The Champions League is back. The Round of 16 begins tonight and the fixture list promises fireworks. Here are Things to look out for in Champions League: Round of 16 – Week 1. Bet on the Champions League here.
Liverpool return to Wanda Metropolitano
The Champions League is back and reigning champions Liverpool return to Wanda Metropolitano, the same venue they were crowned European champions, to face Atletico Madrid in the Round of 16. The Reds are in ominous form and head to the Spanish capital looking to boost their quest for the treble. Seventeen consecutive wins in the Premier League means Jurgen Klopp’s side are the most in-form side in Europe. The hosts aren’t in the best form at the moment but as underdogs, they’re usually a handful for top teams. Their gritty defensive style is difficult to break down. The Rojiblancos’ pedigree in European competitions is solid having reached two Champions League and three Europa League finals in the last ten years. Diego Simeone’s said have lost just two home matches in this competition since returning to the competition in 2013.
Tuchel returns to Signal Iduna
It’s been three years since Thomas Tuchel left Borussia Dortmund for French giants PSG. Tonight, he returns to Signal Iduna only this time he will be in the opposite dugout. Since he left, a lot has changed. Dortmund are yet to win the Bundesliga, while Tuchel’s fortunes have changed dramatically. He’s won the Ligue 1 with PSG and is looking to prevent last season’s collapse at this stage. Both teams are full of attacking talent, so they love to score. The charismatic duo of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for PSG and the exciting pair Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho for Dortmund promise to make this match entertaining. Can Tuchel make a winning return?
Experience meets youth: Mourinho v Nagelsmann
Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho has won this competition twice and knows what it takes to win a two-legged tie. The Portuguese remains one of the most experienced managers in the competition. At 32, RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann is a bonafide wunderkid. The young German and his team are in unchartered territory. This is their first-ever appearance in the last 16 but his team is one of the most exciting in Europe. Leipzig are second in the Bundesliga just a point behind leaders Bayern and Nagelsmann is hoping to end their hegemony this season. Both sides possess exciting attacking talent but Mourinho’s experience will also play a huge part. Can Nagelsmann stun Spurs in London?
Atalanta’s Round of 16 debut
Atalanta’s debut campaign in the Champions League continues in midweek as the Italian club host to Valencia in the last-16 first leg. Despite not winning any of their opening four Group C matches, Atalanta sealed progression to the knockout phases in dramatic fashion on the final match week against Shakhtar Donetsk. Gian Piero Gasperini’s side are having another magical season in Serie A. They are 4th in the table, 12 points behind leaders Juve. The Bergamo club have one of the best attacks in Europe and will definitely trouble the Spaniards. Valencia have played at this stage before and won’t be an easy opponent for the Italians. Los Che have beaten the likes of Chelsea, Barcelona and last season’s semi-finalists Ajax. Therefore, a compelling encounter is on the cards. Can Atalanta make history, again?