Champions League and Europa League Previews And Tips
There’s a busy week of European action ahead of us once again this week with four Champions League Round of 16 second leg ties being played across Tuesday and Wednesday evening, followed by eight Europa League Round of 16 second leg ties being played at split kick off times on Thursday, three ties kicking off at 5.55pm and the others at 8pm.
In this article we are going to give you a quick preview and then our tip for each of the dozen games being played this week, together with who we think will make it through to the last eight of both the Champions League and the Europa League from each tie.
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So without any further ado, here’s our tips for the Champions League, followed by our Europa League preview and tips. First leg results are shown in brackets following each game and kick off is 8pm unless otherwise stated.
Tuesday 12th & Wednesday 13th March
Juventus v Atletico Madrid (0-2) – Juventus to win – 7/10
After a dramatic first leg, Atletico seem to hold the aces here but Juventus are unbeaten at home this season and they are well capable of coming back from this 2-0 deficit in Turin. Cristiano Ronaldo will be key and if he plays well Juventus have a chance, but I just feel while the home side will win the game, Atletico will score too and that could be enough to take the Spanish side through to the next round.
Manchester City v Schalke 04 (3-2) – Man City to win – 1/7
After a dramatic first leg which saw VAR decisions galore, a man sent off for City and then the English champions come from 2-1 down to beat Schalke 3-2 with 10 men, City should be confident of making easy progress in the second leg. Schalke’s form this season is woeful domestically and they are not on City’s level to be honest. This should be an easy home win for the English side.
Barcelona v Lyon (0-0) – Barcelona to win – 1/4
The first game between these teams was something of a damp squib to be fair, with both sides knocking in plenty of goals in the group phase but both being held goalless. I think that plays into Barcelona’s hands a little more with the home leg still to come but I do feel Lyon will make it tough and I can see the French team scoring a goal, but I don’t think it will be enough.
Bayern Munich v Liverpool (0-0) – Bayern to win – 23/20
The German side produced a polished performance at Anfield to nullify the home team and I am expecting them to do a similar job in the home leg where they should be much more offensive minded. Liverpool could snatch a draw and perhaps sneak through on away goals but they have lost all of their last five in the Champions League away from Anfield and I can’t see that run improving here.
Thursday 14th March
Dynamo Kyiv v Chelsea (0-3) (5.55pm) – Draw – 12/5
Chelsea produced a solid, dominant display in the first leg of this game and secured a healthy lead to take into the second leg. Kyiv is never an easy place to go and get a result and I can see Chelsea profiting from Kyiv’s need to score a goal, which is why I have backed the draw in this game.
Red Bull Salzburg v Napoli (0-3) (5.55pm) – Salzburg to win – 29/20
I was very surprised with how easily Napoli won the first leg of this game as Salzburg had been one of the stronger teams in the Europa League in the Group Stages. However, the Italian side outclassed them and have done enough to make the second leg a formality. I think Salzburg will win it for pride alone, but Napoli will do more than enough to make comfortable progress.
Krasnodar v Valencia (1-2) (5.55pm) – Draw – 5/2
Valencia take a narrow lead into Russia for the second leg of this tie and things are far from cosy for the Spanish side. Krasnodar have beaten some good teams at home in this competition and a 1-0 win would put them through but I do feel Valencia, who are something of a specialist when it comes to drawing matches, will grab a goal to ensure they get the draw they need to progress.
Arsenal v Rennes (1-3) – Arsenal to win – 3/10
After a dismal performance in France, the pressure is on Arsenal to earn the 2-0 or better win they need in order to progress. However, they face a Rennes side that beat Real Betis in Seville in the last round and who looked very dangerous on the counter. This could well be another game that Arsenal win, but could be one that requires extra time in order to decide the winner.
Benfica v Dynamo Zagreb (0-1) – Benfica to win – 9/20
I was surprised that Benfica went down to a 1-0 defeat in Zagreb the last time out. The Portuguese side had been in superb form going into that game and that result was a shock for me. Zagreb are a decent side but they are not as strong on the road and despite that one goal deficit from the first leg, I am backing Benfica to go through and to win this game comfortably.
Inter Milan v Eintracht Frankfurt (0-0) – Inter to win – 13/10
Given the attacking nature of both these sides I was surprised the first game ended goalless between the two of them, although Inter perhaps should have won but didn’t thanks to Brozovic’s penalty being saved by Kevin Trapp. Frankfurt will have plenty to say in this game, they are a good side, but I think with home advantage, Inter will have just enough to ensure they get the win to go through.
Slavia Prague v Sevilla (2-2) – Draw – 11/4
After securing a brilliant draw last week away to five times winner of this competition Sevilla, Slavia Prague now have the advantage of the second leg at home, however I still think this tie is far from over and I feel both sides will feel there is plenty to play for. Sevilla are not winners of this tournament five times by a fluke and I think they will have plenty to say here and extra time and even penalties could well be needed to decide the winner.
Villarreal v Zenit St Petersburg (3-1) – Villarreal to win – Evens
Villarreal put in the best away performance of any team in the Europa League last time out with a superb display of counterattacking football in their 3-1 win over Zenit. The Russian side do not travel well in Europe and this trip to Spain may well be a tough evening for them, especially given the result of the first leg. I think Villarreal will win the game but perhaps by just the one goal.