The phrase ‘last goal wins’ is common on five-a-side pitches across the UK and Ireland. It normally results in a frantic pace where every player believes they can be the hero, regardless of ability or fatigue. Goal chance follows goal chance as the ball pings around from box-to-box before it is shinned in from two yards out by the side’s weekly goal-hanger. It is a joyous spectacle.
This is very similar, in many ways, to Champions League football, minus the lad who stops 20 minutes in for a cheeky smoke. In the second half of the second leg of quarter-finals, one team has to go for goal in order to keep their European dreams alive. This will inevitably lead to more goal opportunities as one team throws everything at the opposition, and, occasionally can get caught on the counter themselves.
If they’re following the trends, this week’s Champions League matches should also get as stretched as Andy Reid’s waistband in the second period, and we’ve got in to the good books down in the Risk Department to bring you a Blog enhanced special.
The desperation mentality in the second half isn’t just a whimsical myth however. And it isn’t just contained to five-a-side games with your mates. The last three years of Champions League quarter-finals back up the belief that there will be late drama.
- 75 per cent of games in the last three years have featured more goals in the second half than in the first
- This trend is only slightly affected by whether or not the tie is ‘dead’. In this instance we’ve compared games that have a difference of three or more goals after the first leg. Games which are almost done and dusted still have an 80 per cent strike rate in the last three years for more second half goals than first half. Games which are still in the balance have a strike rate of 71 per cent.
- In the 2012/13 campaign, all four games had more second half goals in the second leg. This bet had clicked in three of the four games before the 70th minute, before two stoppage time goals from Borussia Dortmund against Malaga made it a clean sweep
This week is unlikely to be any different. Both Wednesday games, Bayern Munich v Manchester United and Atletico Madrid v Barcelona are in the balance, while Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea will both have to score at least two or three in their home games tonight.
- There hasn’t been a nil-nil draw in a quarter-final second leg for seven years. That was Arsenal’s stalemate away to Juventus in Turin that saw them through on aggregate. Happier times for Arsene Wenger and co.
- Just once in the last 22 Champions League quarter-final second legs has the number of goals in each half been exactly the same. Chelsea scored one either side of the oranges to beat Fenerbache 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in 2008
So strap yourselves in and make sure you don’t miss a piece of the second half action. The first half of these showdowns might be cagey affairs, but the chances are they’ll explode in to life as all eight sides scramble for a Champions League semi-final.