The UEFA Champions League – What’s in Store for England’s Fantastic Five?
The first round of sixteen matches to feature English clubs take place tomorrow night. Manchester City, who are currently at the top of the Premiership after a hugely successful season, will be heading to Switzerland to take on FC Basel at St. Jakob-Park. It’s the first time that the Blues have met the Swiss Super League title contenders in an international competition.
At the same time, Tottenham Hotspurs will be playing Juventus, who are currently in second place in Italy’s Serie A. This match will take place at the Juventus Stadium, Turin, and pits star strikers Harry Kane and Gonzalo Higuaín against each other. Juve’s defence has been superb recently but will Spurs be able to find a way through?
Liverpool’s opening game of the round takes place on Wednesday night at 19.45. Jurgen Klopp’s men play FC Porto at Estádio do Dragão. Liverpool need to progress through the round to keep their hopes of winning a football trophy this season alive. However, Porto haven’t lost a single Primeira Liga match all season, so beating them could be tricky.
Chelsea face what’s possibly the toughest tie of all the English teams, having been drawn against Barcelona. They’ll be hoping to make the most of their home advantage in their first leg match on Tuesday 20th February, but the Blues have been far from on form recently, while their opponents are flying high in La Liga.
The final first leg tie featuring an English club takes place on Wednesday 21st February, when Manchester United will face Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium. United are the favourites for the win.
Europe’s Other Title Contenders – The Round’s Remaining First Leg Ties
Paris Saint Germain travel to Spain to take on Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium this Wednesday. Real Madrid are the current holders of the prestigious trophy, but PSG fans will be hoping that, with Neymar fit to play and Angel di Maria in spectacular form, their men could clinch the win.
Bayern Munich meet Beşiktaş at the Allianz Arena on Thursday 20th of February. When the two teams last played each other, in the group stages of the 1997/1998 competition, Bayern beat the Turkish side by 2-0 at home and 2-0 away. With the likes of Robert Lewandowski starring in the Bundesliga side’s current squad, the Germans could easily triumph again.
The final first leg match of the round sees Shakhtar Donetsk play Roma at the Ukrainian club’s home ground, the Donbass Arena. The tie takes place on Wednesday 21st February. Both teams have failed to get through this stage of the tournament in recent years, so they’ll be desperate to succeed this time. The result of this one, therefore, could really go either way.
Are you a fan of one of the club’s in the Champions League’s round of sixteen? How do you rate their chances of winning the football trophy this year? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments section.