2020 has proven to be a disastrous year for global football and the UEFA Champions League due to the Covid-19 commonly referred to as the Coronavirus. Its impact has not only cut through the major football leagues but also Europe’s most elite club competition. One of the last few encounters was played in March. In a typical mid-May calendar, we would already have identified the two teams that would contest the final.
This season, European leagues would be at their tail end and nations would be finalizing their squad selection for the European Championships (EURO 2020), a first of its kind. 11th March 2020 is a significant date because it was the last time that the UEFA Champions League was held. At the time of the games being halted, only four of the eight-quarter finalists had been determined.
Already, EURO 2020 has been pushed to the summer of 2021, which gives UEFA more time to consider resumption of the competition even past June. The transfer window ideally is open after June right up to the end of August. Unlike the local leagues, the Champions League brings together the best teams from across Europe and the round robin format means that a winner cannot simply be declared.
Italy and Spain still have clubs in the competition. The two are nations that have been hard hit by this pandemic to the point that a return to football even without the fans has been off the table for some time now. In the two months since the competitions were suspended, there has been a lot of deliberation by UEFA over how and if the tourney should even resume.
Serie A defending champions Juventus still had a home game in Turin, Italy against Lyon while Barcelona were to host Napoli at the Camp Nou, Spain. The Old Lady trailed the French opponents 1-0 while Barcelona secured a valuable away goal after a 1-1 draw when they travelled to Naples. Juventus’ betting odds are 78/5 to win the competition according to Betfair.
The Catalan giants have been tipped at 7 odds to win it. This comes as no surprise as the Camp Nou is a fortress and only a Napoli win or a rare scored draw of more than two goals would secure safe passage. As you strive for enhanced odds offers for the Champions League, bear in mind that a lot will have changed when matches resume. Some injured players will be back, fitness levels may defer and the effect of no fans in stadiums may eliminate the fear factor for the so-called underdogs.
Sky Bet has amazing betting offers for new customers only. When a player places a £5 bet, he or she stands to win £20 in free bets on odds of 1/1 or greater with no free bet expiry. When it comes to tips, you should look at the form book as well as what punters say because they have done analysis of previous performance heading into games. Below is the full betting odds of the top teams still left in the competition according to 888 Sport.
Manchester City’s 3 to Real Madrid’s 13 is justified given the two giants clash. City’s 2-1 away win in the Spanish capital means that they have the upper hand. Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure seems to have significantly affected the Madrid’s pedigree despite being crowned champions in four out of the last six times.
Bayern’s odds of 13/4 could reduce as the competition progresses and they could be the dark horse given their impeccable record of seven wins from seven matches and scoring whopping 27 goals, an average of nearly four a match.
UEFA monitoring situation
It is still unclear when competition will resume but European football governing body is still monitoring the Coronavirus situation. According to a Sky Sports report, the body’s position is, “UEFA wishes to clarify that it is currently simply monitoring the evolution of the situation and any potential impact on the format of qualifying rounds for next year’s club competitions. To date, no specific options have been developed.”
Of course with football stopped for now, there will be a lot of eyes on the Bundesliga, which recently resumed matches and how they are handling things. What is clear is that any return to playing formula will involve empty stadiums and continued observance of the health measures put in place by the World Health Organization. UEFA has already projected future dates for qualification to next year’s competition, which gives time for conclusion of the current campaign.