Pep Guardiola’s managerial record in the Champions League is outstanding. And while that kind of hyperbole gets bandied around far too much in football nowadays, this time it is probably worthwhile. For Pep has managed four European campaigns and never failed to make the semi-finals, winning two Champions League trophies. And while he may have had the best team in the world at his disposal, that still takes some doing.
But now Guardiola’s Bayern Munich face the very real possibility of a quarter-final exit after a first leg 3-1 defeat to Porto last week. And while the scoreline suggests that the advantage is with the Portuguese side, the odds are not as conclusive. The Paddy Power traders are a good bunch of lads who love nothing more than getting out their abacuses and working out the odds. However they have currently got Porto up at 8/11 to qualify, and to put that it simple terms, it equates to a 57.9 per cent chance.
Why the surprise you may ask? Bayern Munich have an away goal courtesy of Thiago Alcantara and now they face Porto at the Olympic Stadium – a venue where the home side have won 17 of their 19 matches this season. Don’t let the ‘Pep Effect’ fool you however. Spanning back 20 years of Champions League action, the team that wins 3-1 in the first leg of a knock-out tie has a strike rate of qualifying for the next round that makes Porto’s chances seem far greater.
In total, 14 first legs in the Champions League since 1994/95 have ended 3-1, and 11 times the side that won 3-1 went through. The only exceptions are PSG (v Chelsea 2013/14), Napoli (v Chelsea 2011/12) and Chelsea (v Barcelona 1999/2000). Apparently it seems, Chelsea love being involved in matches that skew the stats!
Pep Guardiola has only once been involved in a Champions League clash after losing the first leg 3-1. That was in 2009/10 when Inter Milan beat Barcelona 3-1 at the San Siro. Back at Camp Nou, Inter held strong for 84 minute before Gerard Pique struck, however it wasn’t enough for Pep and Inter went through to the final and eventually beat Bayern Munich 2-0.
Even when you consider the away goal factor, the trends are in Porto’s favour. 10 sides have won the first leg 3-1 at home and seven went on to qualify for the next round.
So despite the traders only rating Porto’s chances of qualification as 57.9 per cent, they appear slightly greater. Throw into the mix that Bayern Munich are missing Arjen Robben, David Alaba, Javi Martinez, and quite possibly Franck Ribery, and suddenly Pep Guardiola’s European magic might not be enough.
Bayern Munich are favourites to win the second leg, and rightly so. But when it comes to qualifying the trends suggest the traders have underestimated Porto and that’s why their price of 8/11 is too good to miss.
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