Half of the Champions League quarterfinals field is set and another four teams are looking to join the party. Who else will emerge from the round of 16? Here’s what each squad playing this week needs to do to keep their Champions League dream alive.
Juventus — Hold down the fort
With two goals in the bag from their trip to Portugal, Juventus are in prime position to advance. They’re awfully tough to beat at home, and their defense is among the best in Europe. Even if you break them down, they have ageless wonder Gianluigi Buffon in net. They don’t need to park the bus to win the match, but staying organized defensively would all but ensure they’re through.
Porto — Give themselves a chance
For the most part, Porto played pretty well in the first leg. When you consider that Alex Telles was sent off in the 26th minute, Porto did well to only give up two goals. They’ll need the be full strength if they’re going to entertain the notion of winning at Juventus Stadium. It’s a tough ask from the get-go, it’s a near impossibility if they again go a man down.
Leicester City — Finish what Claudio Ranieri started
Back in the first leg, the Foxes snatched a late goal to give themselves a foothold in the tie. They’re still down 2-1 on aggregate, and they’ve since fired Ranieri. Now, Craig Shakespeare is in charge and Leicester have responded with two 3-1 wins under the new boss. Sevilla will be a tough test, but the Foxes also have the added confidence boost of having won all three of their home matches at the KP Stadium in group play.
Sevilla — Don’t let Leicester get comfortable
Despite all of their struggles this season, Leicester still have a championship pedigree. We haven’t seen much of it this season, but they’ve been playing much better of late. Sevilla’s narrow 2-1 lead would become much more significant with an away goal. Leicester will be chasing a goal themselves, so it behooves Sevilla to try and exploit that space.
Atletico Madrid — Batten down the hatches
Los Colchoneros won handily, 4-2, in the first leg. Having four away goals is a huge boon, and only two teams in Champions League history have overturned a first-leg home defeat to win the tie. The Vicente Calderon Stadium is as tough a place as it is to try and earn a result. Atletico should just try and soak up whatever Bayer throws their way and try to put the tie on ice on the counterattack.
Bayer Leverkusen — Forget their rotten luck in Spain
Like Leicester, Leverkusen will enter the second leg of the tie with a different manager than they had in the first leg. But for whatever reason, no matter who the boss has been, Bayer can’t seem to win in Spain. Their overall record is 3-2-12 and they’ve lost their last three matches on Spanish soil. Leverkusen need to buck that trend and win (and win big) to make the quarterfinals.
Monaco — Channel their inner Barcelona
Being down 5-3 heading into the second leg isn’t insurmountable for Monaco. After seeing what Barcelona did against PSG, Monaco should be more than confident they can win the tie against Man City. In fact, with three away goals, it’s far from the odds Barca were facing. Now, Monaco don’t have the hype of Barcelona, but they can score with the best of them and they have a fantastic home record. They’ve won all of their home matches in 2017 and have conceded just one goal in that stretch at the Stade Louis II. If they can muster even half of the fight that Barcelona did, they’ll be in great shape.
Manchester City — Don’t get complacent
City slipped up with a draw against Stoke on March 8, but they bounced back with a quality FA Cup triumph against Middlesbrough on Saturday. As mentioned, Monaco have a really, really good home record. The defense let City down in the first leg against Monaco, and they’ll likely need to keep the offense going to see their way to the quarterfinals. Resting on their 5-3 advantage would be foolish. Monaco will be tough to crack, but doing so is key.