UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg Preview
Paolo Buendia on Mar 10, 2015 07:51 PM
(Photo Courtesy of UEFA.com)
Monaco produced the best result in the first-leg with a 3-1 demolition of Arsenal in the Emirates Stadium. Favorites Chelsea and Bayern Munich were held to draws by PSG and Shakhtar Donetsk respectively. Both Barcelona and Real Madrid won their opening matches while away from home, giving the Spanish giants precious away goals entering into the second-leg contests.
March 11, 2015 early morning matches
FC Porto v FC Basel 1893
The 1-1 draw in Switzerland gave Porto the advantage with an away goal. The Portuguese club is excellent at home in Europe, winning five and drawing three of the last eight matches. Basel is on a three-match winless streak in Europe, drawing two and losing the other match. Porto’s experience in these stages will be valuable and I predict a win for the home side.
Real Madrid FC v FC Schalke 04
Defending champion Real Madrid is in the driver’s seat with a two-goal advantage entering this match in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. The Spanish club can set new records for consecutive home wins with another one on familiar foe Schalke. Although Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are not in top form as of the moment, the home side still has the quality and class to emerge victorious. I believe Real Madrid will win this match to seal a spot in the quarterfinals.
March 12, 2015 early morning matches
Chelsea FC v Paris Saint-Germain
Jose Mourinho knows that having an away goal will be precious entering this match against PSG in Stamford Bridge. These teams met in the quarterfinals last season where Chelsea progressed on the away-goals rule. A similar result from the first match day, 1-1 or even 0-0, will be enough for the English club go through. I see Chelsea relying on a solid defense and quick counters to defend that away-goal advantage in another low-scoring draw.
FC Bayern Munich v FC Shakhtar Donetsk
The first ever meeting between these two clubs ended in a 0-0 result in the first-leg. This gives the advantage over to Bayern Munich who won all three home matches in the group stage without conceding a single goal. Arjen Robben is the man to watch out for having scored seventeen times in the Bundesliga so far. Luiz Adriano has nine goals in this competition so far but was silenced in the first-leg. In the end, I predict that Bayern Munich will do enough to get the win.
March 18, 2015 early morning matches
AS Monaco FC v Arsenal FC
Arsenal will need to do what no other team has done in the Champions League knockout stages, overcome a two-goal deficit playing away from home. The 1-3 loss in London gave Monaco three away goals, which will be a significant factor in this match. Any draw or 1-0 score for either team will see Monaco in the quarterfinals. A 2-0 win by Arsenal will ensure the qualification of the English club. The home side has the best defense in the group stage, conceding only one goal. If Arsenal scores an early goal, this will give the momentum to the visiting side but I believe that Monaco will hold on to progress to the quarterfinals.
Club Atletico de Madrid v Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Bayer pulled off an upset with a 1-0 win in the first-leg against last season’s runners-up. Playing against Atletico at home will be a different situation because of the excellent home record of the Spanish side. Atletico won twenty of the last twenty two home matches in European competition, losing only one and drawing another. The Spanish champion won the three home matches in the group stage without conceding a goal. I see Atletico coming from behind to seize that qualifying spot.
March 19, 2015 early morning matches
FC Barcelona v Manchester City FC
Barcelona is the favorite to advance to the quarterfinals with a 1-2 victory in the first-leg. These two sides met in this same stage last season with Barca coming away with comfortable victories in both legs. Luis Suarez scored both goals in the first-leg, his experience playing against Manchester City in England coming into play. City will need to watch out for the Uruguayan while clamping down on both Neymar and Lionel Messi. The possible absence of Sergio Busquets will weaken Barca in the back. Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko have to take advantage of this for City to have any chance of beating Barcelona at home.
I predict Barca will come out with the win again.
Borussia Dortmund v Juventus
Dortmund fell 0-1 in the first-leg but has a chance to redeem that at home because of an excellent home record in Europe. The German side won ten of the last thirteen home matches in this competition, including all four this season. Juventus has only won one out of the last seven away matches in the Champions League and will find it difficult to hold on to the slender one-goal advantage. I see another close battle with a possible shoot-out in this game. Juventus will come out on top in the end.
The matchups to watch out for will be the Chelsea v PSG and Borussia Dortmund v Juventus ones. These teams were almost evenly matched in the first-leg and the second-leg will prove to be even more exciting.
Schedule of matches on BALLS Channel (Sky Cable 34/ Destiny Cable 36)
March 11 3:30am Real Madrid v Schalke (LIVE)
March 11 5:30am Porto v Basel
March 12 3:30am Chelsea v PSG (LIVE)
March 12 5:30am Bayern Munich v Shakhtar Donetsk
March 18 3:30am Monaco v Arsenal (LIVE)
March 18 5:30am Atletico Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen
March 19 3:30am Barcelona v Manchester City (LIVE)
March 19 5:30am Borussia Dortmund v Juventus
Schedule of Matches LIVE on ABS-CBN Sports + Action
Mar. 11, 3:30AM Porto vs. Basel
Mar. 12, 3:30AM Bayern Munich v Shaktar Donetsk
Mar. 18, 3:30AM Atletico Madrid v Bayern Leverkusen
Mar. 19, 3:30AM Borussia Dortmund v Juventus
“The smell of freshly-cut grass and the whiff of the chalk before a big game…and then it starts to rain. You. Are. Home.”