1. Bayern Munich need another quality forward Robert Lewandowski’s absence…
The first half of the first leg of round of 16 matches are done, and there were some decisive results, all at home. The visitors had a torrid time against the home sides. However, there were some more impressive than others, a few certainly made a huge statement for the rest of Europe.
4. Benfica 1-0
A lone goal for the Portuguese giants was enough to gain the advantage over their German visitors. Borussia Dortmund were the favorites coming into this match, and they did play like it, having multiple chances but were ultimately unable to convert successfully. This included a penalty by Aubamayeng, who has been the main man for Thomas Tuchel’s side this season. His missed penalty set the tone for the entire game for Dortmund, creating chances but not scoring goals. Still, Benfica will need to improve a lot defensively when they visit Germany in the return leg, as it is in the Signal Iduna Park where Dortmund thrive the most.
3. Real Madrid 3-1 Napoli
Real Madrid fell first to Lorenzo Insigne’s early goal, managing to curve his strike through an out-of-position Keylor Navas. Still, Real reinstated their status as current champions, having scored three goals in return throughout the match. Napoli was unable to keep the likes of Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos out, who were the goal – scorers on the night. Despite the result, Real will be wary when they visit Naples in the return leg. Much like Dortmund, this Napoli side is a much stronger side at home, and a regular 2-0 win for the Italians would be enough to see them through to the quarters. Still, Real Madrid will be significant favorites, especially with the firepower the Spanish capital side can afford up front.
2. Bayern Munich 5 – 1 Arsenal
Different year, same result for the German and English side. Bayern put the Gunners to the sword in the first leg in Munich. Having gone up early through an early signature goal by Arjen Robben, Arsenal were able to peg it back to 1-1 through an eventual close range finish by Alexis Sanchez after missing his penalty. Going into half time, Arsenal looked poised to frustrate Bayern. When Laurent Kosceilny was subbed off due to injury, Arsenal just capitulated at the back. Conceding three goals in ten minutes to Thiago Alcantara and Robert Lewandowski spelt the end for the tie for Arsenal. As for Bayern, they extend their winning streak at home in the Champions League to 16 games. An incredible record which will be hard to contend with for any team in the quarter finals.
1. PSG 4 – 0 Barcelona
The most impressive result was PSG’s demolition of Barcelona in France. Barcelona held only one shot on target throughout the 90 minutes, a side which arguably has the greatest front three in history. PSG were able to cut through their midfield time and time again. The most impressive aspect of their victory was PSG’s own midfield of Matuidi, Rabiot, and Verratti. They ran circles around Barcelona’s own core, and their energy, passing and pressing was quite impressive. PSG look to be one of the more dangerous sides after Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.