Champions League Trophy

UCL Round of 16 Second Leg Preview (Part One)

This week’s round of UEFA Champions League matches will ultimately decide the first teams to progress to the Quarter Final stage of this season’s competition.

Champions League football is set to finally return following a two week absence with the Round of 16 resuming. Following the first-leg action three weeks ago, four second-leg games are set to be played throughout Tuesday, 5th March and Wednesday, 6th March 2024. There will be four more second-leg matches next week.

This will be the first of two weeks of Round of 16 second leg action, with ties including the likes of Arsenal, FC Porto, FC Barcelona and Napoli playing the second and final week of Round of 16 action from Tuesday 12th March to Wednesday 13th March 2024.

The following fixtures are set to take place this week across the continent of Europe, with games being played in Munich, Madrid, Manchester and the Donostia-San Sabastian in Spain’s Basque region:

All four matches are set to be enthralling as the fates of each of these 8 teams are being decided imminently. Let’s now take a look back at what happened in the first leg a few weeks ago, starting with RB Leipzig against 14 time European Champions Real Madrid in early February.

In what was a tense and thrilling battle at the RB Arena in Leipzig, Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid were able to win the game 1 – 0 in Germany thanks to Spanish midfielder Brahim Diaz scoring the winning goal early in the second half for the visiting Los Blancos side (48’).

We now move on to a trip to the Parken Stadium in Denmark to face the reigning Danish Champions FC Copenhagen, in the first leg for Manchester City. The visiting Cityzens side led in the first ten minutes thanks to a great goal from their Belgian midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne (10’), only for Danish attacking midfielder Magnus Mattsson to equalise for the home side late on in the first half (34’).

Pep Guardiola’s City side did eventually take charge of the game, re-taking the lead through Portuguese forward Bernardo Silva in first half stoppage time (45+1’) before Phil Foden gave his team a two goal advantage in second half stoppage time (90+2’), making it 3 – 1. The reigning European Champions now hold a good advantage going into the second leg of this 2023/24 Round of 16 tie at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.

The third first leg contest of the round of 16 three weeks ago saw Italian side Lazio welcome reigning German Bundesliga Champions Bayern Munich to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome for the first leg of their knockout tie.

The I Biancocelesti (The White and Sky Blues) took control of the game, and they were helped when French central defender Dayot Upamecano was sent off after he was shown a red card midway through the second half (67’). Ciro Immobile would score the only goal of the game from the penalty spot just a few moments later (69’), meaning that they had beaten their Bavarian counterparts 1 – 0 on the night. Maurizio Sarri’s side holds a slender one-goal advantage going into the second leg in Munich.

The fourth first-leg tie to mention here was between current French Champions Paris Saint-Germain and Spanish La Liga outfit Real Sociedad at the Stade de France in Paris on Wednesday, 14th February 2024. On this occasion, the hosts comfortably won 2 – 0, with Kylian Mbappe (58’) and Bradley Barcola (70’) scoring the crucial goals for Luis Enrique’s Parisians.

We will now take a look ahead at the second legs of all of these 2023/24 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 ties that are set to begin this week.

Bayern Munich (Germany) v Lazio (Italy) – 5th March 2024, 20:00 KO – Agg. 0 – 1

The first game of this week that we are going to take a look at is set to be played between German Bundesliga title holders Bayern Munich and Italian Serie A outfit Lazio at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday evening in what is a 20:00 Kick-Off in Bavaria.

As mentioned previously, Lazio lead 1 – 0 on aggregate going into the second leg and they were able to emerge with the win in Rome after a Ciro Immobile penalty kick (69’).

Since then, Bayern’s domestic form in the German Bundesliga has been mixed. They lost 3 – 2 to Bochum before beating RB Leipzig 2 – 1 at home. Their most recent league result saw them play out a 2 – 2 stalemate away from home against SC Freiburg. The Bavarian heavyweights, led by former Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund Head Coach Thomas Tuchel, currently sit in second place, 10 points adrift of league leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern’s leading Champions League goal scorer so far this term is former Spurs forward Harry Kane, who has four goals to his name.

Moving on to Lazio, their form has taken a downward turn since their victory against Bayern. Their first game after this historic win saw them lose 2 – 1 at home to Bologna in Serie A, before emerging as 2 – 0 winners in Turin against Torino. They have then been beaten 2 – 1 by Fiorentina and then 1 – 0 at home to AC Milan in their most recent league encounter.

Maurizio Sarri’s side currently sits 9th in the Italian top flight, with 40 points accumulated from 27 Serie A matches.

Ciro Immobile is currently the top scorer for the Italian side in the UEFA Champions League this season, with four goals as of the time of writing.

Real Sociedad (Spain) v Paris Saint-Germain (France) – 5th March 2024, 20:00 KO – Agg. 0 – 2

The second match to preview for this week in the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League is set to be played between La Liga outfit Real Sociedad and Ligue 1 leaders and reigning French Champions Paris Saint-Germain at La Reale on Tuesday, 5th March 2024, in what will be a 20:00 kick-off that evening.

As mentioned earlier, goals from Kylian Mbappe (58’) and Bradley Barcola (70’) secured a comfortable 2 – 0 win in the French capital.

