Manchester City enters the last Champions League quarterfinal on Saturday as a massive favorite over Lyon, though manager Pep Guardiola remains wary of the French side.
The winner of Saturday’s match will take on Bayern Munich in the semifinals on Aug. 19.
City Seeks Champions League Breakthrough
City failed to win its third straight English Premier League title this year, but could still enjoy a breakthrough by reaching the Champions League final four for the first time under Guardiola.
Many oddsmakers expect City’s luck to change this year. City entered the quarterfinals as the favorite to win the tournament, and FanDuel currently lists the English side as a +210 pick to lift the trophy – behind only Bayern (+130), which has already gone through to the next round.
That’s largely because sportsbooks see City as close to a lock to advance to the semifinals. City comes in as an overwhelming -1300 pick to get past Lyon (+550).
Those odds are especially long considering this year’s Champions League format. From the quarterfinals on, teams will compete in single-elimination matches rather than two-leg ties. There will be no home or away matches, as Lisbon will serve as a neutral site bubble for the remainder of the tournament.
Lyon Seeks Inspiration from Rival PSG
Without a second game to fall back on, every team remains vulnerable to a shocking upset. Guardiola says his side is no exception.
“There is no second chance, it is back in Manchester or stay here four more days,” Guardiola told reporters. “The approach is completely different.”
Lyon knocked out Juventus in the Round of 16, winning on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw. The French side, which finished third in Ligue 1, will need to come up with something special to continue their run through the Champions League. But manager Rudi Garcia thinks his squad can take after their French rivals, Paris Saint-Germain, which scored twice late to overcome Atalanta in their quarterfinal.
“It would be historic to have two French clubs in the semifinals, we must be inspired by what PSG did,” Garcia told reporters. “Having eliminated Juventus, that must give us confidence. We want to stay a long time in Lisbon, even if City are the big favorites of this confrontation.”
Lyon sits far adrift of the rest of the field in terms of its odds to win the Champions League, with FanDuel listing the French side at +7000.
Bayern Drops Eight on Barca
In Friday’s quarterfinal, an impressive Bayern Munich side tore apart Barcelona by an 8-2 score, becoming the first team to tally eight goals in a single Champions League knockout-round match. While the match stood 1-1 after less than 10 minutes, Bayern never looked back, with Thomas Muller and Philippe Coutinho both netting two scores in the blowout.
While Bayern came into the match as a favorite, the result still devastated the Barcelona players.
“I’m in pain. We all are,” Barca defender Gerard Pique said after the match. “We can’t compete like that. It’s very, very tough to take. Nothing more is worth saying. The club needs changes. Not just the players, I don’t want to point out anyone. But football is a sport where change is constantly required.”