Champions League & Europa League preview & predictions


The remaining eight teams to have qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League play out their first-leg ties across Tuesday and Wednesday, while all 32 teams still in with a shout of Europa League glory also complete their first knockout round ties this week.

Current Champions League holders Bayern Munich resume their title defence against Lazio, while Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid are also in action.

In the Europa League, Manchester United look to have all but secured their passage to the last 16, though Arsenal, Leicester and Rangers still have work to do if they’re to emerge to the latter rounds of the competition.

Here’s a rundown of all the games this week including how you can watch them, as well as our predictions.

Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea

FBL-ENG-PR-SOUTHAMPTON-CHELSEA
Chelsea face a tough tie against Atleti | KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 20:00 (GMT)
Where is it being played? National Arena, Budapest
TV channel? BT Sport 2 (UK)

A few weeks ago, Atletico Madrid would have been licking their lips at the prospect of playing Chelsea.

However, the Blues have enjoyed a resurgence since Thomas Tuchel’s arrival, while Diego Simeone’s men have looked far from convincing in their last few La Liga outings.

This one is bound to be a tight affair, and despite losing their home advantage with the game played at a neutral venue, Atletico’s wily old coach may just be able to mastermind a plan that sees his side handed a slender advantage going into the second leg.

Prediction: Atletico Madrid 1-0 Chelsea

Lazio vs Bayern Munich

Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski is looking to spearhead Bayern’s bid for back-to-back titles | Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 20:00 (GMT)
Where is it being played? Stadio Olimpico, Rome
TV channel? BT Sport 3 (UK)

It’s not been a vintage season for Lazio so far, and a tie against the reigning European champions is about as tough a draw as Simone Inzaghi’s men could have been handed.

That being said, Bayern’s Bundesliga form hasn’t been great since their triumphant return from the Club World Cup in Qatar, but you’d have to be either brave or foolish not to back Hansi Flick’s men to progress to the quarter-final stage.

Prediction: Lazio 0-3 Bayern Munich

Atalanta vs Real Madrid

Luka Modric
Luka Modric is aiming for a fifth Champions League crown | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 20:00 (GMT)
Where is it being played? Gewiss Stadium
TV channel? BT Sport 3 (UK)

Having only just scraped their way through to the knockout stages of this year’s Champions League, Real Madrid have been handed a tough draw against free-scoring Atalanta.

Despite making up ground in the La Liga title race in recent weeks, Zinedine Zidane’s men still have plenty of work to do, and they may look to turn their attentions to the Champions League in a bid to save what has been a poor season so far.

Atalanta are no mugs, and Los Blancos may well still have work to do come the second leg.

Prediction: Atalanta 2-2 Real Madrid

Borussia Monchengladbach vs Manchester City

Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne’s return could be key to City’s chances in the competition | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 20:00 (GMT)
Where is it being played? Puskas Arena, Budapest
TV channel? BT Sport 2 (UK)

Manchester City are one of the best sides in Europe right now, but we’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve said that and then they’ve been dumped out of the Champions League by some Albanian side.

That said, a trip to Budapest to play Borussia Monchengladbach shouldn’t pose too many problems for Pep Guardiola’s men.

The Bundesliga outfit did brilliantly to progress through to the knockout rounds but it would take something special for them to stop the City juggernaut.

Prediction: Borussia Monchengladbach 0-2 Manchester City

Tottenham vs Wolfsberger (aggregate: 4-1)

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale is likely to start from the off in the Europa League again | Clive Rose/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 17:00 (GMT)
Where is it being played? Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
TV channel? BT Sport 1 (UK)

If Tottenham can’t bring Wednesday night football to them, then they’ll go to Wednesday night football.

Spurs’ Europa League second-leg clash with Wolfsberger takes place a day before the usual Thursday night slot, but regardless of the date they’re well assured of their place in the last 16.

A Gareth Bale inspired 4-1 win in the first leg means Jose Mourinho’s side should enjoy a comfortable Wednesday evening.

Prediction: Tottenham 1-0 Wolfsberger

Rangers vs Antwerp (aggregate: 4-3)

Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard’s side hold the advantage going into the second leg | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 17:55 (GMT)
Where is it being played? Ibrox Stadium
TV channel? BT Sport 3 (UK)

You just can’t write Steven Gerrard’s Rangers side off.

