The holders travel to Germany to face old boy Alex Hleb while former Barcelona star Laurent Blanc brings his French dark horses to Athens for a clash with Olympiacos. Goal.com looks ahead to the games and picks out some bets for you to make some money on…

Christian Gross will need more than an underground ticket to overcome the Barcelona express to the Champions League final in the Bernabeu. The Swiss coach, who famously flashed his metro pass to the press when he became manager of Tottenham Hotspur in 1997, has turned the fortunes of VfB Stuttgart around since succeeding Markus Babbel in December.

Now he returns to the Champions League, where his reign with Die Roten began with a three-goal romp inside the first ten minutes against Unirea Urziceni which booked their passage to the last 16. Barcelona are an altogether different proposition to the plucky Romanians, with Pep Guardiola’s side the red hot favourites to retain their crown.

Barca though will have to overcome history to keep the Champions League in the Camp Nou trophy cabinet. No side has successfully retained the tournament in its present format and last year Manchester United were the first holders since 1997 to reach the final the following season.

The Blaugrana recently lost their unbeaten record in La Liga and will be looking to bounce back in style against unfancied opposition. Injuries though are a worry with the Catalans midfield general Xavi Hernandez set to miss the tie and there are concerns over the fitness of Yaya Toure and Dani Alves.

One man who has seen all those players, usually from the substitutes bench, is Aliaksandr Hleb, who spent a frustrating campaign at Barca last season. Now back with Stuttgart, the talented Belarussian has found favour under his new coach and will be keen to extract some revenge on the club where he remains under contract.

Star forward Pavel Pogrebnyak has two goals already in the competition and should cause problems in the air whilst his side have been in good goalscoring form since Gross was appointed, smashing five past Koeln over the weekend.

travels in the group stage, and with several players missing you’ll get good odds on a draw. If you think Guardiola’s men will sweep them aside as they did Christian Gross’s Basel last season you’ll find attractive odds on this game being the match with the highest winning margin.

Along with Bayern Munich, Laurent Blanc’s Bordeaux are the dark horses for the Champions League. Despite beating the Bavarians home and away in the group stage, the French side’s odds are longer (at 25/1) to go all the way. A potential encounter with Blanc’s former club Barcelona in the next round may have something to do with it.

For now the reigning French champions travel to Greece to take on an Olympiacos side who won all three of their home games in the group stage, conceding only one goal in the process. A good result in Athens is essential if they are to give themselves any hope of progressing.

Kostas Mitroglou will be the point man for the Greeks and he has impressed many since scoring in both legs in last year’s play-offs to reach the Champions League. Recently called up to the Greece national side, the striker has the talent and self confidence to make an impression in this match.

French club to lift the Champions League since Marseille’s controversial triumph in 1993. Coach Blanc is being courted by a host of top European clubs and a continental double would surely make his departure from the south-west inevitable.

With a crunch encounter against Ligue 1 surprise package Montpellier sandwiched between the Champions League ties, the cultured ex-defender will be content with a score draw in what is sure to be an intimidating atmosphere. For the record, Bordeaux took seven points away from home in the group stage whilst Olympiacos picked up a single point on their travels.

Read the article on Goal.com

Champions League Special: What Odds A Gross Upset For Barca Or Bordeaux To Draw A Blanc In Greece?

The holders travel to Germany to face old boy Alex Hleb while former Barcelona star Laurent Blanc brings his French dark horses to Athens for a clash with Olympiacos. Goal.com looks ahead to the games and picks out some bets for you to make some money on…

Christian Gross will need more than an underground ticket to overcome the Barcelona express to the Champions League final in the Bernabeu. The Swiss coach, who famously flashed his metro pass to the press when he became manager of Tottenham Hotspur in 1997, has turned the fortunes of VfB Stuttgart around since succeeding Markus Babbel in December.

Now he returns to the Champions League, where his reign with Die Roten began with a three-goal romp inside the first ten minutes against Unirea Urziceni which booked their passage to the last 16. Barcelona are an altogether different proposition to the plucky Romanians, with Pep Guardiola’s side the red hot favourites to retain their crown.

Barca though will have to overcome history to keep the Champions League in the Camp Nou trophy cabinet. No side has successfully retained the tournament in its present format and last year Manchester United were the first holders since 1997 to reach the final the following season.

The Blaugrana recently lost their unbeaten record in La Liga and will be looking to bounce back in style against unfancied opposition. Injuries though are a worry with the Catalans midfield general Xavi Hernandez set to miss the tie and there are concerns over the fitness of Yaya Toure and Dani Alves.

One man who has seen all those players, usually from the substitutes bench, is Aliaksandr Hleb, who spent a frustrating campaign at Barca last season. Now back with Stuttgart, the talented Belarussian has found favour under his new coach and will be keen to extract some revenge on the club where he remains under contract.

Star forward Pavel Pogrebnyak has two goals already in the competition and should cause problems in the air whilst his side have been in good goalscoring form since Gross was appointed, smashing five past Koeln over the weekend.

travels in the group stage, and with several players missing you’ll get good odds on a draw. If you think Guardiola’s men will sweep them aside as they did Christian Gross’s Basel last season you’ll find attractive odds on this game being the match with the highest winning margin.

Along with Bayern Munich, Laurent Blanc’s Bordeaux are the dark horses for the Champions League. Despite beating the Bavarians home and away in the group stage, the French side’s odds are longer (at 25/1) to go all the way. A potential encounter with Blanc’s former club Barcelona in the next round may have something to do with it.

For now the reigning French champions travel to Greece to take on an Olympiacos side who won all three of their home games in the group stage, conceding only one goal in the process. A good result in Athens is essential if they are to give themselves any hope of progressing.

Kostas Mitroglou will be the point man for the Greeks and he has impressed many since scoring in both legs in last year’s play-offs to reach the Champions League. Recently called up to the Greece national side, the striker has the talent and self confidence to make an impression in this match.

French club to lift the Champions League since Marseille’s controversial triumph in 1993. Coach Blanc is being courted by a host of top European clubs and a continental double would surely make his departure from the south-west inevitable.

With a crunch encounter against Ligue 1 surprise package Montpellier sandwiched between the Champions League ties, the cultured ex-defender will be content with a score draw in what is sure to be an intimidating atmosphere. For the record, Bordeaux took seven points away from home in the group stage whilst Olympiacos picked up a single point on their travels.

Read the article on Goal.com

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