The first round of the UEFA Champions League Last 16 is almost here, with the first matches between Barcelona and PSG, as well as RB Leipzig vs. Liverpool, taking place on Tuesday, February 16. There’s a whole heap of hard-hitting soccer action to look forward to as Europe’s best teams battle it out for the prestigious Champions League trophy.
Let’s take a look at all upcoming first-leg games, the UCL betting odds and which teams are the most likely to go through into this year’s quarter-finals.
Barcelona vs Paris Saint Germain
Date: Tuesday, February 16
Location: Camp Nou, Barcelona
Betting odds: Barcelona: +140 Tie: +260 PSG: +265
- Barcelona: 2
- PSG: 7
Our first game preview is a battle between the two of the biggest teams globally: Barcelona is one of the most decorated teams in European history, and PSG – while relatively trophyless on the European big stage – is one of the most deadly attacking forces on the continent.
Barcelona has not had the seasonthey would’ve hoped for and currently sit third in the La Liga standings. New coach Ronald Koeman let many veteran players go and has been unable to get his team to gel as he’d would’ve liked them to. All the same, he has stopped the free-fall that the Catalans were in before his appointment.
PSG are tied at the top of Ligue 1 and have been without talismanic Neymar Jr. for some time, but he’ll be in contention for this match. Mauricio Pochettino has just been appointed as the man to help the French champions finally find glory in Europe. Of course, PSG were runners-up in the UEFA Champions League last season, losing out on the honors to Bayern Munich.
Two new coaches at the helm of these top two clubs should make this an entertaining clash. The likes of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann up against Neymar, Di Maria and Kylian Mbappé is a mouthwatering prospect for fans and neutrals alike. Our online sports betting odds are incredibly tight, but ultimately they’re on Barcelona coming out on top at Camp Nou.
RB Leipzig vs Liverpool
Date: Tuesday, February 16
Location: RB Arena, Leipzig
Betting odds: Leipzig: +200 Tie: +250 Liverpool: +120
- Leipzig: 21
- Liverpool: 10
RB Leipzig has had a swift and unbelievable rise up the ranks in just the last couple of years and is certainly now a force to be reckoned with. It wasn’t the easiest qualification group, and they were beaten substantially by both PSG and United but were able to win their home games to qualify. Julian Nagelsmann is known for his all-or-nothing attitude, and his team plays with a courageous style that can be brash at some points.
Jürgen Klopp’s’ Liverpool team are not having the best time in the English Premier League at the moment, but it’s expected that their form should turn around in good time. With players such as Mo Salah, Firmino and Mané, the Reds are always going to be a massive team to try and nullify.
Although they’re playing at home, Leipzig seems unlikely to win against an experienced Liverpool team. However, given how they play, expect to see Leipzig scoring plenty of goals; they just have to try to avoid getting caught on the counter-attack.
Porto vs Juventus
Date: Wednesday, February 17
Location: Estádio do Dragão, Porto
Betting odds: Porto: +310 Tie: +230 Juventus: -110
- Porto: 15
- Juventus: 3
Former Portugal-winner Sérgio Conceição has certainly helped Porto regain some of the form they seemed to have lost. Since his appointment in 2017, the Dragões have won two Primeira Liga championships, and he’ll be hoping they can pull something special out of the hat to advance in the Champions League this season. Midfielders Sérgio Oliveira and Mateus Uribe are in excellent form, and the team is helped by experienced veterans Jesús Corona and Otávio, but they’re hosting a lethal Juventus team at Estádio do Dragão.
Of course, Juventus are in unbelievable form, with Cristiano Ronaldo playing at the same levels he has throughout his career. Álvaro Morata has certainly rediscovered the form that made him one of the most in-demand strikers of his generation before his disastrous spell in the Premier League. Andrea Pirlo is right to expect that his Bianconeri have the potential to go all the way in this competition.
Porto might be having a strong spell at the moment, but it’s unlikely they’ll be able to overcome this Juventus side, which is surely the favorite to fight for the ultimate prize.
Sevilla vs Borussia Dortmund
Date: Wednesday, February 17
Location: Estádio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Seville
Betting odds: Sevilla: +150 Tie: +230 Dortmund: +170
- Sevilla: 9
- Dortmund: 13
Julen Lopetegui’s team had a bit of a sluggish start in the La Liga this season, but the manager must be hopeful that the experience of winning last season’s Europa League stands his Sevilla side in good stead in this cup run. This is a resilient and fiercely competitive team, with players including Ivan Rakitić and Luuk de Jong who can rise to the occasion of these big games.
Sevilla’s defense will have to be at their very best if they want to keep a clean sheet against the goal-scoring exploits of Erling Braut Haaland. The young player has broken record after record since arriving at Signal Iduna Park, and manager Edin Terzić will be looking forward to watching his dynamic team in action again.
