Usual sus­pects in Uefa’s round of 16

CityPress - - Sport -

For Guardi­ola, suc­cess in the Cham­pi­ons League is ar­guably even more im­por­tant than for his Monaco coun­ter­part, Leonardo Jardim.

Un­like Guardi­ola, whose club lies third on the ta­ble, 10 points be­hind Chelsea, the Por­tuguese coach has taken Monaco to the top of Ligue 1, and they are look­ing like a good bet to win their first league cham­pi­onship since 2000.

Bay­ern Mu­nich and Ar­se­nal have met three times pre­vi­ously at this stage and, on each oc­ca­sion, the Ger­man team has gone on to the next round. Bay­ern have been om­nipresent in the semi­fi­nals of the Cham­pi­ons League for the past six sea­sons and will not want to see that run come to an end against the Gunners.

Their form in the do­mes­tic cup and league has not been out­stand­ing, even if they have been get­ting re­sults, prompt­ing Dutch in­ter­na­tional Ar­jen Robben to say: “At the mo­ment, it is not enough – we need to do it bet­ter. But, nor­mally, we are al­ways there when we have to be.”

Barcelona fans, mean­while, have had to en­dure the hu­mil­i­a­tion of see­ing their bit­ter ri­vals Real Madrid win­ning the tro­phy twice in the past three years, while they have won it once.

Barca’s op­po­nents, Paris St Ger­main, is an­other su­per­rich club that has gone out to try to buy suc­cess. But while the Qatari mil­lions have helped the club to four suc­ces­sive Ligue 1 ti­tles, as well as two cup tri­umphs, they have fallen short where it re­ally mat­ters: in the Cham­pi­ons League.

They will have their work cut out for them against Barcelona, though, if they want to con­tinue their run of five con­sec­u­tive quar­ter­fi­nal ap­pear­ances.

De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Real Madrid face Napoli, while two for­mer win­ners in Ben­fica and Borus­sia Dort­mund face each other in Lis­bon in their first-leg match.

Be­tween them, Atlético Madrid and Bayer Lev­erkusen have ap­peared in four Cham­pi­ons League fi­nals, but nei­ther club has yet to win the com­pe­ti­tion.

Atlético have been los­ing fi­nal­ists in two of the last three edi­tions of the com­pe­ti­tion, while Lev­erkusen were fa­mously re­named as Nev­erkusen in 2002, when they lost the Ger­man Cup fi­nal, the Ger­man League and the Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal within the space of nine days.

But as they go head-to-head, only one of the teams will be able to dream of a ti­tle that has eluded them.

The fi­nal fix­ture sees Porto take on Ju­ven­tus.

The fix­tures:

Tues­day: Ben­fica vs Borus­sia Dort­mund; Paris St Ger­main vs Barcelona

Wed­nes­day: Bay­ern Mu­nich vs Ar­se­nal; Real Madrid vs Napoli

Tues­day, Fe­bru­ary 21: Bayer 04 Lev­erkusen vs Atlético Madrid; Manchester City vs Monaco

Wed­nes­day, Fe­bru­ary 22: FC Porto vs Ju­ven­tus; Sevilla vs Le­ices­ter City

PHOTO: ANGEL MARTINEZ / GETTY IMAGES

TOP DECK Real Madrid play­ers cel­e­brate af­ter beat­ing ri­vals Atlético Madrid in the Uefa Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal in May

PHOTO: LARS BARON / BONGARTS / GETTY IMAGES

RED STAR Dutch player Ar­jen Robben of Bay­ern Mu­nich

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