This series will focus on in depth previews of the knock out rounds of the Champions and Europa Leagues. I’ll be running this all season ahead of each round from here until the Finals!

The important thing to consider in the decisive second leg is who is going to be volatile and will get large drops or rises depending on the result. We need to start with who the market has assumed will qualify and who is already mentally knocked out. 

Assumed to Qualify:

Tottenham, Real Madrid, PSG, Atletico, Barcelona, Manchester City

Assumed knocked out: 

Dortmund, Ajax, Manchester United, Juventus, Schalke, Lyon,

In the balance: 

Porto v Roma, Bayern v Liverpool. 

These are only expectations. And they will already be weighing heavily on the prices. Those assumed to qualify will have inflated prices. Knocked out teams weak prices. And in the balance teams somewhere in between but bordering on knocked down prices due to the uncertainty. 

So the big reactions will generally only come where those expectations are shattered. Don’t be expecting big rises when Manchester City qualify for example. But if Liverpool go through or Juventus overturn their big deficit it will have a big impact. 

We also have the draw to think about which can have as big an impact on prices as the games themselves. That’s the 15 March. Tough draws will knock down prices and favourable ones can see them rise significantly.

Champions League

12 March - Man. City v Schalke

First Leg Result: Schalke 2 – 3 Manchester City

Betting Odds TO QUALIFY: Manchester City 1.01 Schalke 41

SPI Win Probability MATCH ONLY: Manchester City 91% Draw 8% Schalke 2%

Key Players

Man. City

In form: Aguero, Mahrez, Sterling, Zinchenko, 
Notable:  D Silva,  Gabriel Jesus, Any starting defenders


In form: Bentaleb, 
Notable: Caligiuri

Market and Player Assessment

Should be a complete walkover. And there is a good chance players in this game are going to be scoring highly. The biggest difficulty could be rotation. If there is a shock then prices will tumble but I don’t see this happening. If City progress, don’t expect a big reward.

If he plays, I would fancy Mahrez who is a superb player held back only by a lack of minutes. Aguero is on form although could be rotated. Jesus may deputise but he would need at least 2 goals to challenge. 

With a goal, Sterling could score big and he is in fine form. As is Zinchenko who is capable of a very big baseline in a game like this, although his threat has been non existent. Any defenders who start (Laporte and Otamendi are out) will likely have a good shout too. 

As for Schalke. Very little hope. Bentaleb for his penalties. Caligiuri as a historic good performer but this is unlikely to be his game.

12 March - Juventus v Atletico Madrid

First Leg Result: Atletico 2 – 0 Juventus

Betting Odds TO QUALIFY: Juventus 4.5 Atletico 1.29

SPI Win Probability MATCH ONLY: Juventus 46% Draw 29% Atletico Madrid 25%

Key Players


In form: Ronaldo, 
Notable: Dybala, Bernadeschi, Pjanic, Bentancur, 

Atletico Madrid

In form: Morata, Griezmann, 
Notable: Felipe Luis, Saul Niguez, 

Market and Player Assessment

A mountain to climb but this will be fascinating to watch. Juventus are capable of overturning this, especially with the much maligned Ronaldo. This is his traditional time to shine. 

Juventus assets, particularly Ronaldo’s, could spike in value if they do pull off an upset.

If Atletico allow Juventus to dominate possession like in the first leg, high baseline Juventus players could be putting up some high scores, like Pjanic or Dybala (if he starts).

Ronaldo has had a quiet few games by his high standards but for a normal human I will still count him as in form. He will need goals but he is a strong shout for media and performance if he puts on a show. 

Sandro is banned. 

I think Atletico will probably sit back so Koke or Niguez will probably struggle. Morata is in fine form now and you can never count out Griezmann. Both would need 2 goals to challenge though and that does not look likely.

13 March - Bayern v Liverpool

First Leg Result: Liverpool 0 – 0 Bayern 

Betting Odds TO QUALIFY: Bayern 2 Liverpool 1.92

SPI Win Probability MATCH ONLY: Bayern 47% Draw 24% Liverpool 29%

Key Players


In form: Lewandowski, Gnabry, Rodriguez, 
Notable: Alcantara,


In form: Mané, Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, 
Notable: Firmino, Salah, Keita, 

Market and Player Assessment

A high stakes game. Prices are probably suppressed a bit by the nerves so the winning team can expect a bump and the losers may fall further.

The betting odds make it even, maybe slightly in Liverpool’s favour but personally I agree more with the algorithm. This looks a tough ask for Liverpool and they will need to produce some magic.

Lewandowski is in devastating scoring form. He’d need a couple, but if someone is going to sink Liverpool it will likely be him. Gnabry and Rodriguez are looking good and one match winner could see them to strong scores. 

Alcantara could do some damage but Bayern would likely have to dominate. Kimmich is banned, and Alaba is out too.

Mané is looking strongest for Liverpool recently but actually I would back Firmino to get closer to a win with a goal. Big dry spell but with a matchwinner and a full 90 minutes his score would probably be good. 

Salah has never been a huge performance player and he is not in great form. But the media winner undoubtedly comes from this game and it’s hard to look beyond Salah as the favourite. His price is very sensitive to the outcome of this game. 

13 March - Barcelona v Lyon

First Leg Result: Lyon 0 – 0 Barcelona

Betting Odds TO QUALIFY: Barcelona 1.22 Lyon 4.8

SPI Win Probability MATCH ONLY: Barcelona 80% Draw 14% Lyon 7%

Key Players


In form: Messi, 
Notable:  Suarez, Dembelé, Coutinho, Rakitic, Pique


In form: Depay, Fekir, 
Notable: Traoré, Dembelé, Aouar, 

Market and Player Assessment

Intriguing game and although Barcelona are expected to walk it, it’s a tight margin at 0-0 and Lyon may put up a fight. 

If they did, Lyon assets may get a bump although given people won’t expect them to get much further it might be muted. Barcelona should stay as they are unless there is an upset which could be painful particularly for Messi.

Speaking of Messi, he looks in unstoppable form and I wouldn’t even blink if he put up a another big score in this game. 

The supporting cast of Suarez, Dembele and Coutinho (depending on which plays, probably Dembelé) could figure but none are in great form. 

And further back, Rakitic is capable of a big score as he showed last time out but we can’t be expecting goals from him every week. He could post a strong baseline anyway, though. 

The Lyon attack, particularly Fekir and Depay is firing right now with 8 goals in 2, all be it against much softer opposition. They did not produce a great deal in the home leg which is a worry. 

Traoré and Dembelé also look dangerous, but are not as performance scoring friendly (Dembelé is particularly poor). Aouar is capable of a big score but I suspect this will not be his game as possession will not be easy to come by. 


If you find this post useful, please like the post on Twitter or share using the below buttons. You can also follow me on Twitter at @_FI_trader for additional daily thoughts and tips!


error: Right click is disabled to protect members content.
error: Alert: Copying is disabled to protect members content :)