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Champions League last 16: previews and predictions for this week’s ties | Champions League

Atlético Madrid v Chelsea, Tuesday 8pm GMT

Whereas Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten file as Chelsea supervisor stays intact, he’ll view their 1-1 draw at struggling Southampton over the weekend as two factors dropped relatively than one gained. Nevertheless, his squad is in fine condition for the journey to Bucharest to face Atlético Madrid. With Thiago Silva the one Chelsea participant sidelined, Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen will probably be competing for a spot in a again three.

Atlético had a fair worse end result on the weekend, shedding 2-0 at dwelling to Levante. Their seemingly comfy title cost is immediately wanting far much less convincing. That’s only one win from 4 within the league for Diego Simeone’s facet, who are actually and not using a clear sheet in seven video games. Actually, Atlético have stored only one clear sheet of their 10 matches for the reason that flip of the yr, having shut out 13 groups in 21 matches beforehand this season. Jan Oblak has conceded twice as many objectives (six) as he has made saves (three) of their last 4 league video games. Chelsea may very well be enjoying them on the proper time.

Atlético additionally should cope with numerous absentees, with large choices wanting restricted because of Kieran Trippier’s suspension and accidents to Sime Vrsaljko and Yannick Carrasco. Utility man Marcos Llorente, who is likely one of the most improved gamers in Europe over the previous yr, could properly fill in out large having scored 9 and assisted eight objectives this season. He was the hero when Atlético knocked out Liverpool this time last yr. The Spaniards have file in opposition to English opponents within the last 16, having additionally crushed Chelsea at this stage again in 2014. Prediction: Atlético to undergo after a draw within the first leg.

Lazio v Bayern Munich, Tuesday 8pm GMT

The holders are usually not in nice kind going into their last-16 tie with Lazio, having adopted up a 3-3 draw with relegation-threatened Arminia Bielefeld with defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt on the weekend. Hansi Flick’s facet are clearly lacking Benjamin Pavard and Thomas Müller, who’re out having examined optimistic for Covid, with Serge Gnabry additionally sidelined. Niklas Sule can be a doubt, that means Bouna Sarr might begin at right-back.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, the previous Stoke ahead who performed for PSG in opposition to Bayern Munich within the last last season, has been deputising for Müller and might begin behind Robert Lewandowski. There’s additionally an opportunity that Leon Goretzka might transfer ahead into that place, with David Alaba getting into midfield alongside Joshua Kimmich, with Lucas Hernandez partnering Jérôme Boateng in defence.

Lazio haven’t any such dilemmas, although goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha stays sidelined, that means Pepe Reina will face one in every of his former golf equipment, albeit having performed simply 3 times in his single season at Bayern. Simone Inzaghi is more likely to identify an unchanged facet from the group that beat Sampdoria 1-0 on the weekend to make it seven wins from their last eight league matches.

All eyes will probably be on the head-to-head between the highest two scorers in Europe’s main leagues last season. Ciro Motionless scored 36 objectives in Serie A to Lewandowski’s 34 within the Bundesliga. The tables have turned this season although, with Lewandowski racking up 26 objectives to the Motionless’s 14, although Motionless does have extra in this season’s Champions League, main 5 to a few in that regard. Prediction: Bayern to undergo after a draw within the first leg.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting may start for Bayern against Lazio.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting could begin for Bayern in opposition to Lazio. {Photograph}: Matthias Schräder/AP

Atalanta v Actual Madrid, Wednesday 8pm GMT

Having been inside minutes of a spot within the semi-finals last season, Atalanta are aiming to construct on an excellent debut marketing campaign within the Champions League and will relish the possibility of enjoying probably the most adorned facet within the competitors. Actual Madrid are properly off their peak and accidents have mounted horrendously for Zinedine Zidane. As many as 9 first-team gamers are sidelined, together with captain Sergio Ramos, high scorer Karim Benzema and €100m signing Eden Hazard.

Zidane should determine whether or not to go along with an out-and-out striker, with Mariano the one actual possibility now that he has allowed Luka Jovic to exit on mortgage, or deploy a false 9. Actual Madrid rely closely on Benzema to attain their objectives. He has scored 16 this season in La Liga. Their subsequent most prolific goalscorer is defensive midfielder Casemiro, with six. Against this, Atalanta have two strikers in double figures in Serie A: Luis Muriel on 16 objectives and Duván Zapata on 12.

Atalanta did enable their captain and fan favorite Papu Gómez to maneuver to Sevilla last month however they nonetheless have loads of attacking choices. Two spectacular wins over Napoli have put them again on monitor within the league after a minor wobble. They’ve misplaced simply as soon as for the reason that begin of November, so method this dwelling sport as slight favourites. Prediction: Atalanta to win the primary leg and progress to the quarter-finals.

With Karim Benzema missing, the goalscoring burden has fallen on Casemiro.
With Karim Benzema lacking, the goalscoring burden has fallen on Casemiro. {Photograph}: Jose Breton/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

Borussia Mönchengladbach v Man Metropolis, Wednesday 8pm GMT

This would be the fifth sport between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Manchester Metropolis within the Champions League. Metropolis gained three of the earlier 4 encounters, however they did should settle for a 1-1 draw of their most up-to-date assembly, within the group stage in 2016.

The Germans are a stronger outfit than they had been again then, however they haven’t proven that of late, choosing up simply two factors from the last 12 out there within the Bundesliga. They’ve fallen all the way down to eighth within the desk, with the gamers maybe disrupted by the information that their spectacular head coach Marco Rose will probably be taking on at Borussia Dortmund come the top of the season.

Manchester Metropolis’s kind couldn’t be extra convincing by comparability. They’ve gained their last 18 matches in all competitions, preserving 12 clear sheets in that point. With Kevin De Bruyne in a position to return to the beginning XI in opposition to Arsenal on the weekend after his damage lay-off, Phil Foden was given a relaxation having began six of Metropolis’s earlier seven league video games. He’ll hope to begin in opposition to Gladbach and might even lead the road.

The competitors is frankly outrageous below Pep Guardiola proper now, with Ferran Torres nowhere close to the beginning line-up though he scored 4 objectives within the group stage – twice as many as any of his teammates. In contrast to the opposite ties this week, each groups needs to be at full power.

Regardless of their poor kind within the Bundesliga, Gladbach carry a risk. They scored 16 objectives within the group stage – greater than Metropolis and second solely to Bayern Munich (18) within the competitors up to now. The French connection of Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea was pivotal to that return, with each performing considerably higher in Europe this season than they’ve carried out within the league. They’ve 14 aim involvements between them within the Champions League this season in comparison with simply eight within the Bundesliga. Prediction: Manchester Metropolis to win the primary leg and progress to the quarter-finals

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