Tuesday 26 March 2019

What time, what channel and our verdicts on this week's Champions League games

Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

The last 16 action in the Champions League resumes this evening. Here's everything you need to know.



Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac is starting to win over some of his critics after a troubled first season at the helm of Germany’s footballing superpower and their upturn in fortunes will be given the ultimate test when they enter the Anfield cauldron.

Thomas Muller’s suspension from both legs of this tie is a blow for Bayern after his red card in the last round of Champions League group games in December, but Kovac is confident his big name players will relish the challenge of taking on Jurgen Klopp’s Reds.

“This is the toughest draw we could have been given, but we’re Bayern Munich and that reputation counts for a lot, especially when teams come to our home for the second leg,” says Kovac.

One to watch: Joel Matip (Liverpool)

With Virgil van Dijk suspended for Liverpool, Klopp will be relying on his back-up defenders to keep Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski quiet. Matip needs to maintain his concentration levels.

Verdict: A tight win for Liverpool, but Bayern will score an away goal.

LYON v BARCELONA - BT Sport 3/Virgin Media Sport Extra 1

Barcelona chiefs confirmed they are content with the work being put in by their coach Ernesto Valverde by handing him a one-year contract extension on Friday, with their very public vote of confidence designed to inspire a victorious end to this season.

Barca have a comfortable lead at the top of the Spanish league, but the aura of invincibility they had when they last won the Champions League in 2015 has slipped and a Lyon side that troubled Manchester City in the group stages of this competition and beat Paris Saint-Germain will fancy their chances of causing an upset on home soil.

One to watch: Memphis Depay (Lyon)

The Dutch winger who flopped horribly at Manchester United has shown flashes of brilliance for Lyon this season and he will relish the chance to shine on the Champions League stage.

Verdict: Barcelona to take control of this tie.


ATLETICO MADRID v JUVENTUS - BT Sport 3/Virgin Media Sport Extra 1

With the Italian league title all-but wrapped up for Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus, they can focus on winning the club’s first Champions League title since 1996.

European glory is the ultimate dream for Juventus chiefs and that is the primary reason why they sanctioned the lavishly expensive transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo to Turin last summer, with an Atletico side that have been creaking in the Spanish title race this month there for the taking if Juve are at their best.

One to watch: Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)

This French forward has continued to bang in the goals for Atletico despite their recent poor form on home soil and he will need to shine again if Diego Simeone’s side are to trouble Juve.

Verdict: A score draw that will suit Juventus.

SCHALKE v MANCHESTER CITY - BT Sport 2/Virgin Media Sport

City’s sparkling performance against Chelsea last Sunday confirmed that Pep Guardiola’s side are coming to the boil at the crucial phase of their season and they have secured a dream draw for this last-16 tie after being paired with Domenico Tedesco’s struggling side.

After their impressive efforts last season, Schalke are embroiled in a relegation scrap in the German Bundesliga and coach Tedesco was forced into dropping captain and goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann after some indifferent displays.

“We have not had too much time to think about the Man City game as we have had other issues at home, but here is the chance to have a special night against a great team,” says Tedesco.

One to watch: Nabil Bentaleb (Schalke)

Former Tottenham midfielder Bentaleb has kick-started his career at Schalke after he fell out of favour under Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs. He will have a point to prove against English opposition.

Verdict: Man City to blow Schalke away.

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