Since this victory, Luis Enrique’s PSG side have gone on to play three matches, winning one and drawing two. This run of three games started with a 2 – 0 away win against Nantes before drawing 1 – 1 at home to Stade Rennais. Their latest game in France’s Ligue 1 saw the Parisians draw 0 – 0 at the Stade Louis II against AS Monaco.

As of the time of writing Paris Saint-Germain are situated at the summit of the Ligue 1 table with 55 points accumulated from their 24 top flight matches overall. They hold a 9 point advantage over Brest, who currently find themselves on 46 points after playing the same number of matches.

Kylian Mbappe, with four goals, is currently Paris Saint-Germain’s leading goal scorer in the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League.

Moving on to Real Sociedad, they have played four matches. They were 2 – 1 winners against high-flying Girona before being defeated 3 – 1 at home to Villarreal. This was followed by a 1 – 1 draw against RCD Mallorca before then suffering a 3 – 2 defeat at the hands of Sevilla in their most recent La Liga match.

Spanish midfielder Brais Mendez currently holds the honour of being Sociedad’s leading 2023/24 UEFA Champions League goal scorer. He has 3 goals to his name in this competition to date.

Real Madrid (Spain) v RB Leipzig (Germany) – 6th March 2024, 20:00 KO – Agg. 1 – 0

The penultimate match that we are previewing here will be played between 14 time European Champions Real Madrid, led by Head Coach Carlo Ancelotti, and German Bundesliga side RB Leipzig at the Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday 6th March in what will be a 20:00 kick-off in the Spanish Capital.

As previously mentioned, Real Madrid won the opening leg of this Champions League Round of 16 tie 1 – 0 in Germany thanks to a goal in the early stages of the second half that day (48’).

Following this victory against their German Bundesliga counterparts, Los Blancos have played three matches, all in LaLiga. They drew 1 – 1 away from home against Rayo Vallecano before beating Sevilla 1 – 0 at home. Their most recent game saw them play out a 2 – 2 draw at the Mestalla against Valencia.

Real Madrid sit top of the Spanish top flight with 66 points from 27 matches, 7 ahead of surprise package Girona in second place, who have 59 points from the same number of matches.

Former Birmingham City and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham is Los Blancos’ top goal scorer in this competition, with no less than 4 goals so far. He is closely followed by Brazilian forward Rodrygo with 3.

Moving on to RB Leipzig, they have played three matches, winning two and losing one. This run of games began with a comfortable 2 – 0 victory at the RB Arena before losing 2 – 1 to reigning German Champions Bayern Munich in the next game. This was followed by an emphatic 4 – 1 away win against Bochum in their most recent game in the league. They currently sit 5th with 43 points – just 1 off the Champions League spots in the top four.

Lois Openda, who joined the club from Lens in the summer, is the top scorer for RB Leipzig in the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League with 4 goals in total to his name so far.

Manchester City (England) v FC Copenhagen (Denmark) – 6th March 2024, 20:00 KO – Agg. 3 – 1

Finally, we look at the fourth Champions League Round of 16 second leg match this week. It will be contested between the reigning European Champions, Manchester City, and the current Danish Champions, FC Copenhagen, at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday 6th March 2024, in a 20:00 kick-off.

As mentioned earlier on, Pep Guardiola’s City side were comfortable 3 – 1 winners in the end in the first leg. This sees the Cityzens having a two goal advantage going into the second and final leg of this Round of 16 tie at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

Since emerging victorious against their Danish counterparts, Manchester City have played a total of five matches, four in the Premier League and one in the FA Cup. This run began with a 1 – 1 home draw against Chelsea before securing a 1 – 0 league win at home against Thomas Frank’s Brentford at the Etihad Stadium.

Another 1 – 0 Premier League win followed, this time against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium, before they were emphatic 6 – 2 winners against Luton Town in the FA Cup 5th Round at Kenilworth Road.

Manchester City were 3 – 1 winners in their most recent match, which came in the Premier League against cross-city rivals Manchester United at the Etihad. This leaves them second in the Premier League table after 27 games, and just 1 point behind league leaders Liverpool on 63 points.

The leading 2023/24 UEFA Champions League goal scorer so far this term is Erling Haaland, with 5. The Norwegian forward is joint top scorer in the whole competition alongside Porto’s Galeno, Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, Manchester United’s Rasmus Højlund, and Atletico Madrid’s Alvaro Morata.

Moving on to City’s opponent, FC Copenhagen, they have played 3 league matches in the Danish top flight, the Super Liga. This began with a 3 – 0 away win against Silkeborg IF before beating FC Nordsjaelland 2 – 0 at home in the following match. Copenhagen lost 2 – 0 away from home against FC Midtjylland in what was their most recent match in all competitions. The club is in third place with 39 points from 20 games, 3 behind Danish Super Liga leaders FC Midtjylland on 42 points from the same number of games.

Midfielder Lukas Lerager is currently the Danish club’s leading scorer in the Champions League, with 3 to date.

Excitement and anticipation are building rapidly ahead of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League Round of 16, which resumes this week. The first teams will progress to the Quarter Finals of this year’s competition over the next two days.

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