The second lot of Champions League round of 16 first legs take place this week. Here are the games taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday night:
In one of the most intriguing last 16 ties, Premier League Chelsea take on Spanish league leaders Barcelona.
Chelsea have enjoyed mixed fortunes of late in the Premier League. However, they have a decent home record against Spanish sides in Europe, suffering just two defeats in 16 games against teams from Iberian peninsula. Five of the Blues last six meetings with the visitors have ended in draws.
Barcelona heads into this game unbeaten in seven Champions League outings. The Catalan giants keeping clean sheets in six of their last seven European outings have contributed to their recent unbeaten record. Incredibly, Barcelona’s prolific Argentinian forward Lionel Messi has never scored against Chelsea in eight meetings with the Blues. The Catalan giants are favourites to win this tie, but Chelsea are capable of causing Ernesto Valverde’s side problems.
Bayern Munich host Besiktas at the Allianz Arena, with the home side major favourites to qualify for the last eight of the competition.
The Bavarian giants head into this clash on the back of a 13-game winning run in all competitions. Jupp Heynckes side have a very good recent record in the Champions League, winning six of their last seven European games. Die Bayern have also been highly prolific of late in Europe’s elite competition, scoring two or more goals in six of their last seven European outings.
Besiktas were one of the surprise packages in the group stages, having remained unbeaten in the group stages following four wins and two draws. The visitors’ recent form has been inconsistent. The underdogs also lost star striker Cenk Tosun to Everton in the January transfer window. The Turkey international scored four times in the group stage.
Spanish side Sevilla will be looking to gain a first leg advantage over Premier League Manchester United on Wednesday night.
The home side have recorded three straight wins in all competitions. However, their form in the group stages of this competition was inconsistent, as the Andalucian’s won just two of their six games in the group to finish second in their group behind another English team, Liverpool.
Manchester United have also been inconsistent of late, as they have won two and lost two of their last four games in all competitions. However, Jose Mourinho’s side won five of their group games in this competition. The Red Devils have been relatively prolific of late in Europe’s elite competition, scoring at least two goals in five of their last seven games in the Champions League.
Both of these teams will fancy their chances of sealing a place in the last eight, as neither side are considered as one of the competitions big guns.
Shakhtar finished second in their group behind Premier League Manchester City. In fact, Paulo Fonseca’s side were the first team to defeat the Citizens in any competition this season. The home side won four of their six group games, so will see this as a very winnable tie. Shakhtar have won two of their last three meetings with the Giallorossi.
Roma have regained form in recent weeks, recording three straight wins in Serie A after a mid-season dip in form. The Giallorossi had a mixed record in the group stages, having won three of their group stages games. However, two of those wins were against minnows Qarabag. The visitors will also believe that this tie is winnable and anything could happen.
Who will be the winners of the midweek Champions League last 16 games?