Things to look out for in the Champions League: February 12-13

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The UEFA Champions League returns with eight teams in action this week in the Round of 16. Here are Things to look out for in the Champions League this week. You can bet on the Champions League here.

Ole’s huge test

Manchester United begin their tricky run begin with a Champion League Round of 16 clash with French champions Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford on Tuesday. Since taking over from Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solkjaer has won all but one of his 11 games in charge in all competitions but one which his team drew 2-2 with Burnley. However, Tuesday’s encounter will present the Norwegian with the toughest test of his tenure, in his first Champions League game as manager. Although the Red Devils have already beaten top six teams Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, PSG will test the team’s mettle against Europe’s biggest stars. The match against PSG will start United’s huge February where they’ll face Chelsea and Liverpool.

PSG missing stars 

When Paris Saint-Germain walk out of the tunnel at Old Trafford on Tuesday night for their seventh successive Round of 16 appearance, their biggest and the world’s most expensive footballer, Neymar, will be missing. The Brazilian, who scored five goals in the group stage, was ruled out for ten weeks after picking up a foot injury during the French Cup game against Strasbourg. The French champions still aren’t sure if striker Edinson Cavani will play. If their two of their three best players miss out, most of the attacking burden will fall on Ligue 1 top scorer Kylian Mbappe. Furthermore, PSG’s poor record against English teams will not help them and will need to produce their best performance against a rampant United side.

Massive opportunity for Spurs

The loss of Harry Kane and Dele Alli has not slowed Tottenham Hotspur in the league. Although they’ve been knocked out in two cup competitions, the Carabao and the FA Cup, the North London side have won four games in a row in the league which still keeps them in the title race. They’ll face Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund in their Round of 16 tie which begins with a home match at Wembley. Spurs have only ever qualified for the UEFA Champions League quarter-final once, in 2010/2011. They will be aiming to emulate that performance when they play a team that has impressed all season and are still favourites to win the Bundesliga. Even without Kane and Alli, Spurs are still a competitive outfit. The likes of Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen make them a tough opponent to play against. 

Real Madrid winning run to continue 

Real Madrid are gunning for their fourth Champions League title in a row. The champions will be visiting Ajax Amsterdam in their Round of 16 tie. With six wins and one draw from its last seven games in all competitions, Los Blancos appear to have hit their stride after a less convincing start to the season. They have also won six straight games against the Dutch giants who last won the competition in 1995. Real Madrid now sit second in La Liga, just six points behind leaders Barcelona. Ajax, who stumbled on the weekend in the league, will be wary of the threat of their visitors and perennial European nemesis that look unstoppable at the moment.

Goals galore in Rome 

AS Roma host Porto in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday night. The Portuguese have never lost to Roma and they came out with a huge victory the last time they visited Rome. However, both these teams are adventurous when going forward. Porto won their last five fixtures in Group D finishing top and scoring three or more goals or more in each of their last four outings. In the group stage, Roma recorded their biggest ever win in the competitions when they beat Viktoria Plzeň 5-0 in match day two. This game will definitely see a lot of goals with both teams vying for that important last eight spot.