One of the most exciting series in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 will have AS Roma hosting Real Madrid at the Stadio Olimpico, this Wednesday, February 17 at 20:45.
Not many think AS Roma have a shot to win this series, but their recent form is good enough to believe the series could be closer than expected. The Champions League odds listed the Giallorossi at 5.0 to upset Real Madrid and get to the quarterfinals; the Merengues are 1.17 to advance to the next round.
Roma realized in December they were not going anywhere with Rudy Garcia as a coach and they decided to fire him and give an old friend Luciano Spalletti another shot. They get to this point with four wins in a row, after taking care of Frosinone (3-1), Sassuolo (0-2), Sampdoria (2-1) and Carpi (1-2) in their last four fixtures.
“The change of Coach has changed the mentality. When there’s a change it must be because things are bad, and so things have to change”, said Roma Midfielder Seydou Keita to Roma Radio. “The mental aspect and the trust has changed, and things are going well at the moment with four straight wins. The team is improving bit-by-bit, but we’re on the right path.
Roma recorded only six points in the group stage under Garcia, but Real Madrid knows they are in for a good battle. The Merengues won 16 of the 18 points in the group stage, only drawing to PSG in Paris. Those numbers reveal why they are favorites.
“They’ll be going out to get the win, because for them it’s an important game and they’re at home,” Striker Karim Benzema told Real Madrid’s official website about Roma. “We need to be wary of the pace of their forwards, who can cause you problems, but we’re Real Madrid, and for me, we’re the best team in the world, and we’ve got the best defenders in the world.”
Madrid scored 19 goals in six matches during the group stage. Their 3.2 goals per game average tied Bayern Munich for the Champions League’s best this season. However, even if those numbers were great, the team let go manager Rafa Benitez to put Zinedine Zidane in charge.
Since Zidane took over the team has won five of their last six games, only drawing to Betis during that period. They have scored 23 goals in those six matches, allowing just six against.
The AS Roma v Real Madrid UCL Betting Odds for this match have the home team as the underdog paying 4.5 to get the win. The Merengues are 1.83 to win on Italian soil, and the draw is at 3.9.
These two teams hadn’t met since 2008 when Roma advanced in this same round by beating Real Madrid 2-1 in both encounters. The overall record between them is four wins for Madrid, three victories for Roma and one draw. The value in this match is to expect Roma to upgrade their effort by playing in front of their fans. Take the draw.