Four slots will be filled in the last eight available in Europe’s premier competition with the second leg of the Round of 16 starting on Tuesday. Valencia need a remarkable home victory to overturn a huge deficit at the Mestalla while last season finalist, Tottenham Hotspur will not progress beyond this stage except they turnaround the 1-0 home loss which they did last year on their way to Madrid. Liverpool face a must win second leg overcome their first leg deficit against a Spanish opposition as they aim to book a place in the quarter-finals at the expense of Atletico Madrid. Neymar’s away goal for PSG could prove crucial in Paris against Borussia Dortmund in a finely poised game for a last-eight spot.
Here is our preview of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 A second leg matches.
VALENCIA v ATALANTA – TUE. 10 MAR 2020, 21.00HRS
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Atalanta surprise adventure in their debut Champions League campaign continued at the San Siro three weeks when Hans Hateboer, Josip Iličić and Remo Freuler scored to give La Dea a commanding position in the tie going to Spain. The dazzling display by the Bergamo club has set up Valencia with an almost impossible task in this second leg. Only four of the previous 36 teams to lose the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie by three or more goals have then progressed. Can Valencia equal that incredible feat this week?
VERDICT – High scoring Atalanta will be confident they can continue their excellent scoring run at the Mestalla. Ajax and Chelsea scored in Spain during the group stages, Gian Piero Gasperini’s team put seven past Lecce in their last away trip. The pressure is on the home team to attack and score without conceding which we believe is impossible. Expect both teams to get on the scoresheet like we saw three weeks ago.
RB LEIPZIG v TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR – TUE. 10 MAR 2020, 21.00HRS
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Timo Werner’s second-half penalty separated the sides in the first leg, though both teams were denied by the woodwork – Angeliño for Leipzig and Giovani Lo Celso for Spurs. Julian Nagelsmann’s troop will feel they could have left Tottenham with a bigger advantage considering their bold and attacking display in London. Spurs went into their first leg clash with Leipzig on form, winning three on the spin. They lost the clash 1-0 to start a five-game winless streak, which has included key losses to Wolves and Chelsea. Can Jose Mourinho shake that poor form and inspire them to European success?
VERDICT – It has been a difficult start to life for Mourinho on Spurs bench but he hasn’t been helped by injuries. However, the Portuguese master tactician can choose to find the brighter side to the Spurs challenge by exploiting the weakness in Leipzig. RBL have never kept a clean sheet at home in this competition, they conceded in five of six matches in the group stages overall. Despite the weakness, Leipzig look better organized for this clash, Mourinho can spring a surprise or two therefore we believe both teams will score at the Red Bull Arena.
LIVERPOOL v ATLETICO MADRID – WED. 11 MAR 2020, 21.00HRS
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Premier League runaway leaders and current Champions League holders Liverpool suffered their second defeat in the competitions this season with Diego Simeone’s men putting in a display of trademark resilience once Saúl Ñíguez had given them a fourth-minute lead. Since that defeat in Madrid, Liverpool have lost their air of invincibility – suffering their first Premier League loss of the season and also crashing out of the FA Cup in quick succession. On the other hand, Atletico Madrid have been decent in LaLiga – the mix for a Champions League spot battle, injured players returning including Joao Felix and Diego Costa. Atleti would have last season second leg game against Juventus playing at the back of their mind having taken a two-goal advantage to Turin.
VERDICT – Liverpool have that champions threat and aura when playing crucial games like this at Anfield. The Reds have progressed in each of the two times they’ve lost away from home in the first leg in this competition. The Merseyside outfit eliminated Chelsea and Barcelona in the semi-finals in 2006-07 and 2018-19. Can they follow that up against Atletico Madrid? Atletico have won only one of their last nine away trips in this competition. Liverpool are good enough and should win at home.
PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN v BORUSSIA DORTRMUND – WED. 11 MAR 2020, 21.00HRS
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Thomas Tuchel suffered defeat on his return to Signal Iduna Park thanks to Erling Haaland’s brace though Neymar registered an away goal which might prove crucial at Parc des Princes on Wednesday night. PSG find themselves in familiar terrain again, hoping each year that they might finally break the duck and extend their domestic dominance to Europe. Dortmund won 2-1 at home in the first leg of this tie, however, that’s a slender lead for a side with a poor European away record and issues at the back. Les Parisiens will look to exploit the German club defensive frailties in Paris.
VERDICT – Thomas Tuchel will hope to improve his abject record in the knockout stages of the Champions League. He has a win percentage of 29% in the knockout phase – the majority of the record was during his time as Dortmund coach. Dortmund have lost five consecutive away knockout games in this competition and also lost two of their three group games this season. Just like in the first leg, we expect goals in this game from both teams, over 2.5 goals is expected in Paris.
This wraps us our Champions League Round of 16 A second leg focus; predict and win big in this money-spinning competition by visiting our Sports shop Babaijebu.ng for mouthwatering offers in this knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League as we prepare for the quarter finals.