Spanish sides facing uphill tasks
Spain's UEFA Champions League contenders will have to dig deep to avoid elimination when the Round of 16 resumes on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Real Madrid and Valencia first up from a quartet that recorded one draw and three defeats in the first legs.
In contrast, Germany's finest managed one win and a pair of draws, despite all playing away from home, while the last two Italian clubs in the competition both emerged triumphant.
Juventus appear favourites to reach the quarter-finals thanks to their 3-0 win at Celtic in their opening instalment, and Paris Saint-Germain also look well-placed following their 2-1 success in Valencia. Dortmund will be similarly confident given their 2-2 first-leg draw at Shakhtar Donetsk, but few can be confident of predicting the outcome between Manchester United and Madrid. With the scoreline 1-1 and both European giants hungry for success, United still have plenty of work to do.
This week's fixtures
Tuesday 5 March
Manchester United-Real Madrid (first leg: 1-1)
Dortmund-Shakhtar Donetsk (first leg: 2-2)
Wednesday 6 March
Paris Saint-Germain-Valencia (first leg: 2-1)
Juventus-Celtic (first leg: 3-0)
Match of the day
Manchester United-Real Madrid, Old Trafford, Manchester, 20.45 CET
Tuesday's showdown at Old Trafford will turn heads across Europe and further afield – and not least because history suggests the winners could go on to lift the trophy. In three of the four previous ties between these sides the victors have ended the season savouring European glory. As things stand, runaway Premier League leaders United look best placed to advance thanks to their draw at the Santiago Bernabeu, especially since they have always clinched qualification following a 1-1 scoreline away from home in the first leg.
The first instalment has left Madrid vulnerable, but Jose Mourinho's men will be high on confidence after two wins against Barcelona in the space of five days, beating their arch-rivals 3-1 in the Copa del Rey ahead of a 2-1 La Liga triumph at the weekend. Cristiano Ronaldo played a leading role in both successes, spreading panic in the Barça rearguard and peppering the goal with thunderous strikes. Tuesday's match represents the Portuguese international's first return to Old Trafford since he left United, where he plundered 73 goals for the Premier League leaders. As a result, Ronaldo will be even more motivated than usual to impress – but Sir Alex Ferguson knows more about the livewire forward than most.
The other matches
Borussia Dortmund-Shakhtar Donetsk
The German champions are not invincible at home in the Champions League, having recorded 57 wins, 18 draws and 14 defeats, but they made a strong start to this tie by collecting a 2-2 draw in Ukraine despite missing several key players. They also remain unbeaten against Shakhtar, winning twice in addition to that stalemate, and racked up at least two goals in each of those previous meetings. As in the first leg, Robert Lewandowski will spearhead their attack, and the Polish marksman is in supreme form after notching a double against Hannover on Saturday, a haul which took his goals-per-game tally this season to 0.76. As for Shakhtar, they can rely on a settled line-up, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Fernandinho, Andrei Pyatov, Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Razvan Rat and captain Darijo Srna having contested every single minute of their team's Champions League campaign this term.
The bad news for Valencia is that only 13 sides out of 324 in the entire history of European club competition have gone through after losing a first leg 2-1 at home. The statistics therefore suggest that PSG have a 96 per cent chance of reaching the last eight, but Adil Rami's late strike in Spain will nonetheless have given Ernesto Valverde's men hope. So too will Zlatan Ibrahimovic's red card in that match, which means that he will miss the return encounter along with Marco Verratti, who picked up a booking and a suspension at the Mestalla. Valencia still have a mountain to climb, however, with PSG unbeaten in their last 22 home encounters in Europe and boasting a squad rich in options.
Only one side has ever managed to recover from a 3-0 first-leg defeat on home soil in European club football, and that was Dinamo Bucharest in a UEFA Europa League play-off tie in 2009/10. The Romanian outfit downed Slovan Liberec 9-8 on penalties after wiping out their heavy deficit, but, despite that result, the statistics suggest that Celtic have just a 0.6 per cent chance of progress. Complicating their task, the Scottish hopefuls will be travelling to Italy without captain Scott Brown and defender Mikael Lustig.
Player to watch
At 37 years of age, PSG midfielder David Beckham is likely to mark his return to the Champions League on Tuesday after a three-year absence from the competition. His last outing at this level came on 10 March 2010, also at the last-16 stage, when he suffered a 4-0 loss at former club Manchester United in the colours of AC Milan – whose coach at the time was current PSG sporting director Leonardo. As for his last goal in Europe's leading club tournament, that came on 19 October 2005 when he helped Madrid overcome Rosenborg 4-1 at home during the group stage. "I came [to PSG] knowing the situation," explained Beckham. "If I get to start, that's great, and if I'm on the bench, that's great too. It's been a long time since I last played in the Champions League, so I'm pretty excited."
1,000 – Rested by Sir Alex Ferguson on Saturday, Welsh veteran Ryan Giggs is expected to contest the 1,000th match of his career when Manchester United tackle Madrid. The 39-year-old is still going strong and has just signed a new one-year contract with the Red Devils, for whom he has played 931 games since making his professional debut on 2 March 1991. In that time, he has amassed a superb array of honours, including 12 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, four English League Cups, two Champions League crowns, a FIFA Club World Cup and an Intercontinental Cup.
What they said
"Winning a tenth Champions League title mustn't be an obsession because that won't help us. It remains an important target, though," Xabi Alonso, Real Madrid midfielder.
Have your say
Will there be a Spanish club in the quarter-finals?