Omens suggest Real Madrid can rally from shock Wolfsburg loss

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Real Madrid’s stature within the Champions League is so grand that, even after a shock 2-0 defeat to Wolfsburg in the first leg of their quarter-final tie, Ladbrokes make them an odds-on chance to qualify.

Goals from Ricardo Rodriguez and Maximilian Arnold ensured the Germans head to Spain with a significant buffer. However, the Wolves have been handed the same price – 17/20 – as Los Blancos to progress to the final four.

Players of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema’s calibre ensure a certain level of respect is retained for Zinedine Zidane’s men in that market. But the La Liga giants are also given a significant boost by the history books, which shows that the leading Champions League contenders rarely stutter twice in a tie.

Madrid’s defeat was the fifth time they, Barcelona or Bayern Munich had lost a Champions League knockout-round first leg in the last six seasons. On each of the previous four, the bigger club recovered in the second leg:

Porto 3 Bayern Munich 1 – 2014/15 Quarter Final

At the same stage last season it was Pep Guardiola’s Bavarians that were the surprise slow starters. They travelled to Portugal expected to open up an advantage over their opponents, but returned home facing the same two-goal deficit that Madrid must now overcome.

Unlike Los Blancos, Bayern collected an away goal for their troubles, although that mattered little when they thumped Porto 6-1 in the return.

Milan 2 Barcelona 0 – 2012/13 Round of 16

All of the other recent upsets occurred in the round of 16, with AC Milan the latest to achieve shock status.

Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari moved on from manning Portsmouth’s midfield to score the goals that beat Barcelona at the San Siro, but could do nothing to stop the Catalan club romping to a 4-0 win at the Camp Nou.

Basel 1 Bayern Munich 0 – 2011/12 Round of 16

Valentin Stocker’s strike three minutes from time gave the Swiss underdogs the advantage heading into the second leg at the Allianz Arena.

Sadly, dreams of a huge Basel scalp were dashed unceremoniously with a 7-0 hammering and four goals for Mario Gomez back in Germany.

Arsenal 2 Barcelona 1 – 2010/11 Round of 16

The Gunners trailed David Villa’s opener heading into the final 15 minutes of the Emirates tie, only to stun the Blaugrana with a one-two punch from Robin van Persie and Andrei Arshavin.

A red card for the former of that goal-scoring pair, with the second leg delicately poised at 1-1, turned the tie in Barca’s favour, who progressed to the last eight with a 4-3 aggregate win.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.