Eight more of European football’s finest are in action this week, as the first legs of the Uefa Champions League’s first knockout round are completed.
Four fixtures take place across the continent on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the two matches involving English Premier League teams switched to neutral venues due to Covid-19 restrictions in Germany and Spain.
Reigning UCL champions Bayern Munich kick off their knockout push on Tuesday when they head to Italy to tackle Lazio having cruised through the group stage.
The Serie A side finished second in Group F and are the underdogs, but the Romans do have chance to strike first blood at their Stadio Olimpico home.
Elsewhere on Tuesday it’s a battle between the 2012 Champions League winners and the nearly-men of the competition in recent years as Atletico Madrid play Chelsea.
It’s a match switched to Romania’s National Arena in Bucharest, as Diego Simeone’s side see their home advantage wiped out in their quest to go one better than their runners-up finishes of 2016 and 2014.
Atletico do sit top of Spain’s La Liga, though, while the Blues are rejuvenated in the EPL since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as coach at Stamford Bridge.
Champions League giants Real Madrid take centre stage on Wednesday night when they play their first leg against Atalanta in Bergamo.
Los Blancos made heavy weather of topping Group B with the pressure, as ever, mounting on coach Zinedine Zidane at the Bernabeu.
The Italians, meanwhile, have a free swing at the big hitters having successfully negotiated their way through a Group D that included Ajax and 2019 champions Liverpool.
Manchester City are also continuing their quest for continental glory under Pep Guardiola when they face Borussia Monchengladbach in their last 16 first leg.
The Germans have suffered the same fate as Atletico Madrid in having their ‘home’ shifted all the way to Hungary, with the fixture to be held at Budapest’s Puskas Arena due to coronavirus concerns.
City are in insatiable form in the English Premier League and in the Champions League, where they won five out of six pool games to top Group C before Christmas.
The Bundesliga club, meanwhile, squeaked into second place in Group B behind Real Madrid, with Shakhtar Donestk the unlucky side eased into third spot.
Uefa Champions League predictions for 23-24 February
Prediction methodology explained😕The expected win percentage is based off publicly available odds. For example, if a team’s odds are 2.30, the expected chance of winning is 43%. If the odds are 1.62 the expected chance of winning is 62% and so on. These are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change. Where there is no value listed, the odds were not available at the time of writing.
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