The first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 did not disappoint in terms of goals, upsets, and drama.
While some ties appear delicately poised, some teams will need a miracle to overturn their huge first-leg deficits.
Erling-Braut Haaland and Kylian Mbappe are set to continue their rivalry this week for the race to be this season’s top scorer.
Four round of 16 ties will be concluded this week with plenty of excitement in store.
Juventus VS FC Porto (Allianz Stadium)
This fixture promises goals and plenty of excitement. Porto holds a slender 2-1 first-leg lead coming into this fixture. However, Juventus will be eager to turn around the result and avoid a repeat of last season’s second-round ouster.
Since the loss to the Portuguese giants three weeks ago, Andrea Pirlo’s men have been impressive, winning three out of the last four matches in the Serie A.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who was partially rested at the weekend against Lazio will be expected to inspire the Old Lady into the quarterfinals.
Porto’s will hope to avoid defeat by being steadfast at the back. The defence will have its work cut out in trying to repel the incessant pressure of Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata.
The Dragoes (Dragons) will be without defenders, Pepe and Chancel Mbemba due to injury. However, in-form strikers, Mehdi Taremi and Moussa Marega will be available to lead the line.
Prediction: Juventus 2-0 Porto (Juventus to qualify)
Borussia Dortmund vs Sevilla (Signal Iduna Park)
The first leg of this fixture produced five goals, with Borussia Dortmund winning 3-2 at the Sanchez Pisjuan.
The Black and Yellows are the favourites to advance to the quarterfinals of the Champions League having scored three away goals.
Edin Terzic’s men come into this match off the back of a 4-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. However, the German side will fancy its chances of getting the job done at home.
Erlin Braut Haaland will have his sights on extending his goals tally at the top of the scorer’s chart this season.
Sevilla’s form has been woeful since the first leg. Julen Lopetegui’s men have lost three of their last four matches, including getting ousted by Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Copa Del Rey.
Los Rojiblancos (The Red and Whites) face a difficult job of shutting out Haaland and trying to score at least two goals to advance.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Sevilla (Borussia Dortmund to qualify)
Liverpool vs Leipzig (Puskas Arena)
Leipzig faces an uphill struggle in overturning the 2-goal deficit of the first leg when they travel to face a badly out-of-form Liverpool.
The Reds have been dreadful since the start of the year, especially on home soil. Jürgen Klopp’s men head into this game having lost six consecutive Premier League home matches. However, the English side will be eager for a change in fortune when they host Leipzig.
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané will be keen to find the back of the nets once again.
On the other hand, Leipzig has been in excellent form since the loss to Liverpool. Julian Nagelsmann will look to capitalise on the vulnerability of his opponent’s defence to cause an upset.
Leipzig will hope to score an early goal to throw the former Champions off balance and make for an exciting contest.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Leipzig (Liverpool to qualify)
PSG vs Barcelona (Parc de Princes)
PSG has a foot firmly planted in the quarterfinals following the 4-1 advantage from the first leg. However, the French giants will have memories of the 2017 Remontanda (comeback) and be desperate to avoid a repeat.
Kylian Mbappe will look to take advantage of the spaces afforded if the Catalonian side chooses to throw caution to the wind.
Meanwhile, Barcelona has a gigantic task in trying to overcome the first leg result. Ronald Koeman’s men simply have to go for it, seeing that they have nothing to lose. However, they face the risk of conceding heavily.
Lionel Messi will have to produce another of his heroic performances to get the Blaugrana into the quarterfinals. Everything indicates a drama-filled encounter at the Parc des Princes.
Prediction: PSG 2-1 Barcelona (PSG to qualify)