Here are five matches you cannot miss from this week's UCL and UEL clashes
#5 Arsenal vs Rennes FC( Fri, 15/03/2019, 1:30 am)
Arsenal are set to square off against Rennes FC in the UEFA Europa League on home turf. They will be trying to overcome the 3-1 loss they sustained in the first leg. Ismaila Sarr was terrific in the first game, getting his name on the scoreboard and contributing heavily to the game.
The Gunners cannot be ruled out, however, primarily due to their most recent 2-0 win over Manchester United. They showed some grit on both ends of the field, with Leno’s level-headed goalkeeping and fantastic link-up play from Lacazette and Aubameyang on offence. They sit 4th on the PL table and are eyeing a spot at the UCL next season. With all that contributing to a massive boost in morale, Unai Emery’s squad will look to turn the tide in their favour.
#4 Manchester City vs Schalke 04(Wed, 13/03/2019, 1:30 am)
The first leg was unexpectedly nail-biting, with Man City emerging as winners with late goals from Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling. The scoreline read 3 - 2 adding crucial away goals for Manchester City, aside from the one goal lead. Man City are top of the table in the Premier League while FC Schalke 04 are 14th in their respective leagues. Schalke are coming off of 4 consecutive losses while Manchester City are undefeated in 9 games.
Sergio Aguero is the leading goalscorer in the Premier League. Both Sterling and Sane are among the assist leaders. Manchester City seem to be at the height of their powers and their fans will be eager to see them advance to the next round. FC Schalke ’s silver lining here is that their last game with Manchester City was really close.
The Citizens also have to go through the game without the injured Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Mendy and Claudio Bravo. Schalke will look to bring forth more energy, take advantage of the absent players and perhaps reverse the scoreline of the first game.
#3 Barcelona vs Lyon (Thu, 14/03/2019, 1:30 am)
Both sides were locked at 0-0 till the end of the previous game. Barcelona is currently leading the La Liga table. They are one of the favourites to win this game. Philippe Coutinho and Arturo Vidal are expected to sit on the bench in favour of Ivan Rakitic and Ousmane Dembele. Both players have been in terrific form. More importantly, goalscoring giants, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, are expected to play. Both players are coming off of goals in their previous game against Rayo Vallecano.
Lyon have showcased some potential by beating Man City in the group stage of the competition. They have only lost one of their last last eight away games on European soil. They have yet to beat the Spanish giants . All in all, it’s Barca’s game to lose, especially when it’s on home turf, regardless of the away goals situation.
#2 Bayern Munich vs Liverpool( Thu, 14/03/2019, 1:30 am)
The first leg at Anfield ended in a draw, giving Bayern Munich an away goals disadvantage. Liverpool are duking it out with Manchester City in the Premier League, just recently losing their top spot to City. Most of their players have been in superb form. Both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are on the list of top scorers in the Premier League. They are coming off a 4-2 win against Burnley, with forwards Mane’ and Firmino scoring two goals apiece.
In defence, Alisson has proved himself to be resourceful time and time again. Speaking of defense and resourcefulness, Virgil Van Dijk has been in other-worldly form, being considered one of the best defenders right now. They made it to the finals last year only to fall victims to Real Madrid but Klopp and co will be looking to bring it home this year with even more tenacity.
Bayern Munich are on top of the Bundesliga after a rocky start. Niko Kovac’s side are still the underdogs in the fight, despite being heavily decorated. Part of this is due to the 0-0 draw in the first leg leaving them with no away goals to lean on.
Some important players, like Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich, are suspended while Robben and Tolisso are out on injury. The lack of Kimmich will leave their defence a little susceptible to Liverpool’s dreaded attacking three. While they still have reliable players like club veteran Ribery and Polish goal machine, Lewandowski to do some damage, Van Dijk will have a thing or two to say when they attack.
#1 Juventus vs Atletico Madrid( Wed, 13/03/2019, 1:30 am)
Juventus are set to host Atletico Madrid in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League trailing 0-2. The odds seem to be stacked against Juve for the moment despite coming off of two consecutive victories in Serie A. The defensive combo of Gimenez and Godin seem impenetrable at the moment. They were simply sensational in the last game, executing exceptional tackles and marking. They are the reason why Atletico Madrid is currently hailed as arguably the strongest club in terms of defence. Up front, they have Griezmann who is one of the top scorers in La Liga and one of the most sought after attackers in world football. Looking at the current situation, it seems Atletico have their bases covered.
Juventus are still undefeated in the league but they are primarily a defensive squad. They will have to avoid conceding and try returning two goals at the very least. They must shift their standard gameplan in order to adapt and conquer. All eyes will be on Cristiano Ronaldo, who is set to top Serie A in both goals and assists. He is the all-time leading goalscorer of the UCL and the expectations are piled up accordingly.
Despite the hurdle, Allegri is one of those managers you can bank on to keep a level head and turn a game around. He almost came out with a miraculous comeback last season against a Ronaldo-led Real Madrid. He’ll be looking to actually pull it off this time.