Barcelona and AC Milan met four times in the Champions League last term, with the Blaugrana ultimately coming out on top, with two victories and two draws, culminating in a 3-1 aggregate success at the quarter final stage.
Bookies expect the Catalans giants to again have the upper hand as the teams renew hostilities in this season’s first knockout stage, Hills pricing them at 1/7 to qualify and Paddy Power installing the La Liga leaders as 4/7 favourites to secure a first leg lead in the San Siro.
The statistics undoubtedly point to the visitors, who have lost just twice in their previous 24 European outings while the hosts have managed only one victory in their last ten attempts in the knockout rounds.
However, Barca’s odds are skinny enough, especially as domestically Milan are in decent shape so it could be advisable to seek value elsewhere and where better to look than the goal scorer markets where Lionel Messi is the man to side with.
The Argentine wizard has racked up a remarkable 56 goals in his 74 Champions League matches and is in unstoppable form to boot. Coral’s 9/4 for Messi to notch first stands out then and BetVictor offer identical odds for him to help himself to two or more goals.
In the night’s other clash, Galatasaray are 5/4 (Stan James) to make the most of home advantage against a Schalke side struggling for form in the Bundesliga and the match winner in last season’s final, Didier Drogba, is 5/1 via bet365 to notch first for his new side.