Certain ideals just seem to have the same stigma every year, and crazy results in the Champions League round of 16 is most certainly one of those. The first few games did not disappoint. Lets take a look at what happened.
Porto 2 – Juventus 1
Why not start off with the biggest shock of the day. Portuguese juggernaut FC Porto took down Italian giants Juventus in one of the more confusing games of the night. If you take out the first two minutes of the first and second half, Juve wins this game no problem. They had 70% possession and had plenty more shots and more shots on target than Porto. But a second minute goal by Mehdi Taremi and a 46th minute goal by Moussa Marega gave the Portuguese side cushion they needed to see out the game eith a victory. Federico Chiesa’s 82nd minute goal gives Juve an out for the home leg by having an away goal, but they still have an uphill battle against a team that should not be this competitive with the Old Lady. Juventus do have the home leg to make up for this minor disaster. Pirlo, manager for Juventus, might have a long leash due to being a club legend, but losing in the round of 16 to a team like Porto could shorten that leash quite a bit.
Sevilla 2 – Dortmund 3
The Erling Braut Haaland continues to shine for a Dortmund team that is growing from a team of youngsters to a team of men. Sevilla started off hot scoring a goal in the 7th minute through Suso, but after that moment it went all Dortmunds and Haalands way. Two goals and an assist from the Norwegian prodigy put the game away before halftime. Sevilla managed to get another consolation goal in the 84th minute via Luuk De Jong, but it was too little too late at that point. Sevilla did manage to hold 66% of the possession and managed two more shots with one less on target. Sevilla really could have used a result at home to give them a better path to the quarterfinal, but it was not meant to be. I am not sure if Germany will open the borders for Dortmund to play their second leg at home, but I don’t see anyone slowing down the combination up from from the German side.
PSG 4 – Barcelona 1
Death, taxes, and Barcelona getting blown out in the Champions League group of 16. No Neymar, the inclusion of Pique, PSG sitting second in Ligue 1, a bunch of circumstances going against the French giants only to have their talesman come in clutch when it mattered most. Kylian Mbappe had himself an evening scoring three times against one of the most dominant teams in Europe without his running mate. Everton loanee Moise Kean added the fourth to put an exclamation point on the night. The only silver lining for Barcelona in this fixture was the penalty make by Messi, but overall an awful night for the Balguarna. We have seen this happen to Barca before and Messi and company seem to know how to turn lemons into lemon vodka, but this team has seems to be trending in the wrong direction.
RB Leipzig 0 – Liverpool 2
The first teams truly affected by the German ban on travel, Leipzig and Liverpool were forced to move their game to Budapest. It seems like the only side it affected was the “home side” It took this game a little time to really get going, but at the start of the second half, Liverpool found their stride. Mohammed Salah opened the scoring in the 53rd minute followed by Sadio Mane getting on the score sheet five minutes after. A very even game on everything but the score sheet, Leipzig finally looked to be feeling the effects of not having a world class striker in Champions League play. These two teams are going to have to find a location for the second leg, similar to Dortmund, but Leipzig seem to have gone as far as they can this year.
Quick Predictions for Next Weeks Games
We are going to have another great slate of games coming up this week. Here are my quick predictions for these fixtures.
Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea
Atletico have been on fire both domestically and on the continent. Luis Suarez has seemed to find the fountain of youth and Jao Felix may live up to his outrageous price tag. Chelsea have gone to Thomas Tuchel in order to help steady a rocking ship in London. Tuchel has not lost a game since taking the reigns, but I think this will be his first. Final score: Atletico 2 Chelsea 0
Lazio vs Bayern Munich
The defending Champions League winners look and feel like a well-oiled machine. Lazio have done extremely well to make it out the group stage, but I am sure there was a small loss of hope after the draw came out. If Bayern play up to their normal standards, this game and round should be a walk in the park. Lazio’s focus has to be more on getting back in the Champions League in Serie A then hoping to beat the current best team in the world. Final score: Bayern 3 Lazio 1
Atalanta vs Real Madrid
I honestly never thought I would see the day where I would have a real dilemma on who is going to win this matchup. I mean its Madrid right? Right? This Atalanta team has been sneaky for the past two seasons though. They play an exciting style of futbol, and score goals at will. That being said, the Italian side will be coming off playing team sitting one spot ahead of them in the standings and need to put a string of wins together domestically to have a prayer of getting back into the Champions League next year. At home, I think Atalanta holds this one to a draw. Final Score: Atalanta 1 Real Madrid 1
Borussia Monchengladbach vs Manchester City
The German side with the longest name in human history sees itself in the round of 16 again. Who is their opponent this time? Manchester City. Again. Is this going to go any different than last time? Probably not. Manchester city have not lost a game in any competition since September 27th. This team looks the most ready to take down the giants in Munich, but they are going to have to take down this German side first. City should have no issues especially if they get Kun Aguero back. Final score: Man City 4 Gladbach 0
Thank you so much for the read. Feel free to comment down below and I will respond to all comments good or bad.