Game-by-Game Guide to Europa League Last 16 Ties

Mikhail TurnerContributor IIIFebruary 22, 2013

Game-by-Game Guide to Europa League Last 16 Ties

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    The Europa League Round of 16 ties begin March 7, and Bleacher Report is bringing you a game-by-game guide of each tie.

    There will be a new team lifting the trophy this season, as last season's winners, Atletico Madrid, have been knocked out.

    Each of the top leagues in Europe has representation in the last 16 with the EPL leading the way with three teams. Russia also has three teams in the last 16.

    Italy has two sides in the competition, while France, Spain and Germany have one team each.

    Turkey, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Switzerland and Romania each have one team as well.

    The Round of 32 provided some interesting results, and that is sure to continue when this round begins.

    Here is our game-by-game guide to the Europa League Round of 16 ties.

Viktoria Plzen vs. Fenerbache

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    How They Got Here

    Viktoria Plzen topped a group that included last season's winners Atletico Madrid with a record of four wins, one draw and one loss.

    The Czech side scored 11 goals and conceded four during that time. The knockout rounds saw them dominate Napoli to the tune of 5-0 over both legs.

    Fenerbache also finished first in their group games and with a similar record to the Czech side. They scored 10 goals and conceded 7 in the group stages.

    The Turkish side squeezed past BATE Borisov in their first knockout tie. 

     

    Key Players

    Viktoria Plzen - David Limbersky, Daniel Kolar, Vladimir Darida

    Fenerbache - Moussa Sow, Mehmet Topal, Dirk Kuyt

     

    Expected Winner

    This will certainly be a tight encounter, but Viktoria Plzen's form in the competition so far gives them the edge.

    Fenerbache can count on experienced heads like Dirk Kuyt and Mehmet Topal to possibly pull the balance in their favor.

Benfica vs. Bordeaux

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    How They Got Here

    Benfica came in third in their Champions League group with Barcelona and Celtic progressing.

    Bayer Leverkusen was their opponent in the first knockout round, and the Portuguese side came out 3-1 winners on aggregate.

    Bordeaux finished first in their group with a record of four wins, one draw and one loss.

    Dynamo Kyiv presented a tough challenge in the knockout round, but Bordeaux came out 2-1 winners.

     

    Key Players

    Benfica - Ezequiel Garay, Nicolas Gaitan, Oscar Cardozo

    Bordeaux - Ludovic Obraniak, Jaroslav Plasil, Carlos Henrique

     

    Expected Winner

    Benfica has plenty of experience in Europe's top competitions, and while Bordeaux has talented players, the Eagles will triumph.

Anzhi Makhachkala vs. Newcastle

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    How They Got Here

    Anzhi Makhachkala was second best in their group, as Liverpool had the better head-to-head record when the two met.

    An intriguing tie against Hannover 96 turned out pretty comfortably for the Russian side, as they progressed with an aggregate score of 4-2.

    Newcastle also placed second in their group with a record of two wins, three draws and one loss. 

    The Toon were rewarded with another trip to eastern Europe after narrowly defeating Metalist Kharkiv 1-0 over both legs

     

    Key Players

    Anzhi Makhachkala - Samuel Eto'o, Lassana Diarra, Jucilei

    Newcastle - Tim Krul, Yohan Cabaye, Papiss Cisse

     

    Expected Winner 

    This is one of the ties of the round, and there will be plenty of action. Anzhi Makhachkala seem slight favourites at the moment.

    Newcastle has looked a bit better in the Premier League since the start of the year, but another trip to Eastern Europe may prove costly.

    The English side will be focusing on a resurgence in the Premier League, and that will be another distraction.

Stuttgart vs. Lazio

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    How They Got Here

    Stuttgart scraped through to the second round after beating out Copenhagen on their head-to-head record.

    A tie against Belgian side Genk was dealt with comfortably, as Stuttgart ran out 3-1 winners.

    Lazio topped their group with an undefeated record that included three wins and three draws.

    They came out on top of a high-scoring knockout tie with Borussia Monchengladbach, scoring three key away goals and winning on an aggregate score of 5-3.

     

    Key Players

    Stuttgart - William Kvist, Martin Harnik, Serdar Tasci

    Lazio - Miroslav Klose, Hernandes, Stefan Radu

     

    Expected Winner

    Lazio has been playing well this season both domestically and in Europe. The Italian side are the favourites heading into the tie.

Tottenham vs. Inter

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    How They Got Here

    Tottenham came in second place in their group with an undefeated record of two wins and four draws.

    A close-fought tie against Lyon saw away goals become key, as Spurs grabbed one in France to seal their progression. The aggregrate score of that tie was 3-2.

    En route to second place in their group, Inter scored 11 goals and conceded nine in six games. 

    They fared much better against CFR Cluj, however, as they brushed aside the Romanian team with an aggregate score of 5-0.

     

    Key Players

    Tottenham - Gareth Bale, Jermain Defoe, Moussa Dembele

    Inter - Javier Zanetti, Fredy Guarin, Antonio Cassano

     

    Expected Winner

    Gareth Bale will have fun memories of playing against Inter in the Champions League.

    There is no Maicon this time around, but with Bale leading the way, Tottenham are favorites in the tie of the round.

Levante vs. Rubin Kazan

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    How They Got Here

    After a fantastic season in Spain during 2011/12, Levante has made the best of their European journey.

    The Spanish side placed second in their group and then trounced Champions League entrants Olympiakos 4-0 over both legs.

    Rubin Kazan came through their group games unscathed with a record of four wins and two draws.

    The Russian side then defeated last year's winner Atletico Madrid 2-1 on aggregate, with both sides scoring their goals away from home.

     

    Key Players

    Levante - Sergio Ballesteros, Obafemi Martins, Vicente Iborra

    Rubin Kazan - Salvatore Bocchetti, Salomon Rondon, Carlos Eduardo

     

    Expected Winner

    This is one of the more intriguing matches in the Round of 16. Rubin Kazan have the edge, as they have shown their ability to win against a Spanish side.

    Almost shutting down Radamel Falcao shows their strength in defense as well.

Basel vs. Zenit St. Petersburg

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    How They Got Here

    Basel came through their group in second place with a record of two wins, three draws and one loss.

    They defeated Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 3-1 on aggregate to progress.

    Zenit St. Petersburg were bounced out of the Champions League, as Malaga and Milan beat them to a knockout-round spot.

    The Russian side brushed off disappointment to defeat Liverpool with a key away goal giving them the spoils. The aggregate score was 3-3.

     

    Key Players

    Basel - Marco Streller, Philipp Degen, Cabral

    Zenit St. Petersburg - Danny, Aleksandr Kerzhakov, Hulk 

     

    Expected Winner

    Zenit St. Petersburg has all the qualities necessary to make a long run in the competition.

    After disappointing in the Champions League, they will be looking to pick up silverware in Europe with the Europa League.

Steaua Bucharest vs. Chelsea

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    How They Got Here

    Romanian side Steaua Bucharest finished first in their group but conceded nine goals in their six games.

    They then went on to shock Ajax by overturning a 2-0 deficit at home and winning the tie on penalties.

    Chelsea were embarrassed in the Champions League and finished second to Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus. 

    They scraped past Sparta Prague with an aggregate score of 2-1 in their first knockout tie.

     

    Key Players

    Steaua Bucharest - Raul Rusescu, Vlad Chiriches, Alexandru Bourceanu

    Chelsea - Juan Mata, Ashley Cole, Petr Cech

     

    Expected Winner

    Anything short of silverware will be a disappointment for Chelsea.

    They will not face any easy games but have a Champions League-caliber squad and should progress from this round.