The long wait for the return of the Champions League comes to an end on Tuesday and Wednesday, as the first legs of the round of 16 get underway. This week’s games are headlined by a huge showdown in Paris, as PSG welcome Real Madrid. Meanwhile, Inter Milan, Liverpool and Manchester City are also in action.
PSG VS Real Madrid Preview & Pick
The tie of the round gets underway in Paris on Tuesday evening, as PSG welcome Real Madrid to the French capital. One of the two huge European heavyweights will be knocked out of the competition in this first knockout round, and it will be fascinating to see which side falls short.
PSG finished second in Group A, as they finished a point behind Manchester City despite losing a game fewer than the eventual group winners. The Parisians won half of their six group stage games, with the two draws eventually costing them their place at the top of the standings.
Real Madrid’s group campaign got off to a shaky start, but they were able to regain themselves and win five from six games to finish five clear of Inter Milan. They have allowed just three goals in the Champions League so far this campaign, but that defensive record will be put to the test in Paris.
Overall, I think Real Madrid will get through in this tie, as they have been extremely efficient throughout the season. Therefore, the draw is the pick for the first leg.
Sporting Lisbon VS Manchester City Preview & Pick
One of the most straightforward ties to predict in the round of 16 is this one. Manchester City should have way too much for Sporting Lisbon over two legs, and should ease through with a wide aggregate scoreline.
City won four of their six group stage games, with defeats being suffered against PSG and RB Leipzig. Defensively they will need to improve though as the tournament progresses, as they have allowed ten goals so far. Sporting Lisbon were strong in the group stages, as they edged out Borussia Dortmund to take second.
However, their journey could effectively be over with a big defeat on Tuesday night. We like the chances of City winning this first leg with a -1 handicap.
RB Salzburg VS Bayern Munich Preview & Pick
Bayern Munich are my pick to win the Champions League this season, and I can’t see them facing too many issues getting past RB Salzburg in their first leg. Bayern have been the eye-catching side in the competition so far this season, as they won all six group stage games in Group E.
In total, they scored an astounding 22 goals, and conceded just three. It looks unlikely that they will be tested in Austria, and another win without conceding looks likely. However, Salzburg have fought hard to reach this stage, and will be looking to give a good account of themselves.
They won three of the six games that they played in Group G, and would have considered themselves unlucky not to have topped the group. That being said though, Bayern with the -2 handicap would be our selection.
Inter Milan VS Liverpool Preview & Pick
An interesting showdown is set for the San Siro on Wednesday evening, as two European heavyweights go toe-to-toe. Serie A leaders Inter will be hoping to take an advantage back to Anfield, as anything other than that will see them running the risk of elimination.
Inter showed character in the second half of the group stages to secure second place, as they won three of the six games that they played. However, transferring league form into the European competition has cost them over recent seasons.
Liverpool won’t be afraid of the trip to the San Siro, having already made that journey this season when beating AC Milan. The Reds finished with a perfect record in Group B, winning all six games and scoring 17 goals.
Liverpool may be the popular pick here, but I’d be keen to take a chance on the draw to set up an interesting second leg.