Photo: Cristiano Ronaldo will be hoping to help Juventus turn around a 0-1 deficit against Lyon in their return leg round of 16 game in the UEFA Champions League today. (Getty Images)
The remaining quarterfinalists of this season’s UEFA Champions League will be decided on Friday and Saturday, with four high profiled, round of sixteen games being played.
Dethroned English Premier League champions, Manchester City, will do battle with the newly crowned La Liga champions, Real Madrid in what is expected to be a blockbuster at the Etihad.
City go into the return leg with a slim, but valuable 2-1 advantage and will be determined to see off the challenge of Real, who fended off rivals Barcelona to snatch the domestic title last month.
For Pep Guardiola, victory is a must in a season that saw his side relinquish both the league title and the FA Cup, within days of each other. Manchester City have never won the Champions League and Pep will be desperate to change that at the club.
Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane will be anxious to add the Champions League trophy to the La Liga trophy and cap off a fine season. He will be hoping that his side can turn around the tie, despite playing away from home.
Italian champions Juventus will have the tough task of turning a 0-1 deficit against Lyon. Leading striker Cristiano Ronaldo was rested for the final game of the league season, after Juventus had already sewn up the title and should report fresh for the game.
Maurizio Sarri will be hoping to get his team into the final eight, but will be wary of an ambitious Lyon team.
Lyon finished only seventh in League 1, some 28 points off champions PSG, but will be desperate to remain in the competition. Their away form in Italy is less than impressive however, having lost 4 of their last five Champions League encounters in that country.
On Saturday, Lionel Messi and Barcelona will take on Napoli in the return leg of a tie that hangs in the balance, after their 1-1 draw in Naples.
Messi has clearly been left frustrated this season by the performance of the team with many believing that he questions the tactics of coach Quique Setien. After surrendering their title to rivals Real Madrid, the Catalan team must get by Napoli and advance to the quarterfinals.
After a disappointing seventh place finish is Serie A for Napoli, it would certainly be a boost to the club to pull of the upset over Barcelona and advance to the final eight, which will provide enough incentive for them.
German champions Bayern Munich thumped Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge back in March and will expect to close out the tie comfortably at the Allianz Arena.
Their top striker Robert Lewandowski, had been tipped to win the Ballon d’Or this year, before it was announced that it would not be awarded and being the leading scorer in Europe, he certainly poses a massive threat to Frank Lampard’s team. It would be deemed a massive failure for the German, League and Cup champions, not to advance from here.
For Chelsea, this uphill task will certainly test what is left in the tank of a team that looked jaded in the FA Cup final, which they lost 1-2 to Arsenal despite taking an early 1-0 lead at Wembley.
Speaking a few days after the final, Lampard pointed to the fatigue factor leading to hamstring injuries to two of his players, captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Christian Pulisic. With both players out of contention for the game, the depth of the Chelsea squad be tested on Saturday.