Benatia could come back to bite Roma as Bayern in Eternal City
Roma beat Bayern Munich 3-2 when they last hosted the German giants in Champions League action, and Coral make a repeat scoreline in their Group E game a 33/1 shot.
Pep Guardiola’s Bundesliga leaders start as odds-on 19/20 favourites for three points here, having parted with over £20m to poach French-born Morocco defender Mehdi Benatia from their opponents, and despite being stung in the Eternal City four years ago.
Bayern lost a two-goal lead as Roma icons Daniele De Rossi and Francesco Totti helped to turn things around. Rudi Garcia and his Giallorossi are 14/5 chances to upset Munich again, while a draw between the Serie A runners-up and champions of Germany is 12/5.
Happily for Guardiola, defensive lynchpin Benatia has helped the Allianz outfit keep four clean sheets in as many Bundesliga and Champions League outings for Munich. The odds on a shut-out in Rome are temptingly long for the visitors at 21/10, while a win to nil is even better at 29/10.
Benatia will have marked Totti in training throughout his stint with the Giallorossi last season, but if punters fancy the veteran to net again, after doing so against Manchester City in this competition, then take tasty odds of 9/4 in the anytime market. De Rossi, meanwhile, is 7/2 to be on target in this encounter.
Visiting talisman Thomas Muller is also in that ‘scored in this fixture before’ bracket, and he has averaged a goal every other game (five in 10) across all competitions this term. Odds of 9/5 say Muller, who got in on the act as Bayern hit Werder Bremen for six, will net anytime, and 6/1 he grabs the opener.
Mario Gotze bagged a brace against Bremen, but is 11/1 for a repeat performance or better against Roma, while Poland striker Robert Lewandowski has yet to break his Champions League duck for Munich and is 6/4 to do just that here.
Other Giallorossi threats for Guardiola to be wary of include Mattia Destro, who Garcia is managing carefully during the duo’s second season of working together. He is yet to unleash the Italy striker on this competition, but Destro is 9/4 to cap a European bow by scoring anytime.
As this game should shape who tops Group E, and with Roma rated remote 7/1 chances to pip Bayern to first place in the pool, it could be a tight, cagey contest. Strong defensive records for these respective sides mean a low-scoring contest cannot be ruled out by punters. Total goals being under 1.5 should be considered at odds of 10/3.