Bayern Munich surpass Real Madrid as Champions League favorites

Before the start of the season, Real Madrid were joint-favorites with Bayern Munich to win the Champions League.

Once the competition began, Carlo Ancelotti’s side attempted to prove to the bookmakers that they were the clear favorites by sweeping through the group stages and reaching the Round of 16 undefeated – while winning 22 straight matches in all competitions.

After Bayern Munich fell to Manchester City during the group stages, the bookies in fact made Real Madrid the favorites to take home the club’s eleventh European title.

But recently, Madrid have fallen on hard times. Since returning from the winter break, Los Blancos have struggled with lackluster performances, locker room unrest and injuries to key personnel. During their last ten matches, Madrid have won six, lost three and drawn one; and have seen their lead in La Liga cut to a single point over Barcelona.

The Spanish club’s recent dip in form has led bookmakers to tip Bayern Munich as the favorites to lift the Champions League trophy in June.

While Madrid have stumbled, Bayern have continued their dominance of German opposition, after finishing as Champions League group winners in December.

Pep Guardiola’s side are now 11/4 favorites to win the European title in Berlin later this year, with Real Madrid coming in second-choice at 3/1.

Bayern are now preparing for a favorable Round of 16 tie against Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk. Normally, Shakhtar would be considered a tricky draw in the competition. But due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the club have been unable to train and prepare as usual in their home facilities.

Over the past month, Shakhtar have been forced to train and compete in venues outside of their war-torn country (Spain, Croatia and Brazil) – they will play their home leg vs Bayern in Lviv, which is 800 miles away from their home stadium.

While the Ukrainian side have benefited from their winter tour by arriving in the Round of 16 injury-free, the bookmaker clearly feel that the uncertainty in the country will serve as a distraction and have tipped Bayern Munich to beat Shakhtar.

Real Madrid are preparing to take on FC Schalke 04, a side they beat last season by an aggregate score of 9-2. The German club are currently in fourth place in the Bundesliga and just two weeks ago drew with Bayern Munich at the Allainz arena.

Barcelona (9/2), Chelsea (17/2) and Atletico Madrid (16/1) make up the rest of the top five Champions League favorites according to the bookmakers.

Programming note: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Bayern Munich will be shown LIVE on Tuesday, February 17th at 2:45pm EST on FOX Sports 2 and FoxSoccer2Go.

Schalke FC 04 vs. Real Madrid will be shown LIVE on Wednesday, February 18th at 2:45pm EST on FOX Sports 1 and FoxSoccer2Go.

 

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