RB Leipzig vs Real Madrid predictions
RB Leipzig face one of the most daunting tests in football on Tuesday night when they come face-to-face with 14-time European champions Real Madrid in the last 16 of this season’s Champions League (8pm, TNT Sports 2).
The Germans have fallen at this stage of the competition in two of the last three campaigns with eventual winners Manchester City thrashing them 8-1 on aggregate last term.
The Champions League odds forecast another round of 16 exit for Leipzig with Real a best-price of 1/3 to make it through to the quarter-finals.
It’s tough to dispute the prices on betting sites for this tie with Real Madrid entering the first leg having lost just one of their last 27 games, while they advanced to the last 16 having won all six of their group stage games.
They thrashed title rivals Girona 4-0 at the weekend to tighten their grip on top spot in La Liga, albeit that win came at a cost as Jude Bellingham suffered an ankle injury.
The England international joins a large number of Los Blancos defenders on the sidelines for Tuesday’s clash and if Leipzig are to do the unthinkable and dump out Real, they’ll need to take the fight to the visitors in the first leg.
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Lively first leg in Leipzig
Leipzig finished runners-up in their group behind Manchester City and gave the reigning champions a couple of decent games, albeit they lost both (1-3, 3-2).
Since the group stage ended, Marco Rose’s men have won just two of their seven Bundesliga games, dropping points again at the weekend with a 2-2 draw at Augsburg.
Leipzig’s lack of consistency has seen them fall away in the Bundesliga title race, although they remain a difficult opponent to overcome at the Red Bull Arena.
Leipzig have won seven of their last nine home games in all competitions and Real know only too well how tough it can be in Saxony having lost 3-2 away to Leipzig in the group stages last season.
They could be catching Leipzig at a bad time too with Rose having recently welcomed Dani Olmo back from injury to improve what was already a pretty fearsome frontline.
Top scorer Lois Openda has turned out to be brilliant summer signing for Leipzig, as has loanee Xavi Simons, and Olmo comes back into a team averaging over two goals per game in the Bundesliga.
That attack will be going up against a Real defence that could potentially be operating without a recognised centre-half for the second game running.
Antonio Rudiger, Eder Militao, David Alaba and Nacho were all missing at the weekend and out of that quartet, only Nacho has been given an outside chance of playing on Tuesday.
Third-choice goalkeeper Andriy Lunin could also be between the sticks for Real, who will do well to register their first Champions League clean sheet of the season.
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Real have the ability to fight fire with fire though, even factoring in Bellingham’s absence. Vinicius Jr has looked sharp recently, while Rodrygo, Brahim Diaz, Joselu and Arda Guler have all made telling contributions at times this season.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side scored three times in each of their three away games in the group stage, while PSG and Man City are the only sides to have stopped them from scoring in their last 15 European road games.
The first legs of ties can be cagey but with Real potentially in a better place by the time the two sides met again in the second leg at the Bernabeu, RB Leipzig have to be positive.
Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals landed in all six of Leipzig’s group games and four of Real’s matches in the group stage and is fancied to land again on Tuesday.
RB Leipzig vs Real Madrid Tip 1: Both teams to score & over 2.5 goals – 20/23 with BoyleSports
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Openda on the money
Gambling sites make Leipzig’s Openda the favourite to score at any time in the first leg and maintain his recent good run of form in front of goal.
The Belgian has netted in each of Leipzig’s last four games and could have had more than one against Augsburg at the weekend, failing to convert a late penalty.
Openda will need to put that mistake out of his mind as he bids to add to his tally of four goals in six Champions League games and should relish facing a Real defence potentially without a recognised centre-back.
Only Harry Kane (18.1) has a better expected goals figure than Openda (13.9) in the Bundesliga this season, while he’s averaging over two shots on target per game domestically and exactly two in the Champions League.
Three of Openda’s Champions League goals this season came against Manchester City, indicating he’s no flat-track bully and enjoys the challenge of tangling with a member of Europe’s elite.
Shopping around the goalscorer markets on football betting sites is usually wise in games that promise plenty of goals. But on this occasion, it’s tough to look past Openda.
RB Leipzig vs Real Madrid Tip 2: Lois Openda to score at any time – 13/8 with bet365
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Simons to put Vazquez to the test
There’s some debate over who will start at right-back for Real Madrid with either Lucas Vazquez or Dani Carvajal in line for the job. Given Real’s centre-back issues, Carvajal likely plays at the heart of Real’s defence with Vazquez on the right.
Whoever starts at full-back, it may be worth checking out their foul line with Real’s right-back facing a testing night against Xavi Simons.
The Netherlands international is enjoying an excellent season with Leipzig, registering a total of 16 goal contributions (seven goals, nine assists) since joining on loan from Paris Saint-Germain.
He tends to drift out to the left hand side, where he likes to put his dribbling skills to good use and go past the full-back.
Since November, he’s averaged over five take-ons per game in his last 11 appearances, according to Fbref. Unsurprisingly, he’s RB Leipzig’s most fouled player.
Expected starter Vazquez has conceded 16 fouls this season, including three in his last game against Girona last weekend. He can expect an even tougher test on Tuesday.
RB Leipzig vs Real Madrid Tip 3: Lucas Vazquez over 1.5 fouls – 4/6 with William Hill
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Chris is an experienced sports betting writer who has worked with most major bookmakers and national media outlets, such as Racing Post and ITN. He covers a wide range of sports with his favourites being NFL, rugby, football and Formula 1.