By ADAM TROXTELL
Europe’s top club competition restarts with a bang as two frontrunners meet in Paris in a rematch of a classic encounter from last year.
Chelsea faces Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday (2:45pm, FOX Sports 1) for the first leg of a high-profile meeting in the UEFA Champions League round of 16. The Blues will hope to leave Paris in a better condition than they did last season, when a solitary Eden Hazard away goal proved to be valuable in a 3-1 defeat.
Two goals back in London in the second leg put Chelsea through, and memories of that quarterfinal disappointment will be fresh in the minds of a PSG team determined to make a run at the cup. The Parisians will have to do it short-handed, however, with Yohan Cabaye, Marquinhos, Serge Aurier and Lucas Moura injured. There are also doubts over the fitness of Blaise Matuidi.
There is also the matter of freshness to consider. PSG was disappointed at the weekend in a 2-2 draw at home against Caen in Ligue 1 play, while Chelsea had the weekend off as the FA Cup took place.
Bayern Munich enters war-torn Ukraine firing on all four cylinders for its round of 16 first leg against Shakhtar Donetsk (2:45pm, Fox Sports 2).
The German champions are once again among the favorites and enter the contest after an 8-0 thrashing of Hamburg on Saturday. Shakhtar will host Bayern, but it’s far from home as the current political crisis forced the game to be moved 800 miles away to Lviv in the west of the country.
There is more bad news for Shakhtar with Brazilian midfielder Bernard ruled out through injury and Taras Stepanenko serving a suspension. Bayern is also battling injuries, with Xabi Alonso, Philipp Lahm, Javi Martinez and Thiago Alcantara doubtful for the match.
Shakhtar has not had the best luck against German opponents, as the club has not won at home against a Bundesliga club since 1980.