Champions League Round of 16 Preview: Real Madrid Hoping to Avoid Another Famous Liverpool Comeback

2023 Champions League Preview

The first legs of the Champions League round of 16 ties produced some amazing and equally surprising outcomes. Teams that failed to capitalize on the home advantage or suffered big defeats will need to come up with a better plan for the second legs. Let’s take a look at which teams have a better chance of making it to the 2023 Champions League quarter-finals ahead of the second legs.

Champions League Round of 16 Preview

The outcomes of the remaining eight games of the last 16-team phase will determine which eight teams advance to the 2023 Champions League quarter-finals. The teams that scored three or more goals in the first legs should feel confident about earning a place in the 2023 UEFA UCL quarter-finals. However, the knockout rounds in the Champions League often see big teams make spectacular comebacks. Here are the current scenarios for the teams in the last 16 of the 2022–2023 Champions League season.

Chelsea vs Borussia Dortmund

First Leg: 0-1; Second Leg: 7 March (Stamford Bridge, London)
Borussia Dortmund won the first leg 1-0 at home over Chelsea thanks to a second-half goal by Adeyemi. But this tie is still wide open, as Chelsea are expected to make a strong comeback in the second leg at home on March 7. Chelsea’s recent 1-0 win over Leeds in the Premier League will boost their confidence ahead of the clash. Dortmund, on the other hand, will be hoping to make it difficult for the home side.

Benfica vs Club Brugge

First Leg: 2-0; Second Leg: 7 March (Estadio da Luz, Lisbon)
Benfica will host Club Brugge in the second leg with a two-goal advantage. Beating the Portuguese powerhouse away from home would be a huge ask for the Belgian side. Therefore, Benfica will start the fixture as favourites to book a place in the next round.

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Bayern Munich vs Paris Saint-Germain

First Leg: 1-0; Second Leg: 8 March (Allianz Arena, Munich)
Paris Saint-Germain failed to capitalize on home advantage, losing 1-0 to Bayern Munich at the Parc des Princes. Now, they have to show defensive solidity at the Allianz Arena to overcome Bayern. Both Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe will have to be at their best upfront to pose a real threat to the home team’s defence. Bayern Munich, on the other hand, will be hoping to execute their plan and grind out an important victory.

Tottenham vs AC Milan

First Leg: 0-1; Second Leg: 8 March (Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London)
AC Milan did their job in the first leg, overcoming Tottenham 1-0 at San Siro. The seven-time Champions League winners will expect a solid performance from their defender and will try to hold on to their 1-0 advantage in this fixture. Tottenham Hotspur, however, will make things difficult for the away side and as usual, will hope to catch their opponents off guard on the counter-attack.

Porto vs Inter Milan

First Leg: 0-1; Second Leg: 15 March (Estadio do Dragao, Porto)
The 1-0 victory in the first leg will give Inter Milan confidence going into the away match. They should be well-equipped to deal with a rejuvenated Porto side in this encounter. This tie is wide open, making it a fascinating contest to watch.

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Manchester City vs RB Leipzig

First Leg: 1-1; Second Leg: 15 March (Etihad Stadium, Manchester)
Manchester City was considered the favourite in the first leg, but RB Leipzig did well by managing a 1-1 draw in the match. Leipzig can hope that they have an outside chance to qualify for the quarter-finals, however, Manchester City should have too much for the German outfit, especially at home.

Napoli vs Eintracht Frankfurt

First Leg: 2-0; Second Leg: 16 March (Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Naples)
Napoli have been playing outstanding football this season. They hold a commanding lead at the top of Serie A and continue to dominate in the Champions League. Napoli defeated Frankfurt 2-0 in the first leg, moving one step closer to securing their spot in the next round. The next tie will be played at home, where they are expected to continue their strong showing. Frankfurt will have a mountain to climb if they want to progress to the 2023 Champions League Quarter-finals.

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Real Madrid vs Liverpool

First Leg: 5-2; Second Leg: 16 March (Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid)
The reigning UEFA Champions League winners thrashed Liverpool 5-2 at Anfield to win the first leg. In the Bernabeu, the record-breaking Real Madrid must keep the Liverpool forwards quiet in order to reduce the chance of another infamous comeback from the English side. On the other hand, Liverpool must exert all of their effort to score early in the game in order to put pressure on the home team. Even though Madrid have a significant advantage, this matchup promises to be exciting.

Verdict

Real Madrid, Napoli, and Benfica are in very strong positions at the end of the first legs of the first knockout Round and all have strong goal differentials over their respective opponents. The remaining five fixtures are expected to be open, and all ten teams have solid chances of securing a place in the 2023 Champions League quarter-finals.

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