With the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 upon us these next two weeks, plenty of teams will be looking to make their moves and secure a spot in the quarterfinals. There are a total of four matches this week, and all eight teams still feel they have a shot to move on. Here is a look at all four matches, with picks for each.
Real Madrid @ Manchester United
When playing on the road last time, Manchester United was able to come away with a draw against Real Madrid. Now at Old Trafford, they have to like their chances of winning and moving on. With that being said, Real Madrid might be playing their best soccer of the season right now.
Real Madrid’s biggest rival, Barcelona, was taken down twice last week. They might not be able to catch them in the La Liga standings, but they at least showed them that they can still compete at a high level.
Offensively, Real Madrid has stepped it up a notch, and that makes them a dangerous club home or away. Manchester United knows this though, especially when it comes to their star Cristiano Ronaldo. The star once played for Manchester United, so it will be a homecoming of sorts for him at Old Trafford. The fans will certainly let him hear it all night long, and that could be a slight issue for him.
In this match, expect quite a few goals. Both teams are too explosive to be shut down completely. It is just really hard to go against the home team in this instance. It should be a close one, with lots of drama throughout the 90 minutes, but at the end of the day the red Devils move on and when on aggregate.
Pick: Manchester United 4-3
Shakntar Donetsk @ Borussia Dortmund
Like Manchester United and Real Madrid, these 2 teams played to a draw in the 1st leg. That means that the 2nd leg will be for all the marbles on Tuesday. Borussia Dortmund has the advantage getting to play at home, but will it be enough to come out on top?
Shakntar has plenty of firepower, lead by Darijo Srna and Douglas Costa. They both found the back of the net in the first leg, and shutting them down will be a concern for the home team. They will be under fire though, since they know they are up against the wall coming in as the road team that needs a win.
Dortmund squeaked out a draw last time, and Mats Hummels’ late header in the first leg proved to be huge. They played well in the Ukraine last time, finding a way to stay in the match every time it seemed to appear as though it was slipping away.
Expect another close one that comes down to the wire. Again, playing in Germany should be beneficial for the home club. This is why you play to win home field advantage for the deciding leg. Look for the reigning Bundesliga champions to do enough to come away with a win.
Pick: Borussia Dortmund 2-1
Valencia @ Paris Saint-Germain
Paris Saint-Germain enters Wednesday’s contest clearly in the driver’s seat. However, they also have to feel that they allowed Valencia to have a little bit of hope late in the first leg with a goal. By only winning 2-1 on the road, PSG has left the door slightly open for the Spanish club.
Everything in the first match was going just great, but Adil Rami scored a goal for Valencia during injury time to close the gap. Then, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was issued a red card due to reckless tackling shortly after the goal. He will not only miss this upcoming match, but the next Champions League fixture as well if they advance.
Despite those two negatives, Paris Saint-Germain should be focusing on the positive side of things. Manager Carlo Ancelotti’s team played at a different level than Valencia, who is going through a rather tough season domestically as well.
Look for Parist Saint-Germain to take control of the match and win going away. Even if Valencia can somehow keep things close, it should be PSG that moves on. Valencia just does not have the same type of consistency that they showcased a season ago. Take them to win in this individual matchup too.
Pick: Paris Saint-Germain 2-1
Celtic @ Juventus
Celtic can be positive all they want, but they have by far the toughest task this week when it comes to advancing. Juventus delivered a statement win last time out, winning 3-0 on the road. Celtic will have to find a lot of answers in a short period of time to even consider moving on in this competition.
In the first match, Alessandro Matri, Claudio Marchisio and Mirko Vucinic all found the back of the net. There is speculation that Juventus is so confident at home, that they might even opt to give some of their banged up players a rest in this one. The Italian side has been playing well domestically as well, giving up just four goals in their last seven match.
The one positive for Celtic is that they will be free to lay it all out on the line. With nothing to lose, they can pull off some a stunning result. This is a team that beat Barcelona in the group stage, so they know how to handle solid teams. The fact of the matter is this team would have to win on aggregate to advance. It just does not seem possible.
In this match, look for Celtic to play better, and Juventus to be on cruise control. This will not be high-level soccer that people are used to, but Celtic will play with enough pride to give themselves a positive result to end their Champions League run on. They go into Juventus and leave with a draw, and the Italian side takes the next step towards a possible championship run in the process.
Pick: 1-1 Draw
Written By Betting Tips 101