VAVEL writers predict the remaining Champions League Round of 16 ties
(Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Champions League returns on Friday following its suspension in March, with four last-16 second legs still to be settled before the winner-takes-all quarterfinals.

Of the ties, only Bayern Munich vs Chelsea appears a foregone conclusion after the German champions ran out 3-0 winners at Stamford Bridge. But will the final outcome prove respectable or somewhat humiliating for Frank Lampard's Blues?

Elsewhere, Serie A winners Juventus will have to overturn a 1-0 deficit if they are to progress against Lyon, while Barcelona vs Napoli is finely-poised at one apiece.

And the most anticipated game of all sees 13-time champions Real Madrid travel to the Etihad aiming to produce a fightback against Manchester City, favourites to land a first European crown.

We asked close followers of the eight sides for their pre-match verdict. Who are they tipping to progress, and to fall?

Manchester City vs Real Madrid - Friday, 20.00

Josh Lees, VAVEL Manchester City Editor

After City squandered their Premier League crown to Liverpool there is no doubt that all of Pep Guardiola’s attention will be on the Champions League.

The one component on the side of the Blues in this one is of course their aggregate and away-goal advantage after a superb 2-1 win away at the Bernabeu in the first leg.

However, there is no doubt that Guardiola’s side cannot just rest on their aggregate lead with Madrid heading into this one in scintillating form. Since the restart Los Blancos are yet to lose a game, and the superb run earned them a well-deserved La Liga crown.

It is more than fair to say that it is hard to split these two European powerhouses heading into Friday’s huge tie at the Etihad, but I feel City’s aggregate lead just gives them the edge over Zinedine Zidane’s side.

Score Prediction: Manchester City 1-1 Real Madrid (City win 3-2 on aggregate)

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Ben Crump, VAVEL La Liga Editor

Fresh off the back of a La Liga title win, Zinedine Zidane’s men have it all to do against Pep Guardiola’s Man City.

City approach the game fresh off the back of a successful appeal with CAS about their participation next season in the competition and they will want to send a firm message to the rest of Europe that they mean business.

Score Prediction: Manchester City 1-1 Real Madrid (City win 3-2 on aggregate)

Juventus vs Lyon - Friday, 20.00

Neil Leverett, Editor at VAVEL

With Atalanta waiting in the last eight, fellow Serie A duo Juventus and Napoli still have work to do in order to join La Dea in next week’s quarter-finals in Lisbon.

In the case of Maurizio Sarri’s now nine-time successive Scudetto winners, the Bianconeri must overturn a 1-0 deficit to Lyon, after Lucas Tousart’s sole goal in the first leg at the Groupama Stadium way back in February.

Lyon have lost four of their last five trips to Italy in the Champions League, but conversely drew 1-1 with the hosts in November 2016.

A similar result here will see Rudi Garcia’s men progress at the expense of the two-time winners of the European Cup. Indeed, even a scoring loss could see the French side go through on away goals.

Juventus have been far from water-tight at the back this season and in their last seven games at the Juventus Stadium have kept a clean sheet just twice – conceding to Lazio, Atalanta, Roma and Torino.

In their favour however, Juve have once more found a goal-scoring touch, with Paulo Dybala having flourished after being pushed into a more forward role, flanked by Cristiano Ronaldo and Federico Bernardeschi.

That will likely be the decisive element here, but it could be a nervy evening for the Old Lady in Turin on Friday night.

Score Prediction: Juventus 3-1 Lyon (Juventus win 3-2 on aggregate)

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Aaron Hindhaugh, Editor at VAVEL

Since the first leg, Juventus have won Serie A comfortably and Lyon saw their season curtailed early and finished miles off the pace in seventh, 16 points behind Marseille in second.

Lyon’s young and dynamic attack includes captain Memphis Depay, Moussa Dembele, Maxwell Cornet and Houssem Aouar. The latter is the feeder and creative spark and is able to affect the game from out-wide and the centre of the pitch, which could cause confusion amongst a ropey Juventus defence.

