The 21-22 February will see the 16 remaining teams in the Champions League battle it out for a place in the coveted final held on 17 May in Paris. The second round fixtures have been decided so here is a run down of who is left in the competition and their chances of progressing to the quarter finals:
Inter Milan vs Ajax
Inter qualified comfortably from Group H as winners and have a favourable match against Ajax. The Dutch side qualified as runners up of Group A without too much trouble. Inter are overwhelming favourites to qualify for the quarter finals and striker Adriano, with four goals so far in this competition, poses the main threat. Manchester City.
Verdict: Inter to qualify at 2/5.
AC Milan vs Bayern Munich
Milan stuttered through the first round, with just three wins in six matches, before eventually topping the group ahead of PSV Eindoven. Andriy Shevchenko is the tournament’s most dangerous striker with six goals. However, Bayern Munich should not be underestimated. They dumped out Arsenal at this stage last season and were only edged out by a single goal against Chelsea in the quarter finals.
Verdict: AC Milan to qualify at 4/6.
Liverpool vs Benfica
The Reds take on the team who dumped Manchester United out of the Cup and are firm favourites to progress to the quarter finals. Liverpool were unbeaten and hadn’t conceded a goal in 11 league and Cup games until Sao Paulo denied them the World Club Championship on 18 December. Benfica’s 2-1 win over Manchester United was a shock result, but one they are unlikely to reproduce. Ronald Koeman’s side are only sixth in their domestic league and are likely to see their interest in the Champions League come to an end at this stage of the competition.
Verdict: Liverpool to qualify at 4/9.
Barcelona vs Chelsea
This was the most «anticipated» draw in terms of a replay of last season’s second phase encounter. Barcelona have won 13 games straight in La Liga, while Chelsea have topped the Premiership since August, losing just one match, against Manchester United, all season. Barcelona have also been unstoppable in Europe, winning five out of the six group. Despite the unquestionable talent at his disposal, Jose Mourinho may find his Chelsea team outgunned this time around.
Verdict: Barcelona to qualify at 5/6.
Lyon vs PSV Eindoven
Lyon are a team not to be underestimated in this season’s Champions League and won their group ahead of the glamorous Real Madrid. John Carew is Lyon’s top goalscorer with four goals while Juninho has laid on three assists. PSV will have their backers but Lyon remained undefeated in the group stage and should edge this encounter.
Verdict: Lyon to qualify at 1/2.
Villarreal vs Rangers
An upset could be on the cards in this encounter with Rangers a large price to qualify ahead of Spaniards Villarreal. Under-fire Rangers boss Alex McLeish may be ridiculously off-the-pace in the Scottish Premier, but he has got it right in Europe and Rangers have become the first side north of the border to venture this far in the competition. Villarreal scored just three times in six group stage matches.
Verdict: Rangers to qualify at 5/2.
Real Madrid vs Arsenal
This is the first time the two have clashed in Champions League and the bookmakers are having difficulty separating them. The Gunners won their five opening matches in the group stage before an experimental line-up drew 0-0 with Ajax in the final round of fixtures. Real Madrid have plenty of attacking power in their line up but are suspect at the back which could be to Arsenal’s advantage.
Verdict: Arsenal to qualify at 10/11.
Juventus vs Werder Bremen
Juventus stormed through the group stage, winning five out of six matches, with David Trezeguet scoring four goals. The «Old Lady» have already beaten and lost to German opposition in the competition this season, with two 2-1 results against giants Bayern Munich in the group stage. Werder Bremen are at their best at home, demonstrated in the 5-1 demolition of Panathinaikos and 4-3 victory over Udinese.
Verdict: Juventus to qualify at 4/11.
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