This week’s four Round of 16 ties in the UEFA Champions League pose awkward away tests for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Chelsea, who have won the competition 13 times between them, and for last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund.
The quartet will hoping to draw inspiration from the performances of the four away teams in last week’s ties, all of whom won without conceding a single goal.
Match of the day
Zenit St Petersburg-Borussia Dortmund, Tuesday, Petrovski Stadium
The Germans have yet to rekindle the form that took them to last season’s final, their latest stumble coming on Saturday, when they went down 3-0 to Hamburg in the Bundesliga. Coach Jurgen Klopp has major injury problems, with Sven Bender, Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan and Jakub Blaszczykowski all out of action, and is relying heavily on the continuing threat posed up front by Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Currently fighting it out for the Russian title with four Moscow clubs, Zenit set a new record in reaching the last 16 with a haul of only six points and five goals. Nevertheless Luciano Spalletti’s side are a tough proposition at home, where they have remained unbeaten since losing 3-2 to AC Milan in October 2012.
The other matches
Tuesday 25 February
While the Greek side have all but sealed another league title, Manchester United have been finding it hard to adjust to life without Sir Alex Ferguson in the dugout, though they performed impressively enough in the group phase, qualifying unbeaten. The English champions have won all four of their previous meetings with Olympiakos, whose record against English sides reads 11 defeats in 11 games. The Greeks will need to watch out for United dangerman Wayne Rooney, who marked his 300th Premier League match at the weekend with a stunning strike against Crystal Palace.
Wednesday 26 February
Schalke 04-Real Madrid
This is the first time these two sides have met in the competition. Real are on a high, having reached the knockout phase for a tournament-record 17th time in a row. They have also been in superb form since the start of the year, even managing to impress without the services of Cristiano Ronaldo, the scorer of nine goals in the group phase. What is more, Madrid have found the back of the net on each of their last 21 appearances in the competition, though their record against German clubs is far from perfect, with 22 wins, 20 defeats and ten draws. Bundesliga sides have also ended their European runs in the last two seasons, with Bayern accounting for them in the semi-finals in 2012 and Borussia knocking them out at the same stage last season.
Quarter-finalists last season, the Turkish giants are on the prowl again this year. The two sides last faced off in 2000, when Chelsea won 1-0 and 5-0, while their coach Jose Mourinho has won all four of his meetings with Gala boss Roberto Mancini. Adding a little extra spice to what is sure to be a typically white-hot atmosphere at the Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi is the reunion between the Blues and Didier Drogba, who helped them lift the Champions League in 2012.
Players to watch
The scorer of 18 goals in 47 matches for Galatasaray and 63 in 100 appearances for Côte d’Ivoire, the 35-year-old Drogba is not the only African goalscoring legend who will be on show when Galatasaray entertain Chelsea. Lining up against him will be Samuel Eto’o, three years his junior, and who has notched eight goals in 27 matches for the Londoners and 55 in 113 outings with Cameroon. Drogba is the leading African goalscorer in the UEFA Champions League with 42 goals, while Eto’o has amassed 29 in the competition.
40 years and 88 days: the age of Manchester United wide man Ryan Giggs. Should he feature against Olympiakos on Tuesday, the Welshman will become the oldest player ever to take part in the competition. The current record holder is Alessandro Costacurta, who was 40 years and two days old when he played for AC Milan against Barcelona in the semi-finals in 2006.
What they said
“I work hard, and then at the end of training I stay on with [Zinedine] Zidane to work on different aspects of my game such as finishing and flick-ons. My objective this season is to win the lot,” Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema.
Have your say
How many away wins will there be this week?