The second wave of the Round of 16 ties get underway in the UEFA Champions League this evening, but which teams are expected to progress? JD Football takes a look at the favourites to make it through to the quarter-finals.
Liverpool vs Bayern *Game of the week
These two giants have won 10 Champions League trophies (European Cups) combined; boasting five each. It’s last year’s finalists Liverpool against semi-finalists Bayern, who only narrowly lost to the winners Real Madrid 4-3 on aggregate.
Both teams are in second place in their respected leagues, but Liverpool will be hoping to flex their Premier League muscles after Tottenham (3rd) comfortably brushed aside the Bundesliga leaders Dortmund 3-0 last week.
Robert Lewandowski – the competition’s top scorer with 8 goals – will be the focus of Liverpool’s defence in the absence of their talismanic leader Virgil van Dijk (suspended).
Lyon vs Barcelona
Both teams head into this match with undefeated records from the group phase.
Lyon did this, despite sharing a group with Manchester City, although they drew five of their six group fixtures. The French team will be hoping to show the strength of their underappreciated league, and their recent victory against PSG suggests they are capable of producing in big games.
Barcelona still have Lionel Messi, and remain the top dogs of Spain, even if their domestic form has been overshadowed by Real Madrid’s recent Champions League dominance.
The Catalan giants are firm favourites to progress and one of the favourites to lift the trophy; anything other than a Blaugrana victory here would be a massive upset.
Atlético Madrid vs Juventus
Los Rojiblancos have the extra incentive of having the final played at their Wanda Metropolitano stadium this year.
But drawing Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus was one of the worst ties they could have hoped for. Two recent league defeats and a cup upset to Girona has Diego Simeone’s team under pressure to deliver a big performance against the perennial Italian champions.
The Bianconeri remain undefeated in Serie A, and are starting to see real chemistry develop between Paulo Dybala and the former Real Madrid forward.
For the Old Lady, it is all about the Champions League; quite simply, nothing else matters. Just kings of Europe twice, Juventus will need to win this competition five more times to equal AC Milan’s seven triumphs.
Schalke vs Man City
Schalke came through arguably the weakest group in the competition in second place, and may require more than a slice of fortune to overcome a Manchester City team firing on all cylinders.
Sitting in 14th place in the Bundesliga, Die Knappen will be hoping to call on their European home form, which has seen them unbeaten in their last nine European games at the Veltins-Arena.
Pep Guardiola’s men are looking to take it up a notch after dominating domestically last year. A 9-0 demolition of Burton and a 6-0 thrashing of Chelsea points to a difficult two legs for the Germans.
READ about the other ties in the Round of 16
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