This is likely to be a very close game, with both teams in good form; however, if Sevilla is going to win at home, they’re going to have to work out how to keep Haaland and Sancho quiet for the evening, which’ll be no easy feat.
Atlético Madrid vs Chelsea
Date: Tuesday, February 23
Location: Estádio Metropolitano, Madrid
Betting odds: Atlético: +130 Tie: +210 Chelsea: +220
- Atlético: 5
- Chelsea: 14
If two words could be used to describe an ideal Diego Simeone team, they would be “resolute” and “determined” – and that’s exactly what this Atlético side is. The capture of Luis Suárez from Barcelona has been lauded as a genius move, as his goal-scoring form since arriving has been astounding: 12 in 15 games. Of course, young forward João Félix is also in great form, and the combination of the two strikers is enough to strike fear into the hearts of even the strongest defensive line.
They are hosting the Blues, who, of course, became newly managerless after Frank Lampard was sacked on January 25. However, he was replaced with the recently sacked, former PSG manager, Thomas Tuchel. Chelsea’s most famous European exploits have always been won with a solid backline, and this young, dynamic squad looks a little more balanced with the addition of players like Kai Havertz and Timo Werner. That said, the new acquisitions are yet to find their groove, and Chelsea’s fresh-out-of-the-blocks manager will need to get his team to gel if they want to win a game against a competitive Los Rojiblancos side playing on their turf.
Lazio vs Bayern Munich
Date: Tuesday, February 23
Location: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Betting odds: Lazio: +400 Tie: +325 Bayern: -175
- Lazio: 36
- Bayern: 1
Simone Inzaghi has helped his team to three domestic trophies since he was appointed in 2016, and this is the first time Lazio has reached this stage of the competition since the 1999-2000 season. On the way, they beat Dortmund and managed two wins out of three at home. The team is absolutely reliant on the form of striker Ciro Immobile, who scored five goals in four matches on the way to the knockout stage. Although this team is looking stronger than they have been in decades, they’re coming up against last season’s champions.
Hans-Dieter Flick has created a Bayern juggernaut under his charge, and there simply doesn’t seem to be any slowing down for this team. Lazio and Bayern have never met before, but Inzaghi certainly won’t be thrilled with this being their first encounter, given the defending champion’s form. Although Bayern is yet to hit the same intensity as we saw last season, no team’s been able to stop them in their tracks so far in the Champions League.
Lazio will have to produce something magical if they’re going to beat a team filled to the brim with players that include Lewandowski, Davies, Sané, and Müller.
Atalanta vs Real Madrid
Date: Wednesday, February 24
Location: Stadio di Bergamo, Bergamo
Betting odds: Atalanta: +210 Tie: +280 Real Madrid: +105
- Atalanta: 29
- Real Madrid: 4
Atalanta only had their first UEFA Champions League experience last season, and manager Gian Piero Gasperini helped his side get to the quarter-finals. They won all three of their away games on the way to qualification and became just the second Italian club to win at Anfield. Duván Zapata and Alejandro Gómez are undoubtedly the stars of this young, swashbuckling side, who are relatively new to the big stage but completely capable of creating an upset here.
Of course, Real Madrid manager Zinédine Zidane is no stranger to the Champions League, but some fear that his second reign in charge of Los Blancos is not going to go as well as he’d hoped. They were just knocked out of the Copa del Rey by third-tier Alcoyano, and the team seems to be struggling. They are currently second in the La Liga, and Zidane really needs his big-game players – not least Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos – to produce the goods if they want to get any further in this tournament.
It’s going to be an exciting match between relative newcomers to the competition and a team that has lifted the UEFA Champions League trophy more than any other. Let’s wait and see whether experience will be the deciding factor at Bergamo’s Stadium.
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Manchester City
Date: Wednesday, February 24
Location: Borussia-Park, Mönchengladbach
Betting odds: Mönchengladbach: +450 Tie: +300 Man City: -175
- Mönchengladbach: 53
- Man City: 6
Mönchengladbach is certainly not a team that many would have put money on progressing into the Last 16. The fact they got out of a tricky group to qualify is a testament to the hard work Marco Rose has put into the team. He’s only been at the helm for a season and a half, but it’s clear he’s had a massive impact on the Foals’ playing style. His team plays captivating soccer, and their courage usually produces plenty of goals. This team plays without fear, and they’re most likely relishing the match-up with Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s team has had an inconsistent start in the EPL, but their Champions League form has been formidable. They won their group with two games in hand and had a lovely run of clean sheets, which’ll be important for their tie against the Foals. The injury to talismanic Kevin De Bruyne will be of major concern for the Citizens, but a team laden with this much depth and talent should be able to overcome even the most spirited display from Mönchengladbach.
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