UCL Preview: Zidane’s Madrid take on Pep’s Man City; Ronaldo-led Juve visit Lyon


Champions League is back! Welcome to our All Football Champions League Preview for the opening day of the round of 16!

Real Madrid vs Manchester City

Kick-off time (Your time)

Today 20:00 GMT

Probable Lineups

Real Madrid News

Having only just returned from a three-month injury lay-off, Eden Hazard could now miss the remainder of the season after sustaining a hairline fracture in his ankle at the weekend.

Federico Valverde is expected back in midfield and could take Luka Modric‘s place in midfield. Ferland Mendy could take Marcelo‘s place at left-back.

Gareth Bale is expected in Real Madrid’s front three, while Vinicius JuniorIsco and Rodrygo compete to take Hazard’s place on the left wing.

Man City News

Leroy Sane is close to returning to first-team action since August but won’t start here.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed Raheem Sterling is available despite a recent hamstring injury.

David Silva wasn’t risked from the start against Leicester but should come back into the side here.

Bernardo Silva may be pushed up into City’s front three in place of Riyad Mahrez.

Fernandinho is available again after serving a one-match ban in City’s final Champions League group game.

Match facts

0 – Manchester City have never won against Real Madrid – they have faced each other four times, each occasion in the Champions League, with City losing their two away games at Santiago Bernabeu and drawing the other two at the Etihad.

22 – Real Madrid have scored in each of their last 22 home games in the knockout stages of the Champions League; the last team to stop them from scoring were Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona in the 2010/11 semi-finals (0-2).

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– Manchester City are in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the seventh straight season, reaching at least the quarter-finals in three of the last four campaigns.

10 – Sterling has scored 10 goals in his last 13 Champions League appearances, that’s one more goal than in his previous 34 matches in the competition (9). Only Lionel Messi (6) and Cristiano Ronaldo (5) scored more times than Sterling in last season’s knockout stages (4).

12 – Zidane has won all 12 Champions League ties he’s been involved in as Real Madrid manager (9 two-legged ties and 3 finals). He currently holds three Champions League trophies as manager, a joint-record alongside Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti.

3 – Guardiola is facing Real Madrid in a Champions League knockout tie for the third time, with a third different club – he won 3-1 on aggregate with Barcelona in the 2010/11 semi-finals and he lost 5-0 on aggregate with Bayern Munich in the 2013/14 semi-finals.

Focus

Real Madrid are not in great shape heading into Wednesday’s last-16 first leg against Manchester City. Zinedine Zidane’s side have only won one of their last four matches and have now lost Eden Hazard to another injury. They also face Barcelona in the league this weekend.

Manchester City have won two in a row without conceding since their two-match losing streak. This is Pep Guardiola’s first competitive encounter with old rivals Real Madrid as City head coach. Pressure will be on the Spaniard to deliver this season, particularly with the threat of a Champions League ban next season.

Despite Madrid’s poor recent form, do not write them off. They are big game performers in this competition as the last decade has shown. City, meanwhile, have underperformed in Europe. Guardiola will certainly take a score draw back to the Etihad.

Prediction: Real Madrid 1-1 Man City

Lyon vs Juventus

Kick-off time (Your time)

Today 20:00

Probable Lineups

Lyon News

Lyon played a back three at the weekend, which may be an indication of their intentions against Juventus. In that case, MarceloJoachim Andersen and Jason Denayer will start.

Martin TerrierMaxwel Cornet and Bertrand Traore are in competition for two places in attack.

Juventus News

Maurizio Sarri‘s front three of choice at the moment appears to be Juan CuadradoPaulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo from right to left.

Aaron Ramsey has finally got a run of games under his belt for Juventus and will hope to keep his place in the starting XI on Wednesday.

Rodrigo Bentancur will sit at the base of Juventus’ midfield if Miralem Pjanic is ruled out for the Serie A leaders. Blaise Matuidi and Adrien Rabiot will compete for the other spot in midfield.

Leonardo Bonucci missed Juventus’ 2-1 win at SPAL at the weekend and will be fresh to return here. He could even be partnered by Giorgio Chiellini, who is back from a long injury lay-off. Matthijs de Ligt will start if Chiellini is not ready.

Match facts

11 – Lyon have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League more times than any other French club (11). However, it’s been 10 years since they progressed past the round of 16 (2009/10). Indeed, they have scored only three goals in their last nine knockout games in the competition (W1 D2 L6).

– Juventus are in the Champions League knockout stages for the sixth straight season, their longest ever run. In the last five campaigns, they’ve made it past the round of 16 on four occasions, only failing to do so in 2015/16 when they were eliminated by Bayern Munich (4-6 agg.).

1 – Juventus have lost only one of their last seven Champions League away games in the knockout phase (W4 D2), a 2-0 defeat against Atletico Madrid last season in the last 16.

10 – Memphis Depay (six goals, four assists) has been directly involved in 45 per cent of Lyon’s Champions League goals since the start of last season (10/22) – however the French side will be without the Dutch forward for this match due to injury.

65 – Among the seven players with 50+ goals in the Champions League, Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo is also the only one to have scored more goals in the knockout stages (65) than in the group phase (63). Indeed, he has also registered more assists in the competition versus Lyon (4) than any other side.

Focus

Lyon are the firm underdogs in this match. They are unbeaten in three but have only won two of their last six matches in all competitions. However, they haven’t lost at home since before Christmas, unbeaten in seven on home soil.

Juventus have only won one of their last four on the road but anything other than a win in France would not be deemed acceptable by the Old Lady’s high standards. Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in nine straight games in all competitions and in 16 of his last 18 outings for club and country. He has a sensational record in Champions League knockout football and should inspire a Juventus away win on Wednesday.

Prediction: Lyon 0-2 Juventus

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