Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side’s second goal during the Champions League group B soccer match between Real Madrid and Inter Milan at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
- Group B is still a toss-up after a wild Matchday 5
- Borussia Monchengladbach currently lead with eight points, while Shakhtar and Real Madrid are just a point behind with Inter also in reaching distance
- Who are the best bets to advance out of this group? Get our preview and best bets below
For the most part, things have gone as expected in the first stages of the Champions League. But in Group B, it’s been an absolute dogfight to this point as to who could advance to the last 16. Matchday 5 saw Shakhtar upset Real Madrid in a 2-0 victory after consecutive defeats to group leaders Borussia Monchengladbach.
Then in the other fixture, the Germans had the opportunity to book their ticket in the next round against Inter, who needed a victory to stay alive. A VAR offside ruled out Alassane Plea’s equalizer late in the second half, with the Italian giants taking away three points in a nailbiting 3-2 victory.
With that being said, everyone in this group can still advance heading into the last fixture of this stage next week.
Champions League Group B Odds
|Team||Odds to Qualify||Odds to Win|
Odds taken Dec 2 at DraftKings
Gladbach Have Been the Class of Group
For the first time ever, Borussia Monchengladbach has the opportunity to advance to the round of 16 in Europe’s most prestigious competition. Rightfully so, as Marco Rose’s side have heavily impressed to this point. A draw at the San Siro on Matchday 1 was definitely a positive result, followed by another point in Madrid the following week, although they did blow a 2-0 lead.
Gladbach did respond though with two thrashing performances against Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk, beating them 6-0 and 4-0. Frenchman Alassane Plea has been the class of this side in Europe, already netting five times while also tallying three assists. His strike partner in Marcus Thuram has also been a crucial piece of their attack, scoring a brace and setting up another two goals. This duo is arguably one of the deadliest in Europe and a huge reason they’re even at this point in the Champions League.
Although it ended in a defeat, Tuesday’s performance against Inter was gutsy as can be. After going down 3-1 in the 73rd minute, Monchengladbach hit back with a goal just two minutes later from Plea, then scored again just before injury time, but it was canceled out due to an offside call from VAR. It was a controversial call, to say the least, but this squad showed real quality to crawl back into this match. Despite the loss, they still sit at the top of the group heading into a massive clash with Madrid next Wednesday.
Can Los Blancos Turn Things Around?
It’s been an up and down campaign for Real Madrid in UCL play, with just seven points to show for through five games. They’ve beat Inter twice, but have lost on both occasions to Shakhtar, a squad who they should handle without any issues.
In La Liga, they’ve also had their struggles, currently sitting in fourth spot and a whole seven points behind league-leaders Real Sociedad. As for this Champions League group, Zinedine Zidane’s side is still well in the running. Gladbach outclassed them last time out, but Los Blancos were able to claw back and score a double within the last five minutes to secure a point.
A victory is a must next week against the Bundesliga side. A draw could possibly get them through depending on the Inter/Shakhtar result and goal difference, but the safest bet would be to grab three points.
Shakhtar, Inter Still In the Mix
The Ukrainian giants have held their own in this year’s Champions League campaign, currently tied with Madrid on seven points. Having beaten the Spaniards on two occasions already is a massive feat in itself, but they also found a point in their first meeting with Inter. Obviously, their two defeats to Gladbach were embarrassing, but they can still find a way out of this group with a positive result against Antonio Conte’s men next week.
Now it looks better 🧡
— FC SHAKHTAR ENGLISH (@FCShakhtar_eng) December 1, 2020
For the second year in a row, Inter is on the verge of bowing out in the group stage. They’ve won just once through five appearances and frankly, will need a miracle to advance. But if the Nerazzurri can beat Donetsk by a healthy margin and Madrid loses or ties against Gladbach, they’ll still have a fighting chance.
It’s hard to imagine Real Madrid not going through to the next round. As one of the most successful clubs in the history of European football, I don’t see them being eliminated this early, despite their poor form.
I do think Zidane’s men will secure a victory against Monchengladbach next week. Even with this happening, the Germans will hold a good enough goal differential regardless, even if Inter does win. I’m going with Madrid as the winners of this group and Gladbach as the runners up.
Pick: Winners: Real Madrid -175, To Qualify: Borussia Monchengladbach -112
Quinn Allen is a sports journalist, with a background and education in broadcast journalism (BCIT ’17). He writes about European Football, Basketball, and Baseball for numerous sites across the globe.