Our football expert looks at the second leg of this week’s round of 16 fixtures. Some giants of football in action with all matches separated by slender 1-0 leads.
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Chelsea v Borussia Dortmund
First match, on Tuesday 7th March is Premier League’s big spenders Chelsea, up against German side Borussia Dortmund. Dortmund edged past Chelsea in the first leg, taking a closely contested 1-0 victory into the second leg. Dortmund’s young stars led the way in the first leg, with Jude Bellingham captaining the side at just 19 years old and 21 year old Karim Adeyemi scoring the crucial winner in the 63rd minute. Adeymi’s goal was electric, starting from his own half, breezing past Enzo Fernandez before rounding the Chelsea keeper and slotting it into the back of the net.
Since Chelsea’s defeat, they haven’t shown signs of turning their season around in the Premier League. In their 3 games since, they’ve lost 2 and only managed to get on the scoresheet once. Which was scored by Chelsea’s centre back, Wesley Fofana. As a slight positive, Chelsea’s last result was a 1-0 victory against Leeds at home, and they definitely could’ve, and should have scored about three goals in the first 30 minutes. But, they need to be converting these chances. Especially against top European opposition such as Borussia Dortmund, where chances won’t be easily created.
On the other hand, Dortmund are flying. They’ve won all of their last 5 games, scoring 8 in the process and joint top with Bayern at the top of the Bundesliga table.
A big result here could be the type of win that could kick start a Chelsea team in major transition, and give manager Potter a much needed confidence boost. Although Chelsea and manager Potter will be desperate for a result here, I couldn’t be confident backing this current side. Given Dortmund’s form, and their talent at disposal, I would side with the German side to qualify for the quarter finals. They are available to win the tie at 4.01. The smarter bet may be to wager them at double chance, as all they need is a draw. Available at odds of 1.95.
PSG v Bayern Munich
PSG welcome Bayern Munich this Wednesday, hoping to maintain or increase their 1-0 advantage. The first leg was a seriously close encounter that could’ve gone either way. PSG finished the game very strongly, with a barrage of late attacks and even having a goal disallowed by VAR for a close offside.
Kingsley Coman was the difference in the first leg, coming back to haunt old club PSG to take a decisive lead into the second leg. PSG lined up without Mbappe, who was returning from a hamstring injury and later claimed he ‘rushed’ back to come off the bench and probably shouldn’t have taken part. Although, it doesn’t look to have impacted the Frenchman, since their first leg defeat to Bayern Mbappe has played a full part in their last 3 games. Winning all 3 and scoring 5 goals, Mbappe looks to have fully recovered and will play a key role in their quarter final bid.
It’s not all good news for PSG fans though, with Neymar remaining a doubt for the second leg after suffering an ankle injury against Lille last month. He hasn’t featured since, but could be precautionary ahead of a huge second leg. Bayern have been in solid form themselves, joint topping the Bundesliga table with Dortmund winning two out of the last 3 games. Bayern hold the aces here, and only need a draw to advance into the quarters. Bayern to win the second leg is available at odds of 1.82, with PSG available at 3.76.
Judging by PSG’s strong finish to the first leg and Mbappe’s return, I would side with the value choice here in PSG. Bayern were hanging on in the final 15 in the home leg and if PSG turn up with the same desire and tenacity here, I feel they could turn this tie round.
AC Milan v Tottenham
AC Milan v Tottenham is another contest far from over ahead of the second leg. Like the previous two games, the first leg between these sides also finished 1-0. Milan edged past a depleted Tottenham side to take a one goal advantage to London.
Spurs won’t be too disappointed with the result, after being forced into playing two inexperienced central midfielders in Oliver Skipp and Pape Sarr. Both players were making their first champions league starts, after Rodrigo Bentancur ruptured his ACL in the defeat to Leicester, joining Bissouma on the sidelines. Hojberg was also unavailable for the first leg due to suspension, but will be welcomed back into the side for the second leg.
Interestingly, this was the first time in AC Milan’s history that they’ve beaten Tottenham in European competition, out of 5 attempts (lost 2, drew 2). It was also Milan’s first victory over English opposition , since defeating Arsenal 4-0 back in 2012, over a decade ago.
Both clubs will be as desperate as each other to advance into the quarters. Both major clubs who’ve underachieved in the past 10 years or so, especially after Milan’s dominance in the early 2000’s. AC were one of the most formidable sides 15-20 years ago, but have endured a decline in success ever since, especially in Europe. Since winning their last Champions League in the 2006/07 season, the Italians have failed to make it past the quarters, only making it to the last 8 once.
It looks like it’s going to be an incredibly tight game and hard to split the sides, which should make for a good contest. Spurs edge favouritism for this one at odds of 1.97, with Milan available at 3.77 and the draw a realistic outcome at 3.57.
**Odds subject to change**
Other UCL fixture:
Tuesday 7th March
Benfica v Club Bruges
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