Described as the ‘greatest club competition in the world’, the UEFA Champions League is back for what is set to be another exciting campaign.
There are just four matches taking place this week. Premier League holders and six-time European kings Liverpool will face German high-fliers RB Leipzig on Tuesday, while Lionel Messi’s Barcelona will take on Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus play 2003-04 UCL champions Porto, while Europa League holders Sevilla are up against Borussia Dortmund.
Tuesday 16 February
Mauricio Pochettino will face a baptism of fire in his first Champions League game as PSG manager when visiting Barcelona. The Ligue 1 giants famously crashed to a 6-1 defeat at Camp Nou four years ago, having won the first leg 4-0, and were also beaten here twice during the 2014-15 campaign. Obviously, much has changed since then with Barcelona no longer the formidable team of old, while last year’s finalists Paris Saint-Germain are one of the outright favourites for the tournament. Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho going up against the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria promises to be fun to watch. This one has the makings of an entertaining affair, with the scoring draw available at 32/10.
Wednesday 17 February
Juventus head into this match as overwhelming favourites to beat Porto on Wednesday, but the Portuguese side should not be written off here. They finished second in Group C with an impressive five clean sheets to their name and more importantly highlighted their ability to tussle with the competition’s bigger names with their 0-0 draw against Manchester City. While the Italians undeniably boast a better squad than the Portuguese giants, they’ve been far from infallible since Andrea Pirlo took the reins. It might be a bold call, but I’m backing Porto on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 7/10.
Sevilla showed great spirit to battle through a series of tight tussles in the Europa League last term, beating Roma, Wolves, Manchester United and Inter Milan in the knockout rounds. The Spanish outfit have their sights set a little higher this year as they prepare for a tilt at the latter stages of the Champions League, but they face a tough test in Borussia Dortmund who finished top of Group F with 13 points to their name. The Bundesliga club boast one of the most exciting attacking line-ups in European football right now. Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho upfront, backed up by playmaker Gio Reyna and midfielders Jude Bellingham and Axel Witsel, plus wing-backs Thorgan Hazard and Thomas Meunier, means Edin Terzic’s side are capable of playing some scintillating stuff. Sevilla are very tough, but Dortmund have too many weapons up front and I back them to prevail.
Liverpool Win 21/20
Barcelona vs PSG – Draw & BTTS 32/10
Porto Win/Draw 7/10
Dortmund Win 19/10