Outsiders eye last-eight berths
© AFP

The only away team to lose the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round-of-16 tie, Manchester United will need to score three unanswered goals versus Olympiacos to progress to the quarter-finals in midweek.

Real Madrid, however, already have one foot in the next round, following their stunning 6-1 victory over Schalke. Elsewhere, an injury-hit Borussia Dortmund will defend a 4-2 first-leg lead when they take on Zenit St. Petersburg in germany, while Chelsea will rely on a strong home record in their attempt to see off Galatasaray, with whom they drew 1-1 in Istanbul.

The four winners will join holders Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid in the draw for the subsequent round, which will take place on Friday 21 March. At that stage of the competition, the draw will not be seeded and clubs from the same country will no longer be kept apart.

The first legs of the quarter-finals will be staged on Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 April, with the return matches scheduled for the following week (8 and 9 April).

The big match

Manchester United-Olympiacos (First leg: 0-2), Old Trafford, Wednesday 19 March, 20.45 CET

Manchester United will look to salvage a disappointing season by extending their Champions League adventure on Wednesday evening, but David Moyes’ men have a tough task ahead of them. Their opponents, Olympiacos, who emerged from the first-leg clash in Piraeus with a 2-0 win, have played well away from home this season and wrapped up their 41st Greek title over the weekend.

United can take some solace from the history books, as not only have they always got the better of Greek teams at Old Trafford, but Τhrylos have lost on all five of their previous visits to England.

The Red Devils have overcome a two-goal deficit at home in European competition on three previous occasions, against Athletic Bilbao, Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona, but have not yet secured a success on their own turf by three clear goals in this season’s Champions League.

The other games
Tuesday 18 March
Chelsea-Galatasaray (First-leg: 1-1)

Having already edged out Juventus in the group phase, Galatasaray need to prevail in England for the first time in their history to book their place in the last eight.

To do so, the Turks will require a solid defensive display, but they have conceded at least one goal in each of their last 16 Champions League encounters on the road, while Chelsea have scored at least once in their previous 16 home matches in Europe since April 2011.

On Tuesday, the Blues will compete in Europe for the 100th time at Stamford Bridge, and the 50th time in the UEFA Champions League knockout stage (18 victories, 18 draws, 13 defeats). Remarkably, Jose Mourinho has never been beaten by a side coached by Roberto Mancini.

Real Madrid-Schalke (First-leg: 6-1)
Humiliated at home by Los Blancos, Schalke will travel to Madrid with the aim of limiting the potential damage against their opponents’ fearsome attack, which has produced 26 goals in seven Champions League matches this campaign.

Wednesday 19 March
Borussia Dortmund-Zenit St. Petersburg (First-leg: 4-2)

Neither Dortmund and Zenit have their troubles to seek at they go into this crucial encounter. The Russian club, who dismissed coach Luciano Spalletti last week, are coming off the back of a 1-0 reverse versus CSKA Moscow, while Die Schwarzgelben have significant injury worries and suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach over the weekend.

One good omen for the German side is that they have never lost to a Russian outfit (four wins, one draw) in Europe.

The player
Robert Lewandowski does not appear to have let his impending move to Bayern Munich affect his performances for Borussia Dortmund. The 25-year-old striker, who has 17 Champions League goals to his name, is the only Borussia player to have appeared in all 26 of his team’s fixtures in Europe’s premier club tournament over the past three years. Furthermore, the Polish international has scored six goals and set up two more during his last six European matches.

The stat
5 – The number of clubs (Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid) that Carlo Ancelotti will have guided to the quarter finals of the Champions League, should Real qualify versus Schalke.

Barring a huge shock at the Bernabeu, the Italian tactician will move ahead of his old rival, Jose Mourinho, who has ‘only’ achieved the feat with four sides, namely Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.

What they said
“Anyone claiming that 2-0 will be enough for us to qualify is probably wrong. We’ve got a 2-0 lead over Manchester United, which means nothing,” Olympiacos coach Michel.

Have your say

How many English and German clubs will make it through to the quarter-final stage?