Sunday 21 April 2019

Champions League last 16 second leg previews: Four quarter-final spots to be decided this week

Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Tottenham have one foot in the quarter-finals, Man United need a minor miracle to join them in the last eight.

TONIGHT

BORUSSIA DORTMUND (0) v TOTTENHAM (3) 8pm - RTE 2, Virgin Media Sport

Dortmund’s season is collapsing in alarming fashion, with Friday night’s 2-1 defeat at Augsburg continuing a run that has seen them win just one of their last seven matches as they have surrendered their advantage in the German title race and seen their Champions League dreams evaporate.

Their hammering against Tottenham at Wembley last month fired a hole in the confidence of Lucien Favre’s side, with a dramatic revival required if they are to get back into their tie against Tottenham.

One to watch: Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)

The Danish midfielder has failed to spark in the last few weeks as speculation over his future at Spurs mounts. He needs to rediscover his spark.

Verdict: Spurs to ease into the quarter-finals.

REAL MADRID (2) v AJAX (1) 8pm - Virgin Media Sport 1

The clouds of uncertainty are gathering over Real Madrid once again, with the future of head coach Santiago Solari unclear as the club prepares for what could be another summer of change following back-to-back defeats against Barcelona in the last week.

They may have won the last three Champions League titles, but the lack of clarity and harmony at the club suggests a quadruple of European titles is improbable this season.

One to watch: Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)

His goals won Real Madrid last season’s Champions League final, but the cracks in his relationship with his team-mates have been exposed in recent weeks. The Welshman’s time at the club will come to an end in 2019.

Verdict: Real Madrid to move into the last eight once more.

WEDNESDAY

FC PORTO (1) v ROMA (2) 8pm - Virgin Media Sport 1

This tie is evenly balanced after a tense battle in Rome, with Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco keen to make progress in the Champions League as question marks over his future continue to linger.

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is believed to have approached about taking over at Roma next season, but a run to the latter stages of Europe’s elite competition would bolster Di Francesco’s position.

One to watch: Adrian (Porto)

This one-time Real Madrid graduate scored the vital away goal in Rome and he will be a key man once again for Porto.

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN (2) v MANCHESTER UNITED (0) 8pm - Virgin Media Sport

A chasm in class was exposed as the French champions stormed to victory at Old Trafford, with the absence of injured duo Neymar and Edinson Cavani from the PSG line-up from the first leg of this tie adding to the concern for United.

“We need to stop with the scare stories. People need to stop being afraid,” declared PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe. “Neymar is super-important and Cavani is fundamental, but football gets played on the pitch. We showed that against United. Don’t be afraid: we’re a good team.”

One to watch: Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

United need to score first in Paris to breath life into their hopes and if they are playing counter-attacking football, Rashford’s pace will be crucial to their ambitions.

Verdict: PSG are a few steps ahead of United right now and will cruise into the quarter-finals.

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