Champions League: Real Madrid host Shakhtar Donetsk in Group A
Real Madrid will be looking to wrestle back the Champions League from El Clasico rivals Barcelona this season, and are 5/1 third favourites with Coral to win the competition from an 11th time in its combined European Cup history.
Los Blancos kick off their campaign at home to Shakhtar Donetsk in Group A, and are heavily odds-on at 1/6 to record the win.
Manager Rafa Benitez, who was appointed in the summer, won the competition while in charge of Liverpool, so has pedigree in the competition and will be confident that his side can top the group.
Real haven’t met the Ukrainian outfit before, though the result should be relatively academic, with Shakhtar failing to strengthen adequately enough in the summer to present a strong enough challenge in Europe, following the high-profile departure of winger Douglas Costa to Bayern Munich.
They still have former Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva, who arrived on a free transfer and his anytime odds of 7/2 could be worth considering, with Croatian still possessing smart finishing abilities. Shakhtar’s main creative threat comes from Brazilian pair Bernard and Taison, who are 13/2 and 5/1 respectively to net anytime, while compatriot Alex Teixeira is a goal threat at 5/2 in the same market.
However, this could well be the Cristiano Ronaldo show. He recently became the club’s record La Liga goalscorer and will have his eye on even more records this season. To hit a hat-trick, the attacker is 6/1 and he could well run riot against a defence that really isn’t anything special.
Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale are both 7/2 to break the deadlock, though if Los Blancos are cruising by half time, Benitez may well give a chance to Jese Rodriguez, who at 22 is quickly becoming somewhat of a regular feature in Real’s squads. He is 6/4 to notch anytime.
Summer signing Mateo Kovacic could make his Champions League bow for Real though, and has odds of 7/2 to chip in with a goal.
Coral’s top tip: Cristiano Ronaldo to hit a hat-trick @ 6/1