After an exciting first batch of Champions League last 16 fixtures, round two awaits us.
Here’s what to look out for …
Game of the week 🔥
Atlético Madrid v Chelsea
It feels like these two play each other a lot in the Champions League but we aren’t complaining.
Atlético Madrid were flying this season but have endured a February slump – winning just one of their last four fixtures – and seeing their LaLiga lead cut to three points.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are motoring under new manager Thomas Tuchel despite not having established a clear style of play, although their defensive record speaks for itself.
Two teams, two clashes of style. Possession football against absorb and counter. We’re expecting a low scoring game but two veteran strikers to make the difference.
🔮 Our prediction: Atlético 1-1 Chelsea
Potential upset 😰
Atalanta v Real Madrid
We’ve filed this in the potential upset column but we actually believe there’s far more than potential for an upset here.
Atalanta are one of the most entertaining teams in Europe, who score at will with relentless attacking overloads and have just won their last three fixtures, scoring eight goals in the process.
Real Madrid are steady and experienced. They’ve been here and worn the t-shirt. Los Blancos have won their last four games and have a dramatic LaLiga u-turn in their sights.
But without Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema, the old men of Madrid could find the constant Atalanta waves difficult to deal with.
🔮 Our prediction: Atalanta 3-1 Real Madrid
Too close to call 🤔
Lazio v Bayern
Not winning in two games would not be overly significant for most clubs. As Hansi Flick is figuring out, Bayern Munich are not most clubs.
Lazio have impressed under Simone Inzaghi and boast talent in attacking areas but remain untested in these fixtures which require composure and street-smarts to progress.
But Bayern are not looking like Bayern. Since winning the Club World Cup in Qatar, they have scraped a draw against Arminia Bielefeld and fallen away to Eintracht Frankfurt.
We’re expecting the defending champions to edge this one, although Lazio are more than capable of springing a surprise on home soil.
🔮 Our prediction: Lazio 1-2 Bayern
Star man 🤩
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
Manchester City already have Ilkay Gündogan chasing the golden boot and Phil Foden proving his David Silva-regen status – why do they need Kevin de Bruyne back fit again?
The 29-year-old has four assists in just two Champions League appearances this season and looks ready to cause havoc after getting some minutes in the tank against Arsenal.
City face Borussia Mönchengladbach who have stuttered after confirming the departure of manager Marco Rose, failing to win each of their last three fixtures. The stage is set.