Champions League on TV
The Champions League Returns to our TV screens
The long wait for the return of Europe’s top Football competition is finally over where we take a look at how the Champions League will conclude in this mini-tournament format.
Of all the last 16 ties to be wrapped up, Bayern Munich against Chelsea is the least game without much expectation following the Bundesliga Champions’ scintillating performance in London and leaving the blues needing four clear goals to qualify.
Manchester City find themselves in an extremely good position to make it past Real Madrid following their 2-1 away victory. The same cannot be said of the other heavy weighs in this competition – Barcelona and Juventus, who have both struggled since the restart and will need a change in form to have any hope of advancing.
Previewing the Return of Champions League on TV
Manchester City vs Real Madrid (Friday, August 7)
Manchester City have the advantage. It is as simple as that, but the tie is far from over.
Ten wins since the restart topped them in La Liga to end their rivals’ recent domestic dominance will the Blancos fancying their chances of overhauling the deficit and progressing the next stage of the competition.
In contrast City’s form has been mixed, with some emphatic wins followed by some extremely erratic performances. They will heavily need to rely on Raheem Sterling’s hot form and Kevin De Bruyne’s brilliance to hold on to their lead.
Real Madrid are record 13-time winners of the competition meaning there is no denying of their formidable pedigree in Europe. The Spanish champions are renowned for showing up in matches that count, and this is one of them.
Juventus vs Lyon (Friday, August 7)
Juventus have been a shadow of themselves and the one point gap on rivals Inter Milan in the Serie A just shows how disappointing and inconsistent their form has been.
The home form of Maurizio Sarri’s team show encouraging signs, with just two defeats in 26 matches across all competitions this season, while they have been beaten on just seven occasions in 77 home Champions League matches.
Lyon fields the opposite of Juventus; a youthful energetic squad with enormous potential. The French outfit is centered around one of Europe’s brightest prospects in Houssem Aouar and will also be relying on the form of Memphis Depay.
Neither team managed to finish their domestic season in particular fashion, but Juventus have throughout the years proved to be a force and we have a feeling that Cristiano Ronaldo will inspire a huge comeback like he knows best.
Saturday: Champions League on TV
Bayern Munich vs Chelsea (Saturday, August 8)
Chelsea could be in for an extremely long night come Saturday, where they are already trailing Bayern Munich 3-0 from the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie.
They secured a place in next season’s competition ending the season in third, but go into the game still in heartbreak following their 2-1 FA Cup final defeat to London rivals Arsenal. Things do not seem to be looking any nicer for them as they will have to do without Christian Pulisic, Pedro, N’Golo Kante and Cezar Azpilicueta.
The Blues were completely outplayed from start to finish on the night and few will be daring themselves to bet on an upset against Bayern.
The Bavarian giants went into their four week break on a17-match winning streak in all competitions and are for many favourites to lift the trophy. Merit would certainly have to go their manager Hansi Flick who managed to overturn his team’s fortunes after a shaky start under then manager Niko Kovac.
Bayern’s masterclass in the first leg sees them go as strong favourites to claim another comfortable win and safe passage to the next round.
Barcelona vs Napoli (Saturday, August 8)
This encounter is evenly balanced following a 1-1 draw in the first leg back in February, and the winner will advance to Lisbon in the last stages of the competition.
Barcelona will be desperate to triumph in the Champions League this season following their disappointing end to their La Liga campaign, but they must find a way to overcome a stubborn opponent in the shape of Napoli.
Barca are unbeaten in their last 35 Champions League matches on home soil, while they have not lost to Italian opposition in any of their last 15 home fixtures, registering 12 victories in the process.
Napoli’s attacking front, spearheaded by the formidable Lorenzo Insigne and club top scorer Dries Mertens, will be the main threats to expose a weak and vulnerable Barcelona defence.
They have never made it past the last 16 of the competition, having been beaten to Chelsea and Real Madrid respectively in their last -16 ties. However they are still unbeaten in this year’s edition, and impressively managed to overcome Liverpool at home in the group stages before claiming a point at Anfield.
The Catalans will be without the services of Samuel Umtiti through injury, and Arturo Vidal and Sergio Busquets both through suspension.
On the other end Napoli are expected to be without defender Kostas Manolas and Nikola Maksimovic who is still struggling with a knee injury.