Having trailed 3-2 in the first leg, the Scottish Premiership leaders rallied and a late Antwerp red card swung the tie in the Gers’ favour.

Ryan Kent’s wonder goal and a Borna Barisic stoppage time penalty gave Gerrard’s men a slender lead going into the second leg, and while they look good value to progress, you can guarantee it won’t be a straight forward evening.

Prediction: Rangers 2-1 Antwerp

Arsenal vs Benfica (aggregate: 1-1)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Aubameyang was guilty of spurning a number of opportunities in the first leg | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 17:55 (GMT)
Where is it being played? The Emirates Stadium
TV channel? BT Sport 1 (UK)

If it weren’t for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s unusually shocking finishing then Arsenal would be able to sit back and relax on Thursday evening.

The Gunners captain spurned a number of opportunities to hand his side the advantage in their tie with Benfica, but his failure to convert said chances means the tie is finely poised at 1-1.

The Portuguese outfit looked steady if not spectacular last week and Mikel Arteta’s men will be expected to progress.

Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Benfica

Napoli vs Granada (aggregate: 0-2)

Victor Osimhen
Victor Osimhen is likely to miss the contest | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 17:55 (GMT)
Where is it being played? Stadio San Paolo
TV channel? BT Sport digital (UK)

Napoli may not have been in the best form this season, but very few people expected them to go down 2-0 in the first leg against Granada last week.

Having only recently returned from injury, big-money signing Victor Osimhen is expected to miss out after he spent the night in hospital following a challenge with Cristian Romero in the defeat to Atalanta at the weekend, and his absence could prove key as they look to overturn a two-goal deficit.

Prediction: Napoli 1-0 Granada

AC Milan vs Red Star Belgrade (aggregate: 2-2)

Milan and Ibrahimovic drew 2-2 in the first leg
Milan and Ibrahimovic drew 2-2 in the first leg | Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 20:00 (GMT)
Where is it being played? San Siro
TV channel? BT Sport digital (UK)

It’s all going a bit wrong for AC Milan.

Having led the way in Serie A for so long, Stefano Pioli’s men have endured a mini collapse which has seen them surrender their lead at the top of the league to city rivals Inter.

Their 2-2 draw with Red Star Belgrade in the first leg of their Europa League tie was hardly a performance to suggest their season is back on track, but they should have more than enough to make home advantage count and progress through to the next round.

Prediction: AC Milan 2-0 Red Star Belgrade

Manchester United vs Real Sociedad (aggregate: 4-0)

David De Gea, Victor Lindelof
United are well set to progress | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 20:00 (GMT)
Where is it being played? Old Trafford
TV channel? BT Sport 2 (UK)

Well, who saw that coming?

It looked as though Manchester United had been handed one of the toughest draws possible against Real Sociedad, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men brushed aside the La Liga outfit with ease to all but confirm their spot in the next round.

Expect Solskjaer to field a weakened side for the second leg, but on the basis of last week’s clash they should still have enough to record a win on the night.

Prediction: Manchester United 1-0 Real Sociedad

Leicester vs Slavia Prague (aggregate: 0-0)

Jamie Vardy, Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers will be looking to Jamie Vardy to fire his team through to the next round | Michael Regan/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 20:00 (GMT)
Where is it being played? King Power Stadium
TV channel? BT Sport ESPN (UK)

A 0-0 draw in the first leg might have looked underwhelming on paper for Brendan Rodgers’ men, but in reality Slavia Prague proved they’re no pushovers.

With home advantage Leicester should have enough to edge past the Czech outfit, but if the first leg is anything to go by it’s not going to be as comfortable as some may predict.

Prediction: Leicester 1-0 Slavia Prague

The following Europa League last 32 ties are also being played this week, all available to watch in the UK on BT Sport platforms (times specified GMT): Ajax vs Lille (17:55), Shakhtar Donestsk vs Maccabi Tel Aviv (17:55), Hoffenheim vs Molde (17:55), Villarreal vs Red Bull Salzburg (17:55), Club Brugge vs Dynamo Kyiv (20:00), Dinamo Zagreb vs Krasnodar (20:00), PSV Eindhoven vs Olympiacos (20:00), Roma vs Braga (20:00), Bayer Leverkusen vs Young Boys (20:00).



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