UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Set For Exciting Showdown
The first week of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 has set the stage for what is to come in this week’s clashes.
As predicted, the first round of games treated the fans to a barrage of goals, fireworks, and plenty of excitement.
With some of the fiercest strikers pitted against each other in this round, it is expected that the goals will pour in with relative ease.
This week continues with four more tantalising matches.
Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea (Arena Nationala, Bucharest)
Atletico Madrid has made their home a fortress in Europe having lost just once in 29 games. However, Los Colchoneros (The Mattress Makers) will be unable to play in Madrid due to travel restrictions.
Their league-form has waned markedly in recent weeks after seeing their advantage at the top reduced to three points.
Luis Suarez is in red-hot form with 7 goals in 7 games in La Liga. He will be eager to replicate in the Champions League, a competition where he hasn’t had the best run. Diego Simeone’s side will be without defender, Jose Gimenez who is injured.
After leading PSG to the final of the UEFA Champions League last season, Thomas Tuchel begins a new challenge with Chelsea.
The Blues qualified for this stage with ease, mustering four wins out of six games.
While the London club has improved remarkably in the Premier League since Tuchel took over, scoring goals has been a weak point.
Everything points to a ferocious affair in Romania.
Prediction: Atletico Madrid 2-1 Chelsea
Lazio vs Bayern Munich (Stadio Olympico)
The fixture has goals written all over it with two of Europe’s deadliest strikers set to play against each other. Ciro Immobile is ahead of Robert Lewandowski in this season’s UCL goals tally but the Pole is clear in overall goals scored.
Lazio made it out of the group unbeaten but with just two wins in six. However, after a sluggish start to the season, The Biancocolesti (White and Sky Blues) are on a resurgence in Serie A.
Simone Inzaghi’s men will look to approach this tie with a reduced weight of expectation while pushing their luck.
Bayern Munich is the bookmakers’ favourite to win this competition for a second consecutive season. They qualified for the second round in imperious fashion and remain unbeaten for almost two years.
The Bavarians have not been as stellar as they were last season but the attack continues to create and score goals.
Both teams meet for the first time in this competition and it is expected to be an end-to-end affair.
Prediction: Lazio 1-3 Bayern Munich
Atalanta vs Real Madrid (Gewiss Stadium)
Atalanta is fast becoming a feature in the UEFA Champions League. They have now qualified for the round of 16 for a second consecutive season.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s men have entertained the fans, playing with so much expression and innovation. La Dea (The Goddess) came close to qualifying for last season’s semi-finals. The Italian club will be hoping for a similar run this season riding on their underdog status.
Real Madrid on the other hand has been underwhelming by their standards. Los Blancos (The Whites) have been particularly ravaged by injuries to key players throughout the season.
Karim Benzema continues to shoulder the goal-scoring responsibility with Eden Hazard having a frustrating spell in Madrid.
This is a very tricky encounter that looks certain to produce goals aplenty.
Prediction: Atalanta 3-1 Real Madrid
Borussia Monchengladbach vs Manchester City (Borussia Park)
This is a mismatch on paper. However, Borussia Monchengladbach is not to be underestimated. In the Bundesliga, they have recorded victories against the likes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund this season.
They qualified for this stage of the UEFA Champions League two points behind Real Madrid. However, the Foals’ form has been gloomy in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, Manchester City is the team to beat in Europe with 18 consecutive wins in all competitions. The Citizens have defeated all comers since the start of the year and will look to put this fixture to bed in the first leg.
The German club has its work cut out in trying to break Pep Guardiola’s miserly defence.
The former Barcelona manager will have his sights on the final having failed to win the title in ten years.
Prediction: Borussia Monchengladbach 0-2 Manchester City