Crucial Games in the Champions League
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RB Leipzig (1) vs (0) Tottenham 

Last year’s finalists, Tottenham, have it all to do at the Red Bull Arena as they look to overcome a 1-0 deficit courtesy of a Timo Werner penalty. In a game where Leipzig dominated possession and shots, Mourinho will have to spur his side on if they want to reach the quarter-finals. Check out the first-leg highlights below: 

RB Leipzig are looking to reach the quarter-final of a major European competition for only the second time; last time in 2017/2018 Europa League but were beaten by Marseille. RB are undefeated in their last six competitions; however, only two of those games have been victories, one coming against Spurs. Werner scored the all-important winning also away goal in the first leg. Nagelsmann will be hoping his talisman, who has 27 goals in all competitions this season can find the back of the net early in the game to ease the pressure from his side. Leipzig have been a strong force at home this season, they haven’t lost a home game in eleven games, with their last defeat coming back in October, in their Champions League group stage game against Lyon.

 

 

The stats are not in Spurs’ favour, as they have lost eight out of their last ten major UEFA European ties after losing the first leg. To make matters worse, since the loss to Leipzig in their own stadium three weeks ago, they have not won game; losing three and drawing 1-1 to Burnley at the weekend. Spurs have been lacking fire power up top over recent weeks and with both Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min on the sidelines for the foreseeable future, it is going to be a very difficult task for Spurs to bounce back and knockout RB Leipzig. Spurs have lost all three games this season to German opposition and will need to turn this around. They will be hoping that their two-time Champions League winning manager Mourinho, can offer them some guidance and a way into the next round.

 

 

Valencia (1) vs (4) Atalanta

Atalanta have one foot in the quarter-finals in their debut season, after they smashed Valencia 4-1 in the first-leg. Valencia would have been hoping to have their home crowd rally their comeback but that will not be the case as the game is now being played behind closed doors due to the Coronavirus. Check out the first-leg highlights below:

History is not on Valencia’s side. They are winless in their last nine Champions League knockout stage matches and haven’t reached the Champions League quarter-finals since 2007. They also haven’t scored three goals in a knockout match, since beating Leeds United way back in 2001. Since losing to Atalanta, they have won one, drawn one and lost one, with all those games happening in La Liga. However, their good home form this season is something that they will be looking continue, as they have only lost once in twelve games in all competitions this season. How important could substitute Denis Cheryshev, consolation away goal be if Valencia are to miraculously turn this tie around and reach the quarter-finals?    

 

 

Atalanta have only played once since the reverse fixture, due to the Coronavirus; however, in that game they demolished Leece 7-2, with striker Duván Zapata getting a hat-trick. This wasn’t the first time Atalanta have scored seven goals this season, as they beat Torino 7-0 in January and Udinese 7-1 back in October. They have scored 70 goals in Serie A this season, ten more than the next closest side. They are in unfamiliar territory at the moment, but this didn’t seem to faze them in the first leg and could potentially continue breaking their own club’s history by progressing further in the Champions League. Atalanta will be looking to continue their impressive form which has seen them lose only once in their last sixteen matches and make it into the quarter-finals.

 

 

PSG (1) vs (2) Borussia Dortmund

PSG will be hoping to contain Erling Håland and overcome a 2-1 deficit when they host Borussia Dortmund. Håland’s goals either side of Neymar’s penalty gave Dortmund the lead three weeks ago. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, this game will also be played behind closed doors. Check out the first-leg highlights below:

Worrying news for PSG as it was reported that Kylian Mbappe missed training on Monday due to illness. Thomas Tuchel will be hoping his star man can recover in time in order to prevent PSG from a fourth consecutive last-16 exit. PSG have never overturned a first-leg deficit in the Champions League, losing to AC Milan in 1995, Barcelona in 2015 and more recently Real Madrid in 2018; noticeably, all three of teams reached the final of that year, with two of those teams winning the competition. In more recent news, since the defeat against Dortmund, PSG have won all three games, reaching the French Cup final and scoring thirteen in that time. PSG will need to put their Champions League history behind them if they want to reach the next round of the competition.

 

 

Borussia Dortmund have always progressed to the next stage of the Champions League after winning the first-leg of a knockout match. However, they have lost their last five away Champions League knockout stage matches, with their last victory coming back in 2014, when they beat Zenit Saint Petersburg 2-1. The previous two seasons they have fallen short at this stage but their current run of form which included five wins out of five in all competitions and their Bundesliga league position which has them four points behind leaders Bayern, will certainly be in the back of their minds when they travel to Paris, in hope of reaching the quarter-finals.

 

 

Liverpool (0) vs (1) Atlético Madrid

Current Champions League winners, Liverpool find themselves in a must win game against Atlético on Wednesday as they are lost 1-0 in the first-leg. An early Saúl finish from a corner was the only goal, in a game where Liverpool had 73% of possession but failed to register a shot on target, that separated the two sides. Check out the first-leg highlights below:

Liverpool were highly frustrated during the 90 minutes at the Wanda Metropolitano three weeks ago. Diego Simeone, the Atléti players and fans were all factors in Liverpool’s defeat, however, Anfield promises to be a cauldron on Wednesday night and Liverpool’s fans will do everything they can to ensure their side reaches the next round. Since the defeat in Madrid, the Red men have won two and lost two, with one of those losses being their first in the Premier League this season. Jürgen Klopp has never lost a home Champions League game with Liverpool and his last home defeat in this competition in the last-16 came back in 2015 when he was the manager of Borussia Dortmund. Klopp will hope this run continues as he hopes to take Liverpool to their third Champions League final in a row.

 

 

Atlético won’t mind the enormous pressure that will definitely be coming their way during the second-leg. They were able to frustrate Liverpool by being a solid unit all around. Since the victory in the first-leg, Athléti won their next fixture 3-1 but have been held to two consecutive draws against Espanyol and Sevilla. Atlético haven’t made it past the last-16 in the last two years but they have progressed from four of their last five Champions League knockout ties when winning the first-leg, failing in last season’s campaign against Juventus. Simeone will be hoping to end Liverpool’s current Champions League campaign and take his side into the Champions League quarter-finals.

 

 

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