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First leg mauling leaves Leverkusen going through the motions

Bayer Leverkusen have won three of six matches with French opposition since the turn of the century, but none of those past victorious scorelines would be enough to knock PSG out of the Champions League or even force extra time.

Laurent Blanc’s boys hold a sizeable advantage of four away goals. Coral have closed the book on PSG qualifying for the quarter-finals, but punters can still back the Parisians to win their home leg at 2/5.

Sami Hyypia and Leverkusen face insurmountable odds here. They are 7/1 to win at the Parc des Princes in 90 minutes and massive 200/1 outsiders on advancing from this tie. Odds on a 5-0 away victory, and PSG to utterly collapse, are remote at 300/1.

The hosts have averaged three goals per game since putting four past Bundesliga outfit Leverkusen, who are rank 5000/1 outsiders to win this competitions. Take odds of 10/1 if you fancy PSG (and the same price to lift the European Cup) to net that many without reply here.

Blanc has confirmed that midfielder pair Blaise Matuidi and Marco Verratti are being rested as a precaution because of injury doubts. They will sit this one out alongside Netherlands right back Gregory van der Wiel.

In the absence of engine room powerhouse Matuidi and young playmaker Verratti, former Newcastle United star Yohan Cabaye and teenager Adrien Rabiot are set to start. Back Cabaye at 10/3 and Rabiot at 6/1 for goals from midfield.

PSG will take no chances on rotation in attack, however. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is in the hunt for the Champions League Golden Boot, and is 15/8 second-favourite to win it. He bagged a brace in the first leg, so back the star Swedish striker for two goals or more again at 2/1.

Making any case at all for Leverkusen is difficult. Hyypia’s team last won on February 7th, slumping to five straight defeats before drawing last time out. This woeful form simply means PSG will progress.

Handicap betting looks the best way for punters to make money here. Give hosts PSG a two-goal deficit in this market and enjoy odds of 27/10. There is scope to be bolder than this though, given the above stat of Blanc’s boys averaging three per game.

Punters that pile money on PSG starting with a handicap of three goals down get the hugely attractive price of 13/2. Take these odds now as they should rapidly shorten after kick-off.