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  2. Champions League

Champions League: Matchday four promises fireworks

The Champions League returns on Tuesday evening as the battle to reach the knockout stages really starts to heat up with three group-stage matches remaining.

German giants Bayern Munich could seal their qualification from Group E when they host Benfica, while managerless Barcelona bid to keep their own dreams alive when they visit Dynamo Kyiv in the same section.

United aim for Atalanta double

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United needed some last-gasp Cristiano Ronaldo magic to defeat Atalanta at Old Trafford a fortnight ago and now the Red Devils head to Bergamo looking for three points which would take them a long way towards escaping Group F.

FC Salzburg lead the way in Group G and will also qualify if they can defeat Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena, but the battle to finish second in that section - a three-way go between the Wolves, Sevilla and Lille - has the potential for plenty of twists and turns over the next three matches.

Juventus are a perfect three-from-three in Group H, but the Old Lady will be well aware of the threat posed by Zenit St Petersburg when they head to Russia looking to seal their progress.

Defending champions Chelsea, meanwhile, bid to keep tabs on Juve when they head to Malmo.

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Bet365 have priced up several Tuesday Champions League Specials, including the highest scoring team, and it will not surprise anyone to learn that brilliant Bayern top the market to notch the most goals from the eight Tuesday fixtures.

Bayern banging in the goals

The free-scoring Bavarians average an awesome 3.8 goals per game in the Bundesliga this season, including 20 goals in five matches at the Allianz Arena, and their Champions League exploits (12 goals in three matches) are just as impressive.

Julian Nagelsmann's team needed time to break through against Benfica two weeks ago but, once Leroy Sane broke the deadlock in the 70th minute, they really went through the gears to run out 4-0 winners.

Bayern can be backed at 5/2 to score the most goals in the Champions League this evening.

Chelsea also enjoyed a 4-0 triumph when they hosted Malmo on matchday three and the Blues are 7/2 to lead the scoring charts this evening, but, with Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner both on the sidelines, will they really cut loose again in the early kick-off?

Thomas Tuchel's men have scored more than three goals on just two occasions this season, but their Swedish opponents have looked woefully out of their depth in Europe, conceding 11 goals in three comprehensive defeats.

Yellow Submarine not sinking

Villarreal will want to keep the pressure on Manchester United in Group F and they are 7/1 to run riot against Young Boys, who they defeated 4-1 in Switzerland on matchday three.

The 2020-21 Europa League winners had been in fine scoring form, but they registered just one shot on target in a La Liga defeat against Valencia at the weekend.

Barca are 11/1 to rack up the most goals when they visit Dynamo, although three points will be more than enough for the struggling Catalans, while Juve are 11/1 taking on Zenit, although the Russians have shipped just two goals in the competition.

At bigger prices, United and Atalanta both catch the eye with another high-octane clash potentially on the cards at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia.

Red Devils secure Spurs boost

United flexed their attacking muscles against sorry Spurs at the weekend, bouncing back from their Liverpool humbling with a 3-0 victory, and Solskjaer can't really afford to let his team take their foot off the gas in Bergamo given the tight composition of Group F.

Gasperini, meanwhile, might well consider attack to be the best form of defence, although it's perhaps a stretch to expect the Goddess to outscore the likes of Bayern or Chelsea - even up against a brittle United backline.

Bet365 are also betting on how many goals will be scored across all eight Tuesday games with the over-under line set at 24.5 goals (9/10 - each of two) - a tally which is yet to be exceeded in any of the first three rounds of matches involving Groups E-H.

Goals on the increase

Matchday one was a typically cagey affair which saw only 16 goals scored across the eight fixtures, but the goal tallies have increased since. A total of 22 were scored in the second round of fixtures, while matchday three, which mirrors this round, featured 24 goals.

Under 21.5 goals to be scored is 5/2, but with some teams required to take a few risks to keep their ambitions intact, a more interesting bet could be the 9/4 about over 27.5 goals.

At an average of 3.5 goals per game, it's an admittedly high bar but high-scoring European nights are far from unheard of and that figure looks far from insurmountable, although it might require a couple of wide-margin wins from Europe's big boys.

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