UEFA Champions League has reached the first knockout stage. The best 16 European club sides are set and it is time to see who’ll be sitting on the throne this year. Last year’s finalists Real Madrid and Juventus are still in contest, but are challenged by hungy usurpers.
The Champions League first knockout round games have already been played last week. The second legs of those matchups will be played in two weeks time, 6th and 7th of March. The first four pairings provided plenty of goal scoring but not that many surprises – unless you count Juventus conceding two goals at home as such.
First knockout stage, 1st leg results:
Juventus – Tottenham 2-2
Basel – Manchester City 0-4
Porto – Liverpool 0-5
Real Madrid – PSG 3-1
As it stands, two of the battles are done with Manchester City and Liverpool banging in enough away goals to last until next season. More intriguing is the situation with Juventus, who against all odds leaked two goals to surging Spurs. It will be a hard fought battle at the Wembley, with Juventus the one doing the chasing and attacking for once. It’s not enough for the Italians to go for 0-0 this time around.
Real Madrid managed to claw back to win over PSG after going 0-1 down. They’re definitely in the drivers seat heading to Paris. PSG probably still feels last year’s catastrophe against Barcelona tingling down their spine, but it remains to be seen if they can actually pull a Barcelona on this one. Away goal helps a bit and 2-0 is enough for the Parisians.
Champions League Preview
The second grouping of Champions League hopefuls take the spotlight tonight and tomorrow. First up are Bayern München – Besiktas and Chelsea – Barcelona. Tomorrow the stage belongs to Sevilla – Manchester United and Shaktar Donetsk – AS Roma.
Bayern München is once again one of the favorites to win the whole thing. They’ve been unstoppable domestically and can concentrate to UCL without any distractions. They go on to host Besiktas as huge favorites, albeit the Turkish side has performed magnificiently in the Champions League winning their group.
Chelsea hosts Barcelona in an interesting matchup. The home team and reigning Premier League champions has performed below par this season. Their challenge for the title is only futile. It has been a season to forget for Antonio Conte, who was hailed as a hero only nine months ago. Barcelona on the other hand has done exactly the opposite. They were expected to struggle in La Liga, but instead are yet to lose a single game this season in their domestic competition. However, the Champions League is whole another ballgame for these giant clubs.
For those interested in betting and predictions, our friends at Accuscore have used their simulations to predict the most likely outcomes of the Champions League knockout stage. You can find the pre-playoff prediction from Accuscore’s website through HERE!
Don’t forget to check out our Betting Tips from Sources as well, featuring many picks for UCL games this week and beyond!