UEFA Champions League 1st Leg - Tuesday

Written by Jesse Nagel for Soccer Betting NewsFollow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!

With the group stage of the UEFA Champions League done and dusted, leaving us with nothing short of blissful memories, we look on to the round of 16 – with some mouth-watering encounters sure to leave you on the edge of your seat.

Arsenal will hope it will be a case of third time lucky when they host Barcelona in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie. The Gunners are looking to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2010 but know that it will be tough to get past the Champions League holders.

Last season’s runners-up Juventus host Pep Guardiola’s Bavarian giants Bayern Munich. With various reports saying that Massimiliano Allegri could be on his way to England next season, and Pep already announced as Manchester City boss from the 1st of June, both managers will hope to leave their successors with European Champions.

Tuesday 23 February

Arsenal 38/10 
Draw 31/10
Barcelona 13/20

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Juventus 19/10
Draw 2/1
Bayern Munich 15/10

The Italian Champions host the German Champions. One of which won’t play any further part of the competition after their second leg. This is why you make sure that you win your group!

Juventus missed out on finishing as group leaders after they lost 1-0 away to Sevilla on the final matchday of the group stages. The loss meant that Manchester City would overtake them after the Sky Blues managed a victory over Borussia Monchengladbach. The Old Lady finished as runners-up last season after they lost to Barcelona in the final. Juve would have some advantage this time round though if they were to make it to the finals of the competition knowing that it will be held in Milan, Italy.

The Bianconeri are on a 16-match unbeaten home run in the Champions League with 10 wins. As a matter of fact, it was the Bavarians who last beat them on home soil dating back when the sides last met in 2013. Juventus will look to unleash Mario Mandzukic who will welcome the return of his old club Bayern Munich. The Croatian striker has never scored against Bayern in four attempts playing for Wolfsburg – but what a time it would be to start. Alongside Mandzukic will be Paulo Dybala. The Argentine has been in prolific form so far this season and is the club's leading goalscorer. Dybala has received massive praise from the likes of Diego Maradona, Sergio Aguero and even Lionel Messi. The young talented striker will prove to be a menace against Bayern and will be tough to stop, knowing the type of runs he makes.

When speaking of young prolific talents, another name that pops into your head is Paul Pogba. The Frenchman is undoubtedly the Old Lady’s key player in midfield. Juve look their best when they play as a team, but when it’s time to put in that extra individual work, it’s Pogba you turn to. He’s carried the Italian giants on his back many times this season after a very poor start to their league domestically. Storming up and down the pitch with great pace and a high work-rate, Pogba has managed to turn defence into attack and cause havoc for the opposing team.

Onto Bayern Munich, who dominated their group, winning five of their six matches played, scoring 19 goals and conceding just three times. The Bavarians have a decent record against Italian opposition and enjoyed their biggest away win in the Champions League the last time they visited Italy, beating AS Roma 7-1 in last season’s group stage. With Pep Guardiola’s future finally determined, his Bayern side will hope to leave their manager with a Champions League winners medal before he makes the switch to Man City.

The Bavarians will look to Manuel Neuer to stop the likes of Pogba, Dybala and Mandzukic who will be pushing to get a goal against his former employers. While we’re on the topic of former players, Arturo Vidal and Kingsley Coman will hope to claim bragging rights against Juve. Vidal spent four seasons in Turin where he was instrumental in midfield, leading the Old Lady to four Serie A titles. Coman was another player who was vital for the Italian outfit and will certainly prove to be a threat if given the chance. Up front, Robert Lewandowski will be leading the line with Thomas Muller just behind him, giving opposing defenders all sorts of headaches when they attack in numbers. This has all the makings of a final. I can definitely see Bayern finding the net here but my money is on Juventus to pull off a home win at 19/10.

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