The quarter-final line-up for the Copa Libertadores 2009 will begin to take shape this week, with five of the eight ties in the first knockout round coming to a conclusion. FIFA.com looks ahead to those matches and the first leg between Defensor Sporting and Boca Juniors, who will finally meet in Montevideo. CONMEBOL have also confirmed that Sao Paulo and Nacional will move on to the quarter-finals due to their Mexican opponents dropping out of the competition.
Game of the week
Cruzeiro-Universidad de Chile
Thursday 14 May, Estadio Mineirao (Belo Horizonte), 19.30 (local time)
Though the Brazilians won 2-1 in Santiago last Thursday to take control of the tie, it would be a mistake to rule out a Universidad comeback. Sergio Markarian's side showed in the group phase that they have what it takes to secure vital away wins, and boosted their morale by beating city rivals Universidad Catolica at the weekend. Libertadores champions in 1976 and 1997, Cruzeiro have been formidable at home this year, winning all three of their group matches at the Estadio Mineirao.
The all-Brazilian meeting between Sport and Palmeiras is the pick of Tuesday's two ties. Vanderlei Luxemburgo's men have the edge after winning the first leg 1-0 and have yet to lose to Sport in this year's competition, winning one and drawing the other of their two group encounters.
Gremio are the other Brazilian team in action this week. Unbeaten at home in the tournament so far, the Porto Alegre side are firm favourites to progress at the expense of Universidad San Martin after taking a 3-1 lead in the tie in Peru.
Another big name in a comfortable position are Estudiantes, who travel to Asuncion to defend a commanding 3-0 lead over Libertad. El Pincha remain unbeaten since Alejandro Sabella's appointment as coach, while El Gumarelo, the first side to confirm their place in the last 16, need to rediscover their very best form after suffering three consecutive Libertadores defeats.
Few would have expected Caracas and Deportivo Cuenca to be fighting it out for a place in the last eight, a stage of the competition that neither side has ever reached before. The Ecuadorians hold a slender 2-1 advantage going into Tuesday's match in Caracas, though the omens are not good for them. On their previous two visits to Venezuela in this year's tournament they went down 2-0 to Deportivo Anzoategui and 1-0 to Deportivo Tachira.
And finally, following last week's postponement, Defensor Sporting and Boca Juniors will begin their tie at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo on Thursday. The prize for the winners is a quarter-final against Estudiantes or Libertad.
Player to watch
Diego de Souza (Defensor Sporting)
The 24-year-old striker is one of the keys to the Uruguayan club's attacking output, and one of the major reasons for their current successes. He managed a goal against Independiente Medellin, and will now be hoping to do the same against much-feared Argentine giants Boca Juniors in Montevideo
1 - The number of ties in which a first-leg deficit was overturned in last year's opening knockout round, Mexican side America being the only side to manage the feat after coming from behind to eliminate Brazil's Flamengo. That statistic will offer little comfort to those teams trailing from last week's first legs.
What they said
"Libertad are a dangerous side with some very quick players. If we're complacent we could cause problems for ourselves, and we need to try and produce the same performance we came up with last Thursday." Estudiantes forward Mauro Boselli, the scorer of two goals in last week's first leg, refuses to underestimate Libertad.
This week's fixtures *
Sport (BRA) - Palmeiras (BRA)
Caracas (VEN) - Deportivo Cuenca (ECU)
Gremio (BRA) - San Martin (PER)
Defensor Sporting (URU) - Boca Juniors (ARG)
Libertad (PAR) - Estudiantes (ARG)
Cruzeiro (BRA) - Universidad de Chile (CHI)
* Nacional and Sao Paulo are through after Mexican sides Chivas Guadalajara and San Luis dropped out of the competition.