It’s been months since the end of the Champions League group stages saw clubs such as Manchester United, Inter Milan and Ajax all missed out on the knockout phase. Clubs who made it through included some of the biggest sides in Europe such as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Who will survive the Round of 16, however, with two-legged ties testing the very best to the end of their limits? Let’s take a look at the sportsbetting picks on off this midweek.
Barcelona vs. Paris St. Germain (Tuesday, 8pm GMT kick-off)
Three years ago, one of the best matches in Champions League history took place as Barcelona recovered from a 4-0 defeat in Paris to win the return leg 6-1. Just 3-1 up with two minutes plus injury time to play at Camp Nou, the Catalans’ second penalty, a stunning free-kick (both goals from Neymar) and a last-gasp 95th minute winner from Sergei Roberto gave them the most improbable of victories.
This time around, there will be no Neymar, after the Brazilian joined his fellow South American Angel Di Maria on the treatment table and will miss the game in Barcelona, hoping instead to be fit for the second leg.
This makes us believe that it may well be a case of Paris needing to come from behind in the Parc Des Princes Stadium in order to avenge the memories of La Remontada (‘The Comeback’) from three seasons ago, and we’d take Barcelona to get the victory in Camp Nou, but at a cost. Mauricio Pochettino sides almost always score when they need to and away from home can be a dangerous animal.
Our tip: Barcelona to win and both teams to score (23/10)
RB Leipzig vs. Liverpool (Tuesday, 8pm GMT kick-off)
Liverpool head to Germany in woeful form, having lost their last three Premier League fixtures to Burnley, Brighton and Leicester City. Leipzig, by positive comparison, have emerged as possibly the closest challengers to Bayern Munich in Germany, overtaking Borussia Dortmund, albeit with the caveat that Dayot Upamecano will be departing for Munich in the summer.
A defeat for Liverpool is expected but they may be more dangerous on the European stage than people give them credit for, and a score such as 2-2 or even 3-3 is not out of the realms of possibility. It’s hard to see them keeping Leipzig down to just one goal, however, as Manchester United found to their cost in losing 3-2 to depart the Champions League at the group stage just a few months ago.
Liverpool may well lose but still overcome Leipzig at Anfield, with the German side losing 5-0 at Old Trafford earlier in the season in a display of defensive ineptitude that even Liverpool of late can be amused by.
Our tip: RB Leipzig to score over 1.5 goals (5/4)
FC Porto vs. Juventus (Wednesday, 8pm GMT kick-off)
Cristiano Ronaldo bids to win his sixth Champions League winner’s medal as his Juve side head to the Estádio do Dragão to take on Porto in what was one of the softer draws for the knockout phase giants.
Juventus should have no problem overcoming their Portuguese foes and the home country side’s favourite son could well be the danger man as Porto give away a lot of free-kicks in dangerous areas.
Take Ronaldo to score and Juventus to grab a victory on the road.
Our tip: Ronaldo to score and Juventus to win (7/4)
Sevilla vs. Borussia Dortmund (Wednesday, 8pm GMT kick-off)
The Germans head to Seville not having won on Spanish soil in their last 10 Champions League games, a run which included seven losses. The only win they have ever recorded in Spain was at Atletico Madrid in 1996… when they went on to win the European Cup.
Sevilla have an equally impressive home record against any German opposition, with their only home defeat to a side from Germany coming in the quarter-finals of this competition in the 2017/18 season, the only time they ever made it past the Round of 16 stage. Sevilla are 11/8 to win on Wednesday night and 9/1 to win 1-0, both of which are great bets in our opinion.
Our tip: Sevilla to win (11/8)
Midweek Champions League Round of 16 Fixtures:
Tuesday 16th February
Barcelona vs. Paris Saint Germain (8pm GMT kick-off)
RB Leipzig vs. Liverpool (8pm GMT kick-off)
Wednesday 17th February
FC Porto vs. Juventus (8pm GMT kick-off)
Sevilla vs. Borussia Dortmund (8pm GMT kick-off)