 clubs from the 54 football associations that comprise UEFA. So far, 112 matches have been played during which 338 goals have been scored. Despite the difficulties still going on in the world right now, an average of more than 33,000 fans have shown up to support their favorite team during these matches.
The draw for the quarter-finals was held last Friday (18th March), so we now know who is going to be playing who for this critical leg of the tournament. Bookmakers such as 32Red sports betting have been quick to determine their odds, allowing bettors to begin placing wagers on who they think will win each match, or even who will win the tournament outright.
Let’s take a look at the planned fixtures, and see what effect this could have on the possible outcome of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League.
Leg 1: All Games at 3 pm Eastern Time on April 5th or 6th
Leg 2: All Games at 3 pm Eastern Time on April 12th or 13th
Each team will meet twice in one week, so if your team loses during the first week, don’t panic! They could still win on aggregate.
Benfica (15/2) vs Liverpool (2/5)
England’s Liverpool is way out ahead as the odds-on favorite in this game. Sometimes looking at the odds can highlight this more effectively – Benfica is priced at +750 (bet £100 to win 750) whereas Liverpool is priced at -250. You can also bet on a draw at 18/5 (+360).
So, the question remains, who should you bet on? You can follow the crowd and go for Liverpool, but Benfica didn’t make it this far without having some serious skill on the pitch. That being said, two draws in the round of 16 will not instill confidence in many bettors. If Benfica is your team, by all means, drop a little bet on them – but according to every respectable bookmaker, you might be wasting your money.
Manchester City (4/11) vs Atletico Madrid (15/2)
Manchester City is again the main favorite in the Champions League, with a odds of +200. Things were the same in previous seasons, but the best performance was reaching the final in 2021.
Looking back at those odds available for this match, we can see that Manchester City is way out in front as the favorite at -223.
And as for Atletico? They are currently sitting at +750 and a draw is pretty unlikely with odds of +380. The duel promises to be very interesting, with Pep Guardiola in the Champions League semi-final for the 9th time, Manchester City without a trophy, as well as Atletico. Diego Simeone’s team is the only team in Europe that has played 3 UCL finals without ever winning.
Chelsea (21/20) vs Real Madrid (14/5)
Chelsea has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately, which has surely affected the team’s morale. Nevertheless, the bookmakers believe this to be a very close match-up. Taking a look at the odds once more, Chelsea is sitting at +105 whilst Real Madrid is priced at +280. The price being offered for a draw between these two giants of the football world is +235. This could be anybody’s game and will be one of the most exciting matches to watch out of these quarter-final fixtures.
Villarreal (5/1) vs Bayern Munich (11/20)
The final matchup of the quarter-final leg will see Spanish team Villarreal take on Germany’s finest at Bayern Munich. Lewandowski and co. are currently seen as the favorite for this match, priced at -182, whereas their opponents Villarreal stand at a lowly +500. Once again, you can also bet on a draw between these two teams which is priced at +325.
Villarreal has barely lost a game recently, with decisive victories over teams such as Atalanta, Juventus, Espanyol, and Celta Vigo. Unai Emery has won the Europa League 4 times and made Villareal a top team, but the level in the Champions League is much higher. Therefore, it is hard to believe that Bayern Munich can be stopped from the race to the 7th UCL trophy by a team like Villareal.