After Last Week’s Shocks, Who Wins This Week’s Champions League Games?
In the Champions League last week, we had something of an extravaganza of surprise results and shock victories which left several of the top contenders for this year’s tournament eliminated, and some of the less-fancied teams making their way through to the quarterfinals.
Tottenham kicked things off nicely in Dortmund where they withstood a first half barrage from the home side before Harry Kane slotted home a second half goal which ended the tie and with Dortmund barely able to muster a shot on goal after the break, Spurs hung on to record a 1-0 win on the night and a comfortable 4-0 win on aggregate.
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The real shock on Tuesday night came in the Bernebeu however as Real Madrid, leading 2-1 from the first leg in Amsterdam, succumbed to a 4-1 home thrashing by Ajax. It was no fluke either, the Dutch side dominating the game from start to finish and thoroughly deserving the margin of their victory, which eventually saw Santiago Solari lose his job as Real boss in the aftermath,
Then on Wednesday night the shocks continued where in Oporto, Porto defeated Roma 3-1 on the night after extra time to claim a place in the quarterfinals at the expense of last year’s beaten semi-finalists, while in the game in Paris, Manchester United recorded a stunning 3-1 win over PSG to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the home leg and claim an unlikely place in the quarterfinals.
This means that the remaining four ties will see four teams join those four winners in what promises to be a rather different looking quarterfinals than has been the case in previous seasons, with a number of top teams already eliminated, and the prospect that a few more could go by the wayside in the games this week.
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We have previewed each of the four games below as well as bringing you our tips for the result on the night and what is the best bet available for each game.
Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg
Tuesday 12th March (8pm Kick Offs)
Juventus (0) v (2) Atletico Madrid
For me, although there is a two-goal difference between the teams, the largest of the night, I feel this is the game which has the potential for the most drama on the evening. Atletico were superb in establishing their 2-0 lead in the home leg but now they go to Turin to face a Juventus side that are unbeaten at home this season.
Having invested €90m in Cristiano Ronaldo at the start of the season, Juventus will want a return on that from their main man who has had a solid first season in Italy but who has been off the pace he usually sets in the Champions League this season.
While Juve’s home form is indubitable, Atletico are arguably one of the teams best capable of exploiting this as they are a superb defensive outfit and well capable of defending their lead for 90 minutes if they are forced too, all the while offering real threat on the counter attack which could well test that Juventus defence.
I can see this one going the way of the home side but something tells me there is going to be a twist in the tail somewhere.
Top Tip – Juventus should do just about enough to win this one and if they can keep a clean sheet, they could do it, but I feel Atletico are so dangerous on the counter that they will score and that should be enough for them to go through. Back Juventus to win and both teams score at 10/3 at bet365.
Manchester City (3) v (2) Schalke 04
A dramatic evening in Gelsenkirchen saw Manchester City go 2-1 down and be reduced to ten men, both due to VAR decisions before the 10-man visitors produced a stunning late come back to score two goals through ex-Schalke star Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling in order to take a 3-2 lead with them back to the Etihad this week.
Any slim chance Schalke 04 had of an upset seemed to evaporate with this defeat to City in Germany and while last week’s games produced a number of upsets, I am entirely confident that this one won’t and that Manchester City will progress into the quarterfinals with relative ease and likely by a fair few goals too.
Schalke 04’s form this season has been shocking in the Bundesliga and only slightly improved in Europe whereas Manchester City have been superb in the Premier League and are looking much stronger in Europe too, although their performances have not been as confident in Europe as they have been domestically.
Even so, this is a game City will win and win well in my view.
Top Tip – Manchester City to win and both teams to score – No – 4/5 at bet365.
Wednesday 13th March (8pm Kick Off)
Barcelona (0) v (0) Lyon
Barcelona’s home record in European competition is one of the most impressive of any team in Europe and it would be foolish to think that they are not going to get the win they need in order to eliminate Lyon at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night.
A team packed with talent consisting of the likes of Suarez, Dembele,Coutinho and the genius of Lionel Messi should have more than enough attacking flair to see off the French side, or will they?
Barcelona still have defensive issues and Lyon have shown themselves to be very adept at exploiting these against teams, especially when away from home. Remember, the French side did earn four points against Manchester City in the group stages of the tournament and if they can do that against City, then they can do likewise here.
It is also worth remembering that Lyon don’t need to win here to progress. Any victory for the French side, or a draw that sees goals scored, will put Lyon through and with the attacking players they have, Barcelona’s defence is going to be really tested.
Top Tip – I can’t quite see another massive shock in Spain like there was at the Bernebeu last week, but I am backing Lyon to make it tricky for Barcelona. Back Barcelona to win and both teams to score which is an 8/5 chance at bet365.
Bayern Munich (0) v (0) Liverpool
Bayern Munich will start as the clear favourites to win this game after a goalless first leg at Anfield. The reason being that since Liverpool beat FC Porto and Manchester City away in the Champions League last season, they have lost every one of the five matches they have played away from their home ground since, including last year’s final in Kyiv.
Defeats to Roma, Real Madrid, Napoli, Paris St Germain and Red Star Belgrade have made this a very tough game for Liverpool, especially against a Bayern Munich side that have found their form after a somewhat poor start to the season by their own high standards.
Munich warmed up for this game with a 6-0 thrashing of Wolfsburg and they have also had longer to prepare compared to the Reds, whose game with Burnley was switched to Sunday for TV coverage. All in all, it seems that most things seem to be pointing toward a victory for Bayern on the night and for the team to progress into the quarterfinals.
However, the last time these teams met in this competition was way back in 1981, after a 0-0 draw at Anfield, Liverpool snatched a 1-1 draw in Munich to move into the final of that competition. The Reds have done it in the past, can they do it again?
Top Tip – As much as we’d like to see all four English teams make it through to the quarterfinals, I think Liverpool are up against it here. I could see them sneaking through on away goals, but I think a Bayern win is much more likely. Hence, I am backing Bayern to win at 23/20 with bet365.