With captain Depay back and ready to fire the seven-time Ligue 1 champions into the quarterfinals of the Champions League, Lyon will fancy their chances at causing an upset as they were only beaten in the Coupe de la Ligue final by PSG on penalties after matching them for 120 minutes.

Score Prediction: Juventus 3-2 Lyon (3-3 on aggregate; Lyon go through on away goals)

Barcelona vs Napoli - Saturday, 20.00

Ben Crump, VAVEL La Liga Editor

The Catalan side are under a huge amount of pressure to win the Champions League but they have struggled to find form since the restart and up until the end of the La Liga season.

Lionel Messi has come to an arrangement with boss Quique Setien to play out the remainder of the season and not allow any doubts over the latter’s future get in the way.

Napoli will want to take advantage of Barca’s injury-hit squad and this could prove to be a closer tie than people would first predict.

Score Prediction: Barcelona 2-0 Napoli (Barcelona win 3-1 on aggregate)

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Neil Leverett, Editor at VAVEL

Napoli travel to Catalonia level on aggregate at 1-1, after Dries Mertens’ effort in Italy before the COVID-19 hiatus.

Gennaro Gattuso has slowly seen the shoots of improvement since taking the reins from Carlo Ancelotti last December, however having finished seventh in Serie A, the Partenopei are keenly aware this could their last Champions League outing for the foreseeable future.

Napoli enjoyed the resumption of domestic affairs after lockdown, losing only on the road to top-four rivals Atalanta and Inter Milan. Of possible cause for concern for the Neapolitans though will be a lack of goals in the locker with just six in as many games away from Stadio San Paolo.

With that said, however, Gattuso’s side beat Juventus in the Coppa Italia final in June – on penalties no less – and La Blaugrana should not take Napoli lightly on their first competitive visit to Camp Nou, but Barca should have enough firepower.

Score Prediction: Barcelona 2-0 Napoli (Barcelona win 3-1 on aggregate)

Bayern Munich vs Chelsea - Saturday, 20.00

Adnan Basic, VAVEL Bundesliga Editor

Thankfully for Bayern Munich, they did all the hard work in the first leg. Running riot at Stamford Bridge, the Bavarians gave themselves a huge 3-0 advantage going into this second leg.

Back home at the Allianz Arena, there’s no reason to believe Munich will falter here, as they’ve got too much experience and composure in the team to let that happen.

There’s a good chance they’ll rest some starters, keeping them fully fit for the rest of the tournament. Even so, expect a typically solid performance from the German champions.

Score prediction: Bayern 0-0 Chelsea (Bayern win 3-0 on aggregate)

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Jake Stokes, VAVEL Chelsea Editor

Bayern Munich are 3-0 up on aggregate having deconstructed the Blues on their own turf at Stamford Bridge: sometimes you just have to stand up and say, ‘fair play’.

The Bundesliga giants played Frank Lampard’s young side off the park and demonstrated the levels Chelsea must aim to achieve. The second leg for Chelsea is an opportunity for Lampard and Jody Morris to experiment and tweak various play styles and formations in preparation for next season, while remaining competitive. Lampard should certainly field a formation with two strikers, of Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud, to inflict relentless aerial pressure on the Bayern backline.

Lampard should play a midfield diamond; the 4-1-2-1-2. This is a formation he utilised at Derby County and with Chelsea at Bohemians in pre-season. This would open up the gates for our full-backs to flood forward, as well as remaining strong in the heart of midfield to prevent a counterattack. When Chelsea have their backs against the wall and are defending the width of their own box, the holding midfielder can slot between the two centre-halves and provide extra cover in an attempt to nullify Robert Lewandoski – similarly to Marcelo Bielsa’s employment of Kalvin Phillips.

However, Chelsea are playing Bayern – a team that have the potential to turnover any side on demand at any level. Lampard must throw everything at the game.

Score prediction: Bayern 3-1 Chelsea (Bayern win 6-1 on aggregate)

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