The 2015-16 Champions League returns to action this week with the Round of 16 kicking off as teams look to get a strong start in the opening leg of the knock out stage. Continue reading as we offer our Champions League Round of 16 Leg One Preview and Betting Tips.
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Gent vs Wolfsburg (Thursday, Feb 18 at 6.45am AEDT)
Wolfsburg will head into the match up on the back of their first victory in the Bundesliga in six matches. It is the first time the German side has made it out of the group stages in the Champions League and they managed to do it by defeating Manchester United in the final group game. The German Cup holders are currently 8th in the league but the side is much stronger than that and it is a positive that German International Julian Draxler returned to form and scored the opening goal in their latest win.
Meanwhile Gent has had an incredibly successful inaugural season in the Champions League, as they were able to advance when experts were expecting them to finish bottom of their group. The Belgian side has continued its strong form in the league and are sitting in equal position on top with Club Brugge. Gent will enter the match having won their last seven home matches in all competitions and we are predicting them to remain undefeated at home but it will be due to Wolfsburg looking to settle for a draw away from home.
Roma vs Real Madrid (Thursday, Feb 18 at 6.45am AEDT)
The Italian side managed to reach the Round of 16 despite conceding 16 goals in the group stage. They won just one game in the group stages and lost to Barcelona 6-1, which is a bad sign for Roma. They are up against the Champions from two seasons ago and the all-time Champions League goal scorer in Cristiano Ronaldo who is in great form having scored 11 goals already this season. Madrid won five of their six group games and since Zinedine Zidane took over as manager the side has been in terrific goal scoring form register 23 goals in six matches.
Real Madrid is a class above with some of the best players in the world taking the field for them, they are expected to win this match and we agree with this prediction and they should enter the second leg on home soil with a massive advantage.
Arsenal vs Barcelona (Wednesday, Feb 24 at 6.45am AEDT)
The defending champions have drawn one of the harder opponents in the Round of 16, which has set up a scintillating match for soccer fans. The Gunners managed to escape with an important victory against Premier League leaders Leicester City in their last match. It was a fairy tale return to action for Danny Welbeck who had been sidelined with injury for the previous 10 months. The striker was substituted on and headed in the winner in injury time as Arsenal narrowed the gap at the top of the table to just two points.
However, they are faced with one of the toughest tasks in football and that will be finding a way to slow down Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar. The side hasn’t lost a match since the 3rd of October and when these two sides last met in the Champions League it was the Round of 16 in 2010/2011 and Barcelona managed to advance.
Arsenal hasn’t advanced past the Champions League Round of 16 since in each of the last five seasons. The Gunners have improved this season, however Barcelona has looked unstoppable over the past two years and we see Barca earning the away victory.
Juventus vs Bayern Munich (Wednesday, Feb 24 at 6.45am AEDT)
In arguably the best match up of the round, the Italian champions will take on the German champions in a mouth-watering contest. Juventus have overcame a slow start in the Italian league and have won seven straight matches to retake top spot. They are looking to replicate their efforts from last year and reach the Champions League final.
Whilst Bayern Munich is incredibly strong in attack, they do show weaknesses at the back when they are forced to defend or are on the back foot. The Juventus midfielders and strikers are quick and strong players and Bayern will have to be careful when pushing forward. The Bianconeri are an incredibly strong side on home soil and even stronger in the Champions League as they have only lost once at home to a foreign side, however that was against Bayern in their last meeting in the Champions League. We are expecting Bayern’s attack to outweigh their defence as they look to continue their dominance against Juventus.
PSV Eindhoven vs Atletico Madrid (Thursday, Feb 25 at 6.45am AEDT)
Atletico Madrid were the biggest winners with the Round of 16 draw as they managed to avoid the strongest sides and were dealt a side they faced twice in the group stages of the competition in 2008-09 where they were victorious on both occasions. Atletico Madrid were defeated in the final two years ago and have constantly been a strong side over the past three seasons which included them lifting the La Liga title ahead of Real Madrid and Barcelona. They are currently sitting in second position and they have won three of their last four matches and only lost to Barcelona in that stretch.
Eindhoven is sitting on top of the Erediversie standings and they shouldn’t be underestimated after seeing of Manchester United in the group stages. However, the Red Devils are struggling in all competitions and Atletico Madrid will be a stronger outfit than the Manchester side. We are backing Madrid to earn the win and get off to the ideal start in the first leg.
Dynamo Kyiv vs Manchester City (Thursday, Feb 25 at 6.45am AEDT)
The Manchester club has finally progressed out of the group stages after five seasons of being eliminated before the round of 16. However, the club has lost back-to-back matches in the Premier League and seem to have lost their attacking spark that saw them be a dominant force at the start of the season.
The match will be played behind closed doors as Dynamo Kyiv were hit with a ban after their fans were displaying racist behaviour in a match against Chelsea in October of last year. The Ukraine side has won five of the last six matches including two wins in the Champions League. However, they will face a huge task in overcoming a City side that could be turning all its attention to winning the champion of Europe title after dropping off in the league title race. Manchester City will earn a comfortable victory in this one.
Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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