Champions League

Champions League Round of 16 First Leg Preview: Barcelona and PSG Clash at Camp Nou, Porto host Juventus and More

Shubham Dupare
Barcelona knocked PSG out of the Champions League in the Round of 16 fixture in 2016-17 campaign.
Barcelona knocked PSG out of the Champions League in the Round of 16 fixture in 2016-17 campaign. / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
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After a wait of over two months, the UEFA Champions League is set to return this week. 16 of the very best teams across Europe will play out a two-legged fixture to secure their places in the quarter-finals over the next 30 days.

The high-profile clash at the Nou Camp between Neymar's Paris Saint-Germain and his former employer's Barcelona will be the highlight of the Matchday, while the encounter between RB Leipzig and Liverpool also promises to be an engaging contest.

Here is our preview of the Round of 16 action in the Champions League for the week.

1. RB Leipzig vs Liverpool

Liverpool have lost three Premier League games in a row.
Liverpool have lost three Premier League games in a row. / Visionhaus/Getty Images

RB Leipzig host Liverpool at the Puskas Arena, Budapest on Tuesday night after German officials denied Liverpool players entry into the country on account of COVID-19 related protocols.
If a neutral venue hadn't been found the hosts would have to concede a 3-0 loss in the fixture, hence this first-leg tie is scheduled to take place in Hungary now. This will be the first competitive meeting between the two sides.

The Reds were the Group D winners but having lost just once in the group stage but might not be the favourites against the Bundesliga side on account of a lengthy injury list. Versatile midfielder James Milner became the latest player on the casualty list after he limped off the field with a pulled hamstring in their 3-1 loss to Leicester City in their Premier League fixture.

RB Leipzig have lost just once in their last seven fixtures across all competitions and would be looking to make the most of Liverpool's injury crisis and poor form.

RB Leipzig's probable lineup (3-1-4-2): Peter Gulacsi (GK); Willi Orban, Dayot Upamecano, Ibrahima Konate; Kevin Kampl; Amadou Haidara, Marcel Sabitzer, Angelino; Dani Olmo; Christopher Nkunku, Yussuf Poulsen.

Liverpool's Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson (GK); Neco Williams, Ozan Kabak, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson; Thiago Alcântara, Georginio Wijnaldum, Curtis Jones; Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane.

Prediction: 2-1 win to RB Leipzig.


2. Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain

Barcelona staged the biggest comeback in the Champions League history against PSG in 2017
Barcelona staged the biggest comeback in the Champions League history against PSG in 2017 / VI-Images/Getty Images

Barcelona host Paris Saint-Germain in what will be the biggest game of the last 16 phase. The two sides will be meeting for the first time since Barca's miraculous comeback in 2016-17 campaign. Current PSG talisman, Neymar was the architect of Blaugrana's massive 6-1 win at Camp Nou that saw them through to the next round that season. The Brazilian superstar is injured and will miss at least the first-leg fixture.

The hosts are on an eight-game winning streak across all competitions and have scored at least two goals in each of these fixtures. PSG have won four of their last five fixtures and are just one point behind leaders Lille in the Ligue 1 standings.

The Catalans have only failed to eliminate PSG from the knockout stage once in their four meetings and would be looking to build upon their superior record. Across all competitions, these two sides have clashed 11 times with 5 wins for Barcelona, 3 for PSG and the remaining three games have ended in a draw.

FC Barcelona's probable lineup (4-3-3): Ter Stegen (GK); Sergino Dest, Oscar Mingueza, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Frenkie De Jong, Miralem Pjanic, Pedri; Francisco Trincão, Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann.

PSG's probable lineup (4-2-3-1): Keylor Navas (GK); Alessandro Florenzi, Marquinhos, Abdou Diallo, Layvin Kurzawa; Danilo Pereira, Idrissa Gueye; Julian Draxler, Kylian Mbappe, MMoise Kean; Mauro Icardi

Prediction: 2-2 draw


3. Sevilla vs Borussia Dortmund

Europa League winners Sevilla play Borussua Dortmund in their Round of 16 first-leg fixture at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium on Wednesday night. Both clubs earned 13 points in the group stage but the hosts ended second in Group E behind Chelsea while Dortmund topped Group F.

This will just be the third competitive meeting between the two clubs with the previous two meetings coming in the Europa League group stage in the 2011-12 campaign. The game at Wednesday's venue ended 2-2, while Los Palanganas recorded a 1-0 win in Dortmund.

The Andalusians are on a nine-game winning streak across all competitions and have kept a clean sheet in eight of these fixtures. They have hit form at the right time and can make quick work of the visitors here. Die Schwarzgelben have just one win in their last six Bundesliga games and find themselves sixth in the league standings.

Sevilla's probable lineup (4-3-3): Yassine Bounou (GK); Karim Rekik, Jules Kounde, Diego Carlos, Aleix Vidal; Ivan Rakitic, Nemanja Gudelj, Oliver Torres; Alejandro Gomez, Luuk de Jong, Munir El Haddadi

Borussia Dortmund's probable lineup (4-2-3-1): Marvin Hitz (GK); Emre Can, Manuel Akanji, Mats Hummels, Raphael Guerreiro; Thomas Delaney, Jude Bellingham; Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus, Julian Brandt; Erling Haaland

Prediction: 2-1 win to Sevilla.


4. Porto vs Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo is the all-time topscorer in the knockout stage of the Champions League.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the all-time topscorer in the knockout stage of the Champions League. / David Ramos/Getty Images

This week's last encounter in the Champions League takes place at the Estádio do Dragão in Porto. The reigning Liga Nos champions welcome reigning Serie A champions Juventus in what will be their sixth meeting across all competitions.

Porto have never defeated Juventus, with four games going the Old Lady's way and one game ending in a goalless draw. They last met in the Round of 16 in the 2016-17 campaign, where Juve recorded a 3-0 win on aggregate as they went all the way to the final, only to be defeated by Real Madrid, where Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace.

Dragões have played three consecutive draws heading into the fixture while Juventus' winning streak game to an end with a 1-0 loss away to Napoli in their latest outing.

Porto's probable lineup (4-4-2): Augustin Marchesin (GK); Zaidu Sanusi, Chancel Mbemba, Pepe, Wilson Manafá; Sergio Oliveira, Mateus Uribe, Marko Grujić, Luis Díaz; Moussa Marega, Mehdi Taremi

Juventus' probable lineup (4-4-2): Wojciech Szczesny (GK); Gianluca Frabotta, Matthijs de Ligt, Danilo, Alex Sandro; Weston McKennie, Rodrigo Bentancur, Adrien Rabiot,Federico Chiesa; Cristiano Ronaldo, Alvaro Morata.

Prediction: 0-1 win to Juventus.

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