Roma 4.00 v Real Madrid 1.75; The Draw 3.65
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What do you do when your overachieving coach begins to struggle to live up to the high standard that he has set? Replace him with a previous overachieving coach who began to struggle to live up to the high standard he set of course, which is why Roma sacked Rudi Garcia last month to reinstate Luciano Spalletti, who also achieved successive second places in the late-2000s.
The early rewards for the reunion have been rich, with an unremarkable opening in which they were held at home by bottom club Verona and beaten away by champions Juventus making way for four wins in a row, placing them a mere two points off the pace for another top-three finish.
That momentum is complemented by not having too many injury concerns. Youngster Elio Capradossi is the sole confirmed absentee, with Vasilis Torosidis, Daniele De Rossi, Francesco Totti and Mohamed Salah doubts.
Of course both of these squads are no longer led by the coaches who guided them into the Champions League last 16, with Real Madrid ditching Rafael Benitez at the start of the year and promoting their reserve boss Zinedine Zidane.
It has gone pretty well so far, with his six games delivering five victories, three of them by margins of four goals or more, though they were held away by out-of-sorts Real Betis and remain four points adrift of Barcelona having played a fixture more, positioning this as their best shot at silverware.
They head to Italy without Gareth Bale, Pepe and young left back Abner, while a shoulder complaint threatens Marcelo's participation.
Both teams are in form which is perhaps artificially enhanced by new manager booms, and it is for that reason that Real Madrid look rather layable as 1.75 favourites.
Three of the five sides that Zidane has dismissed have been in the bottom five of La Liga and none have been in the top six, with the average position of their opponents to date under the Frenchman being 14th, so it is far too soon to salute him as an upgrade on Benitez.
Even against such lowly foes, the evidence on the road hasn't been too convincing, with the aforementioned draw at Betis being followed by a late win at second-bottom Granada, which was in fact their first travelling success in four in all competitions.
The continental story is similar: their only victories in five came against Malmo FF and Shakhtar, as Atletico Madrid and Paris St-Germain both shut them out and Juventus defeated them.
The mention of Juventus introduces another fear-inducing theme for the ten-time European champions - the Blancos are winless in a whopping eight trips to Italy and, more extraordinarily still, they have been eliminated in their last eight two-legged showdowns with Italian adversaries. Roma were one of those at this stage in 2007/08, conquering them 2-1 in each leg.
Spalletti's men have lost just once all season at the Stadio Olimpico despite the perception that they have underperformed, with that setback occurring eight home matches ago.
The Giallorossi also got through their three group ties in front of their fans unbeaten regardless of collecting the fewest points of any club who progressed (six), taking a point from holders Barcelona. That was the only of their last three as hosts against Spanish guests that they didn't triumph in.
Both Teams to Score
This 1.40 proposition paid out in five of Roma's six Group E ties and each of their past four home encounters across all competitions, as well as being a winner in four of Real Madrid's last five games, and their three beyond the Bernabeu since the turn of the year.
Lay Real Madrid to win @ 1.75
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