Champions League Preview: Real Madrid Welcome Roma

Champions League Preview: Real Madrid Welcome Roma

The second leg matches in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 continue this week, with the teams involved aware of what they will need to do in order to secure progression to the quarter-final stage of the competition.

With the first leg matches having been completed, the return fixtures will put the final nail in the coffin for some teams, while other clubs will look forward to cementing their place amongst the final eight teams in the competition.

We take a closer look at the encounters set for Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

Roma with an uphill battle in Madrid

Following a 2-0 victory for Real Madrid in Rome during the UEFA Champions League first leg, the Giallorossi have a mammoth task ahead of them if they are to remain in the competition.

The Italian Serie A side found it difficult to make the most of home advantage in the first fixture, but with nothing to lose in Tuesday’s encounter against the Galacticos, Roma will need to play an open attacking game to stand any chance of scoring the two or three goals they will need, assuming that the home side do not score, which is very unlikely.

This sets up an incredibly tough task for the Italians, as few clubs have managed to overturn a 2-0 aggregate lead in an away match in Spain.

Real Madrid can rely on an almost full strength team, with only Benzema out of the match through a hamstring injury, while Roma will not be able to count on the services of De Rossi and Rudiger due to injury, and will have to make a last minute decision concerning Nainggolan.

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Despite a difficult time in La Liga action, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane will feel confident that his team will be able to progress to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, without many problems.

Germans in control

The second leg match between Wolfsburg and Gent is a fairly open affair, though the Germans will have home advantage, and they managed to score three away goals in their 3-2 win in Belgium during the first leg.

This tie is certainly not over, as the beauty of football is that anything can happen, and if the first encounter is anything to go by, with two goals for the Belgians in the last ten minutes of the match bringing them right back into this last-16 encounter, the tie is still undecided.

Wolfsburg have numerous injury absentees, with Naldo, Jung, Dost, Seguin and Benaglio all unavailable, while Kruse is in doubt along with the two-goal hero from the first leg, Draxler.

For Gent Mitrović and Vandenbussche will not play a part in the match because of injuries, while Wikheim, Van Der Bruggen and Depoitre will require a last minute decision by the coach as they are carrying slight injuries.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic – sickchirpse.com

Chelsea using home advantage to overcome PSG

The first leg of this anticipated encounter went the way of Paris Saint-Germain, as the French club won 2-1 in Paris, but the away goal for Chelsea through Nigerian John Obi Mikel will be an important piece in the puzzle as things get under way in London on Wednesday night.

The 2-1 win will allow PSG a psychological edge in their away match, but Chelsea will be confident that they can get a positive result at home to knock out their French opponents and move on to the quarter-finals, aware of the fact that Mikel’s strike will allow them to progress with a 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.

Zlatan Ibrohimovic is in great form for the Parisians, and will be keen to add to his goal in the first leg in order to secure progression to the next knock-out round.

PSG will go into the match without the services of Ivorian defender Aurier, who is serving a disciplinary suspension imposed from the club, while Verratti and Matuidi may require last minute fitness tests to see if they will feature.

For Chelsea Zouma and Falcao will not be available on Wednesday, while Terry, Pedro, Pato and Costa are carrying injuries and may not be able to participate.

Zenit expecting Benfica in Russia

In the earlier game on Wednesday night, Benfica will travel to Russia for a difficult match against Zenit St Petersburg. Benfica enjoyed a 1-0 victory over Zenit St Petersburg in the first leg, thanks to an injury time winner from Jonas, but the single goal may not be enough to stop the Russians from turning the tie in their favour.

The narrow win gives the Portuguese little advantage ahead of their second leg in Russia, which will be a difficult ask for the club from Lisbon, as the bitter cold in Eastern Europe favours Zenit.

Zenit have no injury worries, but Criscito and Javi García are both suspended for this encounter. Benfica on the other hand, have a number of injured players who will not take part, including Jardel, André Almeida, Lisandro López, Júlio César and Luisão.