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Manchester City Go Odds-On to Win the Champions League

The first leg of the Champions League semi-final between Manchester City and Real Madrid at the Bernabeu Stadium resembled something akin to a chess match on grass.

Neither team wanted to give an inch in a match of such magnitude, and in the end it was only two moments of individual brilliance – including a thunderous strike from Kevin de Bruyne – that saw the contest perfectly poised at 1-1 ahead of the second leg in Manchester. Avoiding defeat in Madrid has given City a huge advantage.

Home Comforts

Playing the second leg in front of their own supporters should hand the British club an edge, according to the bookmakers.

Those eyeing a Champions League bet will note that City are as short as 4/7 to win inside 90 minutes in the second leg on May 17, with Real a distant 4/1 underdog. Pep Guardiola’s men are just 2/7 to qualify for the final by any means – despite Madrid’s famous extra-time win against them in 2022.

That has had a knock-on effect to the outright Champions League winner odds too, with City at 4/6, ahead of Inter Milan (3/1), who took a 2-0 lead from the first leg of their frantic semi-final against bitter rivals AC Milan. Real Madrid are available at 9/2.


So why is there such confidence in City completing the job on home soil? Has it proven to be a major advantage to play the second leg at your own stadium in recent years?

Second’s the Best

Although the away goals rule has been abolished by UEFA, you would think that there’s still something of an advantage to playing the all-important second leg of a tie on home soil.

In the last 16 of the 2022/23 Champions League, six of the eight ties were won by the team playing at home in the second fixture, although in the quarter-finals that number fell to just one in four.

There were 14 knockout round ties played during the 2021/22 edition of the Champions League, with seven of those won by the team playing at home in the second leg.

So the evidence is not exactly overwhelming, and it’s interesting that when the first leg ended in a draw, the team playing at home in the second leg would go on to win the contest in just two of the five occasions that have played out since 2021.

Sometimes, the history books have a habit of muddying the water yet further…


It’s perhaps best to judge each tie on its own merits, and surely it would take a brave soul to write off the chances of regular Champions League winners Real Madrid against a Manchester City side that is yet to break their duck in the competition.

Who can forget that famous semi-final of 2022, either? The first leg was a whirlwind ride that eventually ended 4-3 for the British outfit, who were installed as the favourites to go on and lift the trophy. But in the second leg, they would lose 3-1 after a dramatic period of extra time.

Manchester City, and their supporters, will be hoping that history does not repeat itself later this month.