UCL Preview: Real Madrid, Chelsea hold slim leads heading into second legs

UCL Preview: Real Madrid, Chelsea hold slim leads heading into second legs

European Soccer

UCL Preview: Real Madrid, Chelsea hold slim leads heading into second legs

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The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 comes to a close this week with four final spots at stake in the quarterfinal round.

Real Madrid returns home for a second leg showdown with Serie A side Atalanta, hoping to have a much, more comfortable time than the first leg. Los Blancos hold a slim 1-0 aggregate lead after downing the Italians in Bergamo back in February. Ferland Mendy played the hero on that day, but Zinedine Zidane will hope his stars lead the way in this meeting.

Chelsea also returns home for a second leg match, facing off with Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge. Thomas Tuchel’s side used an Olivier Giroud goal in Romania to claim a 1-0 aggregate advantage and will hope to advance with ease. Atletico Madrid has put together a four-match unbeaten run since that first leg defeat, conceding only twice over that span.

Elsewhere, defending champions Bayern Munich faces off with Lazio holding a three-goal advantage while Manchester City faces off with Borussia Monchengladbach with a two-goal advantage against the Bundesliga club.

Here is a closer look at all four matches scheduled this week in UCL play:

Real Madrid vs. Atalanta

(Tuesday, 4 p.m., CBS Sports Network/Univision)

Real Madrid needed a late winner in Bergamo to defeat Atalanta in the first leg and will hope to brush aside the visitors this time around. Los Blancos are riding an eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions, with six of those results being victories. Zinedine Zidane will also have several key players available including star striker Karim Benzema, who is coming off a brace in a 2-1 league win over Elche on Saturday.

Atalanta will need to be composed in the second leg after having to play with 10-men for most of the second-half loss in February. The club has won three of its last four matches, including a 3-1 victory over Spezia this past weekend. Mario Palasic and Luis Muriel (four goals between them in last four matches) headlines a deep group of attacking players for Gian Piero Gasperini can choose from.


Chelsea vs. Atletico Madrid

(Wednesday, 4 p.m., Galavision/FuboTV)

Chelsea will also look to advance to the quarterfinals as it prepares to host Atletico Madrid in London on Wednesday night. The Blues come in riding a 12-match unbeaten run in all competitions, which includes wins over Everton, Liverpool, and a draw with Manchester United. A lackluster draw with Leeds United over the weekend saw Christian Pulisic return to the starting lineup for Thomas Tuchel’s side, another offensive weapon looking to refind his form going forward.

Atletico Madrid comes into Wednesday’s meeting with plenty of confidence, conceding only two goals over its past four matches. Diego Simeone’s men made it tough for Chelsea in the first leg, despite conceding a second-half goal from Olivier Giroud. Luis Suarez and Joao Felix headlines the Atletico Madrid attack, who will need to be chomping at the bit to get after a stubborn Chelsea backline.


Manchester City vs. Borussia Monchengladbach

(Tuesday, 4 p.m., Galavision/FuboTV)

Manchester City’s dream of a quadruple continues to be very much alive with Pep Guardiola’s team set to advance in the Champions League. A convincing 2-0 first leg win over Borussia Monchengladbach has the Citizens in good position to return to the quarterfinals in hopes of lifting a first-ever European title. A 3-0 triumph over Fulham saw Guardiola make seven changes in his lineup, and will now have the services of Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, and others to choose from at the start this week.

Confidence is at a major low for Borussia Monchengladbach coming into this week’s second leg, with Marco Rose’s side losers of six straight. A 3-1 loss to Augsburg on Saturday continued a horrid run of form for the German club, seeing them fall further away from a European spot for next season. With only five goals scored during their losing streak, veteran players like Alassane Plea and Lars Stindl will need to try and create a spark against a dominant City squad.


Bayern Munich vs. Lazio

(Wednesday, 4 p.m., TUDN/Unimas/FuboTV) 

Bayern Munich comes in red hot this week with a 4-1 aggregate lead over Lazio looking pretty safe ahead of Wednesday’s second leg. Hansi Flick’s team have scored three goals or more in their four-match winning run, outscoring their opponents 16-5. Robert Lewandowski has been the forefront of the Germans attack once again, scoring seven goals during this winning streak, including twice in the first leg triumph in Rome.

Lazio may have halted its winless run with a 3-2 victory over Crotone this weekend, but remains major underdogs to turn around a three goal deficit against the defending champions. The Italian side fell behind early in the first leg and will need to come out swinging for any chance of getting Bayern nervous. Ciro Immobile and Luis Alberto remain the go-to attackers for Lazio this week.

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