Europe's most prestigious club football tournament is back after a two month break. Over the next two weeks, the first leg ties of the round of 16 matches will be played in different stadia across Europe. For the sake of those new to football, known as soccer Stateside, this round is played by the clubs that qualified from the group stages played earlier this season. This is a knockout stage and ultimately only 8 teams will advance to the quarterfinals.
Here, we look at the four games that will be played this week, today-Tuesday and tomorrow-Wednesday.
Date: Feb 12, 2019 23:00 (GMT+3)
Referee: Danny Desmond Makkelie, Netherlands
Venue: Stadio Olimpico
Roma could be dark horses will be looking to produce another fine run deep into tournament this season after an excellent run last season. Porto have struggled on their travels and here they face an uphill in the Italian Capital without their three UCL top scorers this season. The Portuguese giants will be missing both first-choice strikers Vincent Aboubakar and Moussa Marega due to injury. Jesus Manuel Corona is serving a suspension for a straight red card. Between them, the trio have scored 8 Champions League goals so far this term, Marega 5 goals and Corona 3 goals.
Roma will be without first choice keeper Robin Olsen. Cengiz Under, Roma's second highest UCL topscorer is likely to miss this tie. Only Edin Dzeko has scored more Champions League goals this season than Under for Roma. Stephan El Shaarawy is on form and Dzeko will test Porto's backline. Edin Dzeko has scored five goals in four games for Roma in the Champions League this season and will play a vital role here is the home team are to ease past Porto.
Prediction: AS Roma Win
Date: 12. Feb 2019, 23:00 (GMT+3)
Referee: Daniele Orsato, Italy
Location: Manchester, England
Venue: Old Trafford
When this draw came out, many football fans, including myself, gave Manchester United no chance here. Fast forward and now under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this tie could go either way. The Red Devils have a good chance of progressing to the quarter finals. The absences of Neymar and Edinson Cavani who are both nursing injuries will be a big blow for PSG and a boost for United. Cavani would have caused the United backline problems.
United have won 10 of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first 11 matches in charge. They come up against a "weakened" PSG side trying to navigate through a mini injury crisis. The Red Devils are by no means guarenteed to win on Tuesday night. However, they will be disappointed if they don't take an advantage into the second leg in Paris.
PSG have struggled away against English sides. Their only win in the Champions League away to English opposition was against Chelsea in 2016. Otherwise their record is D4, L5. An away goal would see this tie evenly poised heading into the return leg at the Parc des Princes. Anyone else seeing a 2-1 score here in favour of United?
Prediction: BTTS & Over 2.5 Goals
Date: 13. Feb 2019, 23:00 (GMT+3)
Referee: Antonio Mateu, Spain
Location: London, England
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Spurs are grinding results at the minute but doing the business without Harry Kane and Dele Alli. Heung-Min Son has kept things rolling since his return from the Asian AFC games. The South Korea international is carrying Spurs through and his energy levels have been outstanding.
Tottenham progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League by the skin of their teeth after navigating a tricky group that had Inter Milan, PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona and the Londoners.Spurs beat Dortmund both home and away in the group stages of the Champions League last season, but the Bundesliga side are a more difficult proposition this time around.
Dortmund were pegged back from 3-0 up in the 75th min to settling draw 3-3 with Hoffenheim at the weekend and have now failed to win in three in all competitions. Spurs just did enough to see off Leicester City themselves at times living on the edge of the seat. The German giants won two of their three away group stage matches, with their sole defeat coming in their toughest test at Atletico Madrid.
This promises to be an entertaining meeting between two attacking sides. Spurs have a weakness at the back as Mauricio Pochettino has been chopping and changing too much in defence. Talisman and captian Kane could be back for the return leg but this promises to be another game of goals.
Dortmund's Jadon Sancho is the joint-top assist contributor in the Bundesliga. Guerreiro has scored four UCL goals, same as Kane. If Dortmund to have their way in midfield, I am expecting a huge scoreline here.
Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals
Date: 13. Feb 2019, 23:00 (GMT+3)
Referee: Damir Skomina, Slovenia
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Venue: Johan Cruijff Arena
Ajax have found their mojo and are a decent force again, with a nice combination of old and young players. Dusan Tadic has the creative spark having scored 5 UCL goals so far. Hakim Ziyech and Klaas Jan Huntelaar are scoring reguarly. The Dutch side have lost form at the worst time having lost three matches all season. Interestingly, two of those have come in their last three outings.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, appear to be edging closer to their best form after a rough season. The defending champions are unbeaten in their last seven and have won six of those. Madrid have drawn away to Barcelona and triumphed on the road to City rivals Atletico Madrid in the last week to leapfrog them into second place in the league.
Ajax are capable of upsetting Real Madrid and need to do so here if they are to have any real chance of progressing. This is a Madrid side that always finds a way to concede.