Soccer Betting News - SA's Leading Soccer Betting Newspaper: UEFA Champions League, Round of 16 (First Leg) Preview

UEFA Champions League, Round of 16 (First Leg) Preview

Thomas Tuchel faces a stern test against in-form Atletico Madrid in his first UCL match as Chelsea boss

The second set of the Round of 16 ties serves up some enticing encounters. Defending champions Bayern Munich face a tricky tie against Italian high-flyers Lazio, while 2012's European kings Chelsea take on Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid – quarter-finalists last year and runaway leaders in La Liga.

Elsewhere, Manchester City and Pep Guardiola face a difficult test against Borussia Monchengladbach, while 13-times winners Real Madrid will have to get through last season’s quarter-finalists Atalanta for a place in the last eight.

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Tuesday 23 February

Lazio 38/10
Draw 33/10
Bayern Munich 6/10

Lazio are up against the reigning champions and favourites to claim this season's Champions League title, Bayern Munich. The Italian outfit have little experience of playing at this stage of Europe’s elite club competition and their domestic form this term is far from impressive. Bayern claimed 11 straight wins when lifting the trophy last term, thrashing Chelsea 7-1 on aggregate at this stage before an incredible 8-2 bashing of Barcelona in the quarter-finals. The Bavarians have been ruthless once again this season and look too strong for Simone Inzaghi’s side.

Atletico Madrid 31/20
Draw 2/1
Chelsea 39/20

The Arena Nationala in Bucharest, Romania, will see Chelsea take on Atletico Madrid. The last time these sides met was in the 2017 group stage when the Blues won in Madrid and drew at the Bridge. Thomas Tuchel, who took PSG to the Champions League final last season, will be hoping to repeat the feat but it certainly won't be easy. Under Simeone, the La Liga outfit have earned a reputation for being one of the most dogged and disciplined sides in Europe. They will make life difficult for the Londoners with Luis Suarez looking to continue his excellent goalscoring form. Atletico have been installed as firm favourites, but I don't think it's as clear cut as it's being made out to be. They failed to beat Lokomotiv Moscow home or away in the group stage and had a negative goal difference over their six matches. Chelsea didn't lose any of their group games and I’m tipping them to earn a draw.

Wednesday 24 February

Borussia Monchengladbach 54/10
Draw 38/10
Manchester City 4/10

Manchester City are overwhelming favourites to breeze past knockout stage debutants Borussia Monchengladbach. Marco Rose's side aren't having the best season domestically and only just made it through the group stage, while City look very strong in the Premier League and eased through Group C. Pep Guardiola's men are amongst the favourites to win the Champions League this season, a title that has alluded the club over the years. They’ve suffered a series of surprise exits in past renewals of this competition but will hopefully keep learning from their mistakes. They look unstoppable at the moment and I expect them to win this match comfortably. The 4/10 available seems too short for me, I’d rather back the -1 Handicap at 21/20.

Atalanta 16/10
Draw 11/4
Real Madrid 29/20

Atalanta reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season but will need to get past 13-times winners Real Madrid if they are to match that achievement this year. The La Liga giants will be the favourites to progress but they have looked very dodgy at times this season and dropped points in half of their group games. Zinedine Zidane’s men were sent packing by Manchester City at this stage last season and will be keen to prove a point after surviving a scare to come out on top in their group. Atalanta finished runners-up behind Liverpool in Group D but have shown that on their day they can be a match for anyone. This one has the makings of an entertaining affair, with the scoring draw available at 33/10.

QUAD @ 41/1
Bayern Munich Win 6/10
Atletico vs Chelsea – Draw 2/1
Man City -1 Handicap 21/20
Atalanta v Real Madrid – Draw & BTTS 33/10

Written by Chad N