As the Champions League nears the halfway mark of the Group stages, Matchday 3 and 4 signal the traditional double-headers across the coming fortnight. MD3 offers up a number of glamour ties.
None more so than at the Wanda Metropolitano as Atletico Madrid host Liverpool. A favourite venue of the Reds since their European Cup win in 2019, these two sides are forging quite the rivalry of late after meeting in the last 16 two seasons ago, where the Madrid side knocked the holders out of the competition after a thrilling 3-2 win at Anfield in the second leg.
Meeting for the seventh time since 2008, the Merseysiders are without a Champions League win over Los Colchoneros in four meetings. Despite this, Liverpool are shortest backed for the win widely at 5/4 after putting five past Watford at the weekend, whereas Atleti are a decently priced 5/2 with SBK. This game will once again reunite Luis Suarez with his old flame and for he and the again red-hot Mohamed Salah both to score, SkyBet’s boosted price of 15/2 is well worth a dabble.
Liverpool’s M60 neighbours Manchester United meanwhile, face a stern test as they welcome Atalanta to Old Trafford. Late, late winners over Villarreal in MD2 courtesy of Cristiano Ronaldo’s heroics, the Red Devils welcome the Bergamascos with boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under fire after a weekend defeat to Leicester City. Conversely, La Dea put four past Empoli on the road at the weekend have both Duvan Zapata and Josip Ilicic firing.
Though United are assumed favourites, Atalanta’s last visit to the North-West saw a 2-0 win at Anfield and an away win looks particularly appealing again. Indeed, at 7/2 with UniBet, MansionBet and Betfred, the Italians’ price is enticing.
Chelsea’s task looks significantly lesser as Malmo roll into west London. Bottom of Group H and without as much as a goal, the Swedish champions face the holders, who will likely be in the mood after scraping three points against Brentford on Saturday evening.
Romelu Lukaku in particular will be eyeing adding to a tally, which after netting three in as many games to begin his Blues return, has now stretched to being goalless in six. Malmo look primed to remedy his drought however, and for the Belgian to grab a brace, BetVictor and SkyBet carry 2/1 odds. Alternatively, for those a little braver, Malmo could be for the taking and a Lukaku hat-trick is boosted to 8/1, again with SkyBet.
Of the more interesting ties, after a sensational win at Real Madrid last time out, Sheriff travel to Milan to face Inter, with the debutante Moldovans top of Group D on six points – five ahead of the Nerazzurri. Having scored five in two thus far, a trip to San Siro is more of a litmus test though, but Sheriff will be buoyant as they arrive in Lombardy.
Inter should get their opening win here as firm 1/6 favourites with all major bookies, but the real value lies in Both Teams to Score and at 6/5 with MansionBet. It could be worth your while laying a cool few bucks on the new boys in town.
Finally, another glamour tie of MD3 sees free-scoring Ajax entertain Borussia Dortmund, as the two former European Cup winners meet in Amsterdam. For goals and potentially excitement, this looks the week’s most attractive encounter with the Dutch hosts having scored five times in five separate league outings this term. Dortmund are equally prolific in front of goal and now with Erling Haaland back from injury, the goals could flow at the Johan Cruyff Arena. With over 2.5 goals expected at 1/2, 3.5 is a little longer at 6/5, with a full five-goal thriller valued at 14/5 – all with Betfair.