Champions League Round of 16 Second Legs Preview

UEFA Champions League

After the first legs in the Round of 16 there are some ties that are pretty much decided as we enter into the second legs, some almost over and others very delicately balanced.

Pretty much over

Andrea Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo pulled the strings for Juventus in their 3-0 win at Celtic

It is pretty safe to assume that Juventus will play in the quarter finals after their 3-0 away win in Glasgow against Celtic.

Bayern Munich are another side who have all but guaranteed their passage to the quarter finals with a dominating 3-1 away win over Arsenal.

Almost over

Paris Saint Germain’s 2-1 away win in Valencia should guarantee that they will play in the quarter final but with a narrow scoreline an early Valencia goal would throw the tie wide open.  PSG should advance though.

Done a good job away that should be enough

Borussia Dortmund’s 2-2 draw in Donetsk against Shaktar Donetsk should be enough to see them through to the next round.  They have the comfort of the away goals and have been good at home in the competition, this should see them advance.

All to play for

The following 4 games are the ones that will be of the most interest of the second leg ties as they are delicately poised.  Porto and Malaga played a tight game in Portugal with Porto winning 1-0.  Malaga’s may rue not scoring an away goal as they will need 3 if Porto get 1 but this tie is on a knife edge and could go either way.

Galatasary and Schalke played out a 1-1 draw in Istanbul.  Schalke will be happy to have an away goal but Galatasary will be confident of scoring in Germany, especially with the tournament joint leading scorer, Burak Yilmaz in their side.

Kevin Prince Boateng

Kevin Prince Boateng scored the first goal against Barcelona in the first leg

Milan had a huge win in their first leg against Barcelona beating the Spanish giants 2-0.  If it was any other side one may say that this tie is almost over but Barcelona are no ordinary side.  With home advantage Barcelona will be confident they can over turn the deficit but they have to be very wary of conceding as they will then need to win the game by 3 goals.  It is a big ask for them to win 3-0 so this tie could see more than the 90 minutes.  Barcelona will dominate possession and Milan will shut up shop.  Barcelona have found breaking down a mass defence hard as was clearly evident against Chelsea last season and against Celtic in the group stage of this year’s campaign.  It makes for an intriguing battle in the Nou Kamp.

The biggest clash of all is delicately poised heading into the second leg at Old Trafford where Manchester United will host Real Madrid.  United could have scored more goals in the Spanish capital and could have won the game if Robin van Persie had connected fully with his volley late in the game, even then it could have trickled in where it not for Xabi Alonso’s goal line clearance.  This tie marks Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to his former home where he is guaranteed to receive a warm and welcome reception.  United have tightened up considerably in defence and are unbeaten since losing 1-0 at home to CFR Cluj on December 5th in the Champions League, they had qualified as winners 2 games prior to this one.  United will look to win the game and not rest on the away goal.  The tie is in the balance but I believe United will win the game with both teams scoring.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo will make his first return to Old Trafford in the white of Real Madrid in the second leg

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