The Champions League returns for the 2nd legs of the last 16 with just about every side still in with a shout to progress through to the quarter finals.
What’s left of Mourinho’s Tottenham squad are set to limp over to Germany and take on RB Leipzig, defending champs Liverpool will attempt to overturn a one-goal deficit against Atletico Madrid, while PSG hope to break a four year hoodoo when they play host to Borussia Dortmund.
I’ve previewed the first four UCL Round 16 2nd Leg Fixtures and provided my best betting plays along the way.
Aggregate: 1 – 0
Tottenham trudge into this contest down a goal and without their top three attacking assets.
Since their first leg defeat to RB Leipzig the Spurs have gone four games without a win, which included getting bundled out of the FA Cup by the relegation bound Norwich City.
Alternatively, Leipzig are unbeaten across their last five matches and are hot on the tails of both Bayern and Dortmund in the Bundesliga title race.
Spurs are extremely fortunate to only be one away goal down after Leipzig completely dominated the first leg in London, Hugo Lloris put in a match of the match performance on the losing side, repelling wave after wave of Timo Werner strikes.
Mourinho will need to channel his inner Houdini if he has any aspirations of escaping the round of 16, with the more likely outcome being that he’ll be buried alive under a heavy onslaught of German attack.
Aggregate: 1 – 4
You’re more likely to find a toilet paper roll at Woolies than see Valencia progress through to the quarter finals.
Valencia have left themselves a mountain to climb following a shocking 1-4 spanking at the hands of Champions League newcomers Atalanta. Los Ches have struggled to find any sort of form lately, picking up a single win across last seven matches.
Atalanta’s biggest concern leading into this fixture is not their opponents but rather their country’s well-being, as COVID-19 has put Italy on a total lock-down, resulting in the postponement of all domestic fixtures.
Consequently, Atalanta have only played one match since their first leg against Valencia, running out an impressive 7-2 victory over Lecce.
Valencia have no choice but to throw everything including the kitchen sink towards Atalanta goals, leaving themselves vulnerable on the counter and laying the platform for a high scoring affair!
Aggregate: 1 – 2
Let’s take a quick trip down PSG’s UCL memory lane:
2016/17: Knocked out in last 16 by Barca.
PSG bang four past a helpless Barcelona in the first leg of their tie, only to be pegged back 1-6 in the second leg thanks to goals from Suarez, Messi and Neymar!
2017/18 Knocked out in last 16 by Real Madrid.
Cristiano Ronaldo dished out the punishment this time around, scoring three times on the way to a 5-2 aggregate across both legs.
2018/19: Knocked out in last 16 by Manchester United!
PSG started the second leg at home with a 2-0 advantage only to be outplayed by one of the weakest United teams to grace the UCL, the game finished 1-3 with the Red Devils progressing to the quarters on away goals.
2019/20: First leg 2-1 to Dortmund, second leg pending..
PSG will be out to get the monkey off their back as they attempt to move past the round of 16 for the first time in four years, standing in their way is a red hot Dortmund side who can’t seem to stop winning at the minute.
There is no questioning PSG are jam-packed full of talent, especially in the top end of the park, but when you’re constantly playing against farmers you’re bound to get bullied around the park when the time comes to face a real footballing outfit.
Aggregate: 0 – 1
The current European champions are one-nil down and staring down the barrel of a Round 16 exit.
Fortunately for Reds’ fans we don’t have to look too far back in history to find and example of their side overturning a first leg UCL deficit, with the Champions dismantling Barcelona 4-0 in the second leg of their 2019 Semi-Final!
Furthermore, Klopp has never tasted defeat at home in a Champions League fixture, claiming four draws and eleven victories whilst in charge of both Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund.
Atletico Madrid have the perfect team structure and mentality to protect a one goal advantage. Unfortunately, away form suggests they will struggle at Anfield. Diego Simeone’s side are winless in their last six away fixtures across all competitions, managing to keep just one clean sheet across that trip.
Klopp will no doubt have his side ready to explode into action at Anfield, and if the Reds can find an early goal I can see them kicking on to win this contest at a canter.