Champions League Back with a Bang

Bayern Munich may have one foot in the quarter-finals but the other last-16 Champions League ties look finely poised.

Bayern manager Hansi Flick gives directions

Champions League football returns this week with four games still left to play in the round-of-16 on Friday and Saturday, before the competition heads to Portugal for the home stretch.

RB Leipzig, Atletico Madrid, Atalanta and Paris Saint-Germain have already secured their places in the quarter-finals but the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Lyon, Juventus, Napoli and Barcelona still have last-16 business to complete.

The conclusion of the 2019-20 edition of the competition will be unique due to the coronavirus pandemic with one-off games set to decide each tie from the quarter-final stage.

All to Play for in Last 16

Bayern Munich have a commanding 3-0 advantage over Chelsea after blitzing past the Premier League club at Stamford Bridge in February.

They have won the Bundesliga and DFB Pokal titles in the meantime and shouldn’t have too many issues in completing the job to book their spot in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

However, the other three last-16 ties could still go either way and are likely to be much more tense.

Real Madrid head to Manchester City on Friday, trailing 2-1, but have the bonus of momentum after ending their domestic campaign as champions.

Pep Guardiola outsmarted his counterpart Zinedine Zidane in the first-leg meeting and the Frenchman will be seeking revenge at the Etihad.

Meanwhile, Italian champions Juventus, who are 4/9 to win on home soil, are also in action on Friday when they welcome Ligue 1 outfit Lyon to the Allianz Stadium.

Lyon edged the first leg 1-0 courtesy of a strike from Lucas Tousart and will be seeking a crucial away goal in Turin to put serious pressure on the Old Lady.

Barcelona limped through the latter stages of their domestic season but have a slight advantage as they return to action in the Champions League against Napoli on Saturday.

The Blaugrana, who haven’t won the elite European competition since 2014-15, drew 1-1 in Italy and can be backed at 5/8 to win at the Camp Nou.

Bayern Out to End Champions League Drought

Bayern Munich players shake hands in practice match ahead of Champions League restart

Bayern have enjoyed plenty of success on the European stage in years gone by, winning the Champions League on five occasions, however, they haven’t reached the final since winning the competition in 2012-13.

They exited the tournament in the round-of-16 last season but look in a much better position to go all the way this year and are attractively priced as the joint 10/3 favourites to win the Champions League outright.

Manchester City join them on that mark but the Premier League club have a huge battle on their hands in reaching the next stage.

Hansi Flick’s side have been free-scoring throughout the European campaign, netting at least three goals in six of their seven outings, and their wealth of attacking talent is likely to have them firmly in the mix for silverware.

Werner Absence to Hurt Leipzig

RB Leipzig’s rise to the top has been nothing short of extraordinary, founded in 2009, they have climbed up the divisions in Germany and are set to play in the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time in their history on August 13.

They take on Atletico Madrid in a one-off tie for a spot in the semi-finals but are set to be without top scorer Timo Werner.

The Germany international struck four times to help Leipzig reach the last-eight. However, he has since signed for Chelsea and the German outfit will need to rely on others to fill the void.

Atletico have already knocked out defending champions Liverpool and their experience in this competition, having reached the final twice since 2014, makes them an attractive prospect to win the tie and they can be backed at 5/4.

If you want to test your Champions League knowledge, try our our Champion’s League Quiz and name the trophy-winning goal scorers.

*All odds correct at time of writing

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