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UEFA Champions League: Round of 16 First Leg Predictions

The schedule for Round of 16 First Leg games was revealed a while ago and eight mouthwatering clashes for football fans all over the world are waiting to be played. Eight matches will be played across four days. The dates also have been revealed. The matches will be played on 18, 19, 25 and 26 February 2020. The draft that has been picked this time around has been the best since a long time with heavyweight battles expected to take the center stage.  Here is the Round of 16 First Leg Predictions according to our analysis.

UCL Round of 16 Draw

With the fixtures for the Round of 16 announced, we get down to predicting the outcome of all the matches in the first leg.

Match 1: Borussia Dortmund vs Paris Saint-Germain

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The first leg kicks off with two giants from German and French club football, Borussia Dortmund vs PSG. The match will be played at Dortmund’s home ground Westfalenstadion. Dortmund is currently fifth in the Bundesliga points table for the season, while PSG is topping the table. Moreover. PSG is unbeaten in the last five games, while Dortmund has lost one and drew one. While Kylian Mbappe and Neymar Junior will be the key players for PSG, they will have to take on a formidable backline of Dortmund. Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus, and Achraf Hakimi for the yellow army. You also cannot forget the experience of Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva for PSG.  

Also Read: Premier League’s Longest Unbeaten Run of Each Club

Round of 16 First Leg Predictions: Expect goals for both sides and plenty of excitement, with PSG coming out on top, sheerly on the back of their experienced line-up. 

Match 2: Manchester City vs Real Madrid

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Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola, the names of the coaches are enough to understand, the legacy of these clubs. Temperatures will rise as these two clubs meet in the Round of 16 First Leg. A close contest is expected on the cards at the Etihad Stadium with City’s weak defence to be tested by Karim Benzema and co. City is second on the points table at the moment while a rampant Real Madrid is ruling at the top. Both teams have been unbeaten in the last five matches. Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Rahim Sterling will be the key players at the top for City, while Aymeric Laporte, Fernandiniho and Nicolas Otamendi form a key trio in the back. For Madrid, Benzema will be the target man up front alongside new recruit Eden Hazard. Luka Modric in the middle will be the playmaker for Madrid, while Sergio Ramos and Marcelo will make it difficult for the City to deliver the final ball. 

Round of 16 First Leg Predictions: As far as the match is concerned, City might just edge Madrid in a close game.

Match 3: Atlanta vs Valencia

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Atlanta and Valencia, the current clubs among the top 10 names in their league will face off in the third round of 16 fixture at the San Siro stadium. Valencia qualified through an extremely up-and-down group via some extremely up-and-down performances. A squeaky win over Ajax on Matchday 6 not only earned them passage, but a group winner’s path. However, they can be very unpredictable on their form, while Atlanta is completely different to them. They are positive in their approach and they play as a cohesive unit. While Valencia has won just two of their last five, Atlanta have won three. Forwards Rodrigo and Manu Vallejo hold the key for Valencia. For Atlanta, Aimone Cali and Duvan Zapata can be a threat to the opposition.

Round of 16 First Leg Predictions: Atlanta looks favorites to win this battle in what is expected to be a close contest.

Match 4: Athletico Madrid vs Liverpool

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Liverpool is topping the points table at the moment and looks good to win the title at the end of the season. On the other hand, Athletico Madrid are at the fifth position in the La Liga points table. Liverpool have been absolutely dominant throughout the season and no matter how well does Athletico play, they do not have a way out past The Red Devils. They take on each other at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

Keeping Liverpools’s ruthless form in mind, they are the favorites to win the game, by how much, that only time will tell. Mohammad Salah, Sadio Mane, Van Dijk, there are endless names in the Liverpool camp who can shine on their day. Athletico thus have their work cut out in their Round of 16 Fixture. 

Round of 16 First Leg Predictions: Probably a 3-0 hammering by Liverpool against Athletico

Match 5: Chelsea vs Bayern Munich

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Two evenly matched teams, Chelsea are currently fifth in the points table, while Munich are second. The last five matches of both these teams, give a very good reflection of their current form. While Bayern have been unbeaten, Chelsea have won just two. 

However, both teams are suffering from problems at the moment. While injuries are hampering Bayern, the failure of the Chelsea defence in the backline have been making Frank Lampard think hard. The pair of Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller will be the main threat for Chelsea up front. Phillipe Coutinho might pose problems for the Blues from the middle. For Chelsea, young Tammy Abraham will be their main man up front and will look to pair up with Willian. N Golo Kante will aim to make the play move from the middle. Stamford Bridge hosts this exciting game with Chelsea having the back of their fans.

Round of 16 First Leg Predictions: Bayern might win the battle against the Blues.

Also Read: Top 10 PFA Player of the Year Contenders

 Prediction: Munich edging past Chelsea in a close encounter.

Match 6: Lyon vs Juventus

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Stopping Cristiano Ronaldo from making those penetrative runs and in the air will be the main focus as Lyon face-off Juventus in the sixth match of the Round of 16 first leg at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium. Juventus has lost one game out of their last five, while Lyon has lost one as well. However, on paper, Juventus is a much better team than Lyon and the presence of Ronaldo makes a big difference for the Italian champions. Juventus is under big pressure to win the Champions League this season They spent big on Cristiano Ronaldo with one aim in mind, and there’s only a finite amount of time to make that goal a reality. While Ronaldo is the most important hope for his club, the pair of Memphis Depay and Moussa Dembele will look to keep the faith of their fans upheld. 

Round of 16 First Leg Predictions: Juventus to win the match inside 90 minutes.

Match 7: RB Leipzig vs Tottenham Hotspur

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Both teams are on polar opposite positions at the moment in their respective leagues. Leipzig has won four games out of their last five while Spurs have surprisingly won just one. Under Jose Mourinho, the club is looking for a turnaround and this match gives them the perfect opportunity to do so. The biggest asset of Leipzig is that they have found their perfect combination and are likely to keep upto that till February.

With Spurs still having a month to go for the game, Mourinho should prepare his side for the big battle. The pair of Son Heung-min and Harry Kane will be the big guns for Spurs in that game, while, Davinson Sanchez, Danny Rose and Serge Aurier are the three most potential threats for the EPL club. The match will be played at the Red Bull Arena.

Round of 16 First Leg Predictions: The Bundesliga toppers will win the match on the basis of having a much settled that and they are currently on a winning run.

Match 8: Napoli vs Barcelona

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Lionel Messi and Luiz Suarez are names enough to make their opponents put their thinking cap on. Messi with his bagful of tricks is a man for big matches in club football, so is Suarez. Stopping the duo will be a tough ask for the Italian club at their home ground Stadio San Paolo. Barca have won two of their last five and also have lost one. However, Barca is a club that always plays its best football in big matches, therefore the past record matters nothing. 

Gennaro Gattuso is expected to keep a defensive approach to the game and tire down Messi and look to win the match by a goal or two. But knowing Messi, this is impossible. The matchup between Lionel Messi and Dries Mertens will be interesting to watch. 

Round of 16 First Leg Predictions: Barcelona favorites to win the match keeping in mind the quality of players on show.

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