The UEFA Champions League (UCL) group stage has reached the penultimate round of fixtures. For the teams who have already qualified with two games to spare, it’s a chance to rotate their squads and give fringe players a chance to shine on the European stage. For teams on the brink of elimination from the competition like Inter, a win this week is desperately needed. Here are some bets that I think are worth considering on DraftKings Sportsbook for the midweek slate of Champions League games.
Lokomotiv Moscow vs. Red Bull Salzburg
Both Lokomotiv Moscow and RB Salzburg find themselves drinking in the last chance saloon in Group A. Reigning champions Bayern Munich have already secured top spot with two matches left to play to leave the remaining three sides battling it out for second spot. RB Salzburg may be bottom of the group, but a win in Moscow in Tuesday’s early game will close the gap on Atletico Madrid to two points before the Spaniards face Bayern. In the previous meeting, Lokomotiv and Salzburg shared the points in a 2-2 draw at the start of their respective campaigns. Salzburg’s emphatic 8-2 win at St Polten at the weekend ended their four-game streak without a win. Dominik Szoboszlai and substitute Sekou Koita helped themselves to hat-tricks to keep their side on top of the Austrian league. Lokomotiv, however, drew 0-0 at Terek Grozny on Saturday and remains seven points behind the leaders Zenit Saint Petersburg. With plenty to play for, both teams have no option but to go for it in this contest. Both teams have scored in all four of Salzburg’s ties and this could well be a fifth.
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Inter
Victory might not be enough for three-time champion Inter, and a trip to Group B leaders Borussia Monchengladbach is not going to make their task of reaching the knockout stages any easier. Goals have been a regular feature of the German side’s four ties with a total of 18 scored so far, with a minimum of four goals scored in each of them. Monchengladbach will look back on their opening three contests and feel they could and should already be through to the knockout stage after being held in their first two games following last gasp equalizers at Inter and at home to Real Madrid. Marco Rose’s side are seventh in the Bundesliga after a 4-1 win over struggling Schalke on Saturday. Inter bounced back from their damaging 2-0 loss to Real Madrid at the San Siro in this group on Wednesday to win 3-0 at Sassuolo. The points were on their way to Inter after just 14 minutes when they led 2-0. Inter has no choice but to go for it in Germany as they look to stay alive in this season’s UCL, which should make it an open tie.
Atalanta vs. FC Midtjylland
Atalanta produced one of the shock results of this season’s competition last week when they went to Anfield and beat Liverpool 2-0. If Liverpool had won, they would have progressed to the elimination stage, but Jurgen Klopp’s decision to rest some of his star players played into Atalanta’s hands and they took full advantage. The win moved the Serie A side to seven points, two behind Liverpool and level with Ajax, who they will face in their final game in Amsterdam. Unfortunately for Midtjylland, its elimination was sealed when they were beaten by Ajax and they are unable to qualify for the Europa League. Atalanta may be off the pace in Serie A following their 2-0 home loss to Verona at the weekend, but progress to the knockout stage will make up for that. Now that Midtjylland has nothing to play for, their approach might see them play with more freedom, which is something Atalanta will have to be aware of and could force them to be more patient than they would like. Over 2.5 goals has landed in three of both sides’ four ties this season.
Borussia Dortmund vs. Lazio
After nine games in the Bundesliga, Dortmund finds themselves four points behind defending champion Bayern Munich after dropping three points at home to Cologne in a 2-1 loss on Saturday. In the UCL, it’s a different story as Dortmund controls Group F with three wins from their last three ties. The only game Dortmund has lost in this group was their opener 3-1 to second-placed Lazio. Revenge won’t be on their minds, but a home win will secure top spot for the German side. Lazio suffered the same fate as their opponents at the weekend, losing 3-1 at home to Udinese, which was the eighth game in their last nine in which there were goals for both them and their opponents. Dortmund’s final game in this group is a trip to Russia to face Zenit Saint Petersburg, who are currently at the top of their domestic league. Dortmund will want to care care of business on home soil and avoid leaving their qualification on a trip to a very cold Russia.
Ferencvaros vs. FC Barcelona
Barcelona has already qualified for the knockout stage of this season’s UCL and with that in mind, a number of key players may be rested ahead of their league trip to Cadiz this weekend in La Liga. That will encourage the Hungarian side, who did manage to score a goal on their visit to the Nou Camp in the group opener. It was nothing more than a consolation goal and with a changed lineup facing them, Ferencvaros could look to capitalize in this contest. Finishing third in the group will see Ferencvaros extend their European campaign by dropping into the Europa League knockout stages. If Ronald Koeman does make changes to his Barcelona lineup, then we could see a few goals as the players coming in will want to shine and secure their place in the lineup moving forward. However, a lack of cohesion could help present a few chances to the home side. Whether they can turn them into goals remains to be seen but they - like Barcelona - have scored in all four ties this season. This could happen again in this contest.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is CharliePMullan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA) or TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789. 21+ (18+ NH). NJ/PA/WV/NH/IN/NH/IA/CO/IL/TN only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.