The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 kicks off on Tuesday with eight teams aiming to earn an advantage heading into March’s second legs.
Two recent European rivals square off in the headlining tie of the week with Barcelona welcoming Paris Saint-Germain to town. Lionel Messi’s good run of form will have the hosts full of confidence at the Camp Nou, especially knowing they won’t have to deal the skillful Neymar on the other end of the field.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side comes into Tuesday’s showdown as winners of its last four meetings, but know a tough test awaits in Spain. Kylian Mbappe and Moise Kean will lead the line for PSG, knowing they will have to be at their best due to Neymar’s absence.
2019 winners Liverpool hit the road for the first leg, facing off with RB Leipzig in Budapest, Hungary. Jurgen Klopp’s side have seen its chances of repeating as Premier League winners all but end with Saturday’s loss to Leicester City and will now need to show a short memory this week.
RB Leipzig has won its last four-consecutive matches across all competitions and will be keen to continue Liverpool’s horrid run of form. Julian Nagelsmann will rely on his attacking players of Yussuf Poulsen, Marcel Sabitzer, and Christopher Nkunku to lead the way against the Reds.
Here is a closer look at all four matches scheduled this week in UCL play:
Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain
(Tuesday, 3 p.m., CBS Sports Network/Univision)
Barcelona looks to have found its groove ahead of a first leg showdown with Paris Saint-Germain, winning seven of its last eight matches across all competitions. Lionel Messi has led the way with five goals and is coming off a brace in Sunday’s lopsided win over Alaves. Messi has also received help from several of his offensive teammates, a major boost for the Catalan club coming into an important first leg home match.
Paris Saint-Germain will not have the services of Brazilian star Neymar, but still has Kylian Mbappe and Moise Kean to rely on in attack. The duo has combined for four goals in all competitions over the team’s last four victories and will go against an in-form Barcelona backline. Mauricio Pochettino’s side has been eliminated by Barcelona in the last two knockout round meetings, but will be keen to exact revenge this time around.
RB Leipzig vs. Liverpool (Played in Budapest due to COVID-19)
(Tuesday, 3 p.m., Galavision/FuboTV)
RB Leipzig comes into Tuesday’s first leg meeting with Liverpool in good shape and will be eager to add further humiliation to the Reds’ recent run of form. Julian Nagelsmann’s side have won the last four matches in all competitions, conceding only once in that span. Dayot Upamecano is a key reason for that defensive success and the French international and future Bayern Munich player will need to be at his best against Mo Salah and the rest of the Reds attack.
Liverpool has lost its last three matches, conceding three goals or more in the last two overall. Alisson’s defensive miscues in goal has hampered Liverpool’s push for back-to-back league titles while the Reds attack has struggled to score more than two combined goals in the past 276 minutes of action. Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will join Salah in Jurgen Klopp’s attack in hopes of leading the defending EPL winners to a road victory in Hungary.
Sevilla vs. Borussia Dortmund
(Wednesday, 3 p.m., Galavision/FuboTV)
Borussia Dortmund has limped its way to Wednesday’s showdown at the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan and will now look to stop an on-fire Sevilla squad. The Bundesliga visitors have fallen in the league title race and have not won in their last two matches. Erling Haaland’s return from injury is a boost, but the Norwegian will need help in breaking down a Sevilla defensive unit that has posted seven consecutive shutouts.
The La Liga hosts have not lost since January 12th, winning nine in a row and outscoring their opponents 18-1. Defensively, Sevilla has been confident while offensively they have seen a wide range of players contribute goals of late. Ivan Rakitic, Munir El Haddadi, Lucas Ocampos have all chipped in goals over the past few victories and will all look to get after an inconsistent Dortmund backline at home.
FC Porto vs. Juventus
(Wednesday, 3 p.m., TUDN/Unimas/FuboTV)
FC Porto plays host to defending Serie A winners Juventus on Wednesday, looking to exact revenge for a Round of 16 exit back in 2017. The Primeira Liga side has not won its last four matches, scoring five goals over that span to go along with five goals conceded. Mehdi Taremi and Sergio Oliveira have been the main sources of goals over the past month and have 18 combined league goals combined this season. Both will need to be on their game to give Juventus a tough time at the Estadio do Dragao.
Juventus slipped up over the weekend in a league defeat to Napoli, but will be keen to rebound on the road this week. Cristiano Ronaldo leads the Old Lady’s attack, scoring three goals in his past four appearances while defensively they have posted three shutouts in the past five outings. Juan Cuadrado will miss the match through injury, giving Andrea Pirlo a number of options to go to in attack with the Portuguese star.