The second stanza of the Round of 16 continues with four enticing matchups taking place in midweek. There’s at least one strong contender in each tie, but all eight competitors will feel that they have a chance of going all the way in the competition.
Chelsea and Bayern Munich lock horns in a repeat of 2012’s final, while Barcelona also visit Napoli on Tuesday. The day after, Real Madrid and Manchester City do battle at the Santiago Bernabeu, while Cristiano Ronaldo and his Juventus teammates travel to Lyon.
Tuesday 25 February
Bayern Munich 15/20
In a repeat of 2012’s UEFA Champions League final, Stamford Bridge draws back its curtains as Chelsea and Bayern Munich lock horns in the first leg of the Round of 16. The Blues’ last three Champions League campaigns have all ended in the Round of 16, at the hands of either Barcelona (2017-18) or Paris Saint-Germain (2014-15, 2015-16). Since the group stages ended in December, Bayern Munich have won all but one of their games since, drawing only against Leipzig in the German Bundesliga.
The Bavarians have also proved to have a London charm about them in recent trips, claiming countless wins over Arsenal in past years, including that famous 10-2 aggregate scoreline. Earlier this campaign, they trounced Tottenham 7-2 in London and also went on to score 10 goals over two games against Chelsea’s rivals. It certainly won’t be that comfortable, but Bayern Munich are tipped to win the first leg in the English capital.
Barcelona will be looking to improve on their shocking away form in the UEFA Champions League when they take the trip to Italy to face Napoli. The Blaugrana have won only six of their last 16 away matches in European competition, drawing six and losing four.
Napoli, despite their struggles, finished second in Group E, just a point behind Liverpool. They also picked up seven points from their three home ties, including a resounding 2-0 win over the Reds. Barcelona have been dealt with a few key injuries, particularly to Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba, who will miss both of the two legs. A share of the spoils is on the cards here at 5/2.
Wednesday 26 February
Real Madrid 17/10
Manchester City 27/20
In what is undoubtedly the biggest tie of the round, 13-time winners, Real Madrid, prepare for their biggest showdown of the season when they host Manchester City. If history in this competition is anything to go by, the Spanish giants should find it relatively easy over two legs. But this Man City team mean business, and after being given a two-year UEFA ban, the English champions will want to bow out in style and claim their first-ever Champions League trophy.
In Pep Guardiola, City have a manager who has beaten Real Madrid countless times from his spell at Barcelona. UEFA’s verdict on Man City could be seen in two different ways; either they’ll fight for their lives, knowing that they won’t have another chance to win the competition for the next few years, while also looking at the fact that nothing could be more demoralising than knowing you’ll no longer be apart of a competition you’re still trying to compete in. Personally, I see it being a case of the latter. My money is on Real Madrid.
Old rivalries will be renewed when Lyon host Juventus at the Groupama Stadium. This will be the sides’ fifth match in the past six years, with the Old Lady boasting an excellent head-to-head record over the French giants, winning three of the first four. Lyon squeezed into the Last 16 as Group G runners-up, having picked up eight points from their six games, one more than both Benfica and Zenit.
The hosts know that they have a massive task on their hands, and they’ll have to do it without Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Memphis Depay, who are both ruled out through injury. Juventus have serial winners throughout their squad and have a five-time winner of the competition in Cristiano Ronaldo, who tends to shine in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League. My money is on Juve.
Tuesday DOUBLE Tipped @ 5/1
Bayern Munich Win 15/20
Napoli vs Barcelona Draw 5/2
Wednesday DOUBLE Tipped @ 4/1
Real Madrid Win 17/10
Juventus Win 9/10