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Champions League last-16: previews and predictions for this week’s ties | Football
RB Leipzig v Liverpool, Tuesday
Liverpool proceed to Budapest slightly than Leipzig to demur off their double header with the Bundesliga aspect. Any avoid from home soccer will breathe welcome privilege now for Jürgen Klopp’s crew. They surrendered the lead and a comparatively cozy place towards Leicester on Saturday to lose three straight league video games for the primary time in additional than six years.
Julian Nagelsmann’s aspect had no such issues within the Bundesliga, strolling to a extra cozy earn over Augsburg than the 2-1 scoreline suggests. With Liverpool’s reliance by way of the ground, Leipzig will breathe bright to make a steadfast initiate, simply as they did of their final Champions League outing, after they raced into an early lead towards Manchester United and exacted revenge for their 5-0 thrashing earlier within the season at Ancient Trafford. Leipzig too benefitted from a brisk initiate after they knocked Tottenham out of the Champions League at this stage final season, so Liverpool will necessity to breathe cautious.
The strengths and weaknesses of the 2 groups are opposed in some ways, with Leipzig’s want of a goalscorer for the reason that departure of Timo Werner emphasised by the truth that wing-back Angeliño is their prime scorer, with eight objectives in all competitions. Three Liverpool gamers can palpitate that tally this season – Diogo Jota (9), Sadio Mané (10) and Mo Salah (23) – however their points are on the different aim of the toss. With Fabinho quiet a significant doubt, Klopp will necessity to determine whether or not to stay with Ozan Kabak or display religion in Nat Phillips or Rhys Williams in defence. Prediction: Liverpool to refer by way of.
Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain, Tuesday
That is PSG’s first journey to Camp Nou since one of the crucial memorable Champions League video games in latest historical past, and they may breathe determined to place privilege the almightiest of wrongs. After beating Barça 4-0 in Paris virtually precisely 4 years in the past, the Ligue 1 champions capitulated to a 6-1 conquer within the second leg, having too been dumped out of the match by Barcelona two years earlier.
These sides have met six occasions within the Champions League in as a few years, with Neymar usually enjoying a pivotal function. He scored seven objectives in these six video games and would have beloved to have lined up towards his former membership had it not been for his habitual damage at this time of 12 months. His absence is a gigantic increase to Barça, who’ve an honest memoir on paper, having gained 11 of their 13 matches for the reason that rotate of the 12 months, however attend to wrestle when up towards stout opposition.
Barcelona are third in La Liga, 18 factors behind Atlético Madrid, and they’ve misplaced to the opposite three groups in Spain’s prime 4, most lately within the Copa del Rey to Sevilla. Their final video games within the Champions League resulted in a 3-0 conquer to Juventus.
PSG usually are not doing mighty higher. They path Lille in Ligue 1 and haven’t proven any vital enchancment beneath Mauricio Pochettino. This tie brings collectively two former Southampton managers, with Ronald Koeman within the house dugout. The 2 managers have met seven occasions, with Pochettino recording 4 wins to Koeman’s one. Prediction: PSG to refer by way of.
Sevilla v Borussia Dortmund, Wednesday
Sevilla are undoubtedly the figure crew in this tie. They’re on a nine-game profitable strain by which they’ve conceded only one aim. Against this, Borussia Dortmund haven’t loved the upturn in outcomes they have been hoping after they parted methods with Lucien Favre in mid-December. They’ve gained simply two of their final seven video games, considered one of which was an extra-time conquest over second-tier Paderborn.
Borussia Mönchengladbach supervisor Marco Rose will take over at Dortmund on the aim of the season however, till then, they continue to be considerably in limbo. Erling Braut Haaland and Jadon Sancho stay a dependable root of objectives however the squad is ageing and inevitably regressing. They’re at the moment sixth within the Bundesliga and vulnerable to lacking out on the Champions League subsequent season, which might result in an exodus of their excellent youthful abilities.
Jules Koundé, considered one of Sevilla’s youthful abilities, was rested on the weekend together with the free-scoring Youssef En-Nesyri. Lucas Ocampos is a doubt however Sevilla’s conclusion to badge Papu Gómez from Atalanta in January was very good industry, and the diminutive playmaker might initiate right here. Dortmund, in the meantime, will breathe with out first-choice keeper Roman Burki, so it’s a giant night time for veteran Marwin Hitz, who has conceded seven objectives in 4 video games since moving into the aspect. Prediction: Sevilla to refer by way of.
Porto v Juventus
Mighty love Barcelona, Porto have struggled to beat tall property opponents this season, plane if they’re typically avoiding conquer. The Primeira Liga champions drew for the fourth recreation working on the weekend. Their incapacity to metamorphose attracts to wins has left them 10 factors behind a rejuvenated Sporting aspect within the league.
Juventus are too off the tempo in Serie A. They misplaced to Napoli on the weekend, leaving them with a giant job if they’re to withhold their seemingly accustomed title. In veracity, their regression final season was a precursor for their issues within the drift crusade, with a seemingly inescapable over-reliance on 36-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo. He returns to his homeland with 23 objectives in all competitions this season to countenance Porto for the primary time in 12 years – when he scored an scandalous aim from 40 yards to take Manchester United into the semi-finals.
Porto’s principal aim risk this season has been the Iran worldwide Mehdi Taremi, who has scored 9 objectives within the league regardless of beginning simply 12 of his 19 appearances. He didn’t make it into the beginning XI in any respect through the group stage however will certainly breathe too difficult to oversee for a aspect that spreads their objectives all through the squad and lacks star property. Juventus usually are not totally dissimilar in that respect, however they’ve the one participant in this tie who can actually make a dissimilarity. Prediction: Juventus to refer by way of.
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