Ronaldo's time to shine again in the Champions League knockout stages
Juventus need to overturn a 1-0 deficit against Lyon if they are to reach the Champions League quarter-finals. If that is to happen, one suspects that Cristiano Ronaldo will be at the heart of the comeback. On the last two occasions in which the Portuguese has lost the first leg of a Champions League tie, he has responded in the second game with a hat trick. He is also the top scorer in Champions League knockout stages with 65 goals in 80 games. Lyon have got to be careful.
Barcelona rely on home record
Having missed out on a league title this season, Barcelona are looking for their first Champions League trophy since 2015. This is their longest spell without having won the tournament since Lionel Messi’s debut for the club.
They are currently tied at 1-1 with Napoli after a draw in Italy in February. Their home record suggests a win this time. The Catalan side have only lost one of their last 57 Champions League matches at the Camp Nou, winning 47. Furthermore, the visitors have only won one of their last five away games in all competitions, and just one out of ten on the road in Europe’s premier competition. Some good news for Barcelona, then.
Lewandowski looks to extend lead at top of scoring charts
Following a 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge in February, Bayern Munich are all but certain to eliminate Chelsea. However, while the German champions can afford to take the game lightly, Robert Lewandowski is unlikely to be in any such mood.
The Polish striker currently leads the scoring charts with 11 goals – five clear of teammate Serge Gnabry and Napoli’s Dries Mertens. He has netted in all six of his appearances in the tournament this season and has scored in each of his last seven games in all competitions. Our site offers odds of 1.45 for him to score this time.
Neither side at full strength at the Etihad
Manchester City’s 2-1 win over Real Madrid in February sets up an exciting match at the Etihad on Friday night. Unfortunately, despite the brilliance of both managers and players, there remains a sense that something will be missing. Viewers have been robbed of the opportunity to see the two Sergios do battle, as City’s Aguero misses out through injury while Real’s Ramos is suspended.
Neither side is likely to be able to call upon their first choice left back, either. Both Benjamin Mendy and Marcelo are set to miss out, meaning a reduced attacking threat for their respective teams. Meanwhile, Eden Hazard is not at full fitness but could still start for the Spanish champions. It could mean this is the moment that Manchester City finally make a mark in the Champions League knockout stages.
Established elite falling away
If Real Madrid are unable to fight back against Man City, then only a maximum of two former champions from the last 20 years will remain in the quarter-final stages. That number will be reduced to just one should Barcelona go out to Napoli.
Previous European giants such as AC Milan and Manchester United are no longer regulars in the competition, as well-funded sides including PSG, Manchester City and RB Leipzig have risen. Credit must also go to Atalanta, who have proven to be one of Europe's top attacking teams in the last two seasons.
For more tips on the Champions League knockout stages, read Mr. Predictor’s blog here.
*Odds subject to change.