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Champions League Fixtures 2014: Breaking Down Remaining Round of 16 Clashes

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Champions League Fixtures 2014: Breaking Down Remaining Round of 16 Clashes
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Wednesday night's Champions League last 16 fixtures saw wins for defending champions Bayern Munich away to Arsenal and joint La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid away to AC Milan.

Tuesday night saw Barcelona win comfortably away to 10-man Manchester City. Goals from Lionel Messi and Dani Alves showed the Catalan side means business in this year's competition.

Paris Saint-Germain also made a statement of intent by thrashing Bayer Leverkusen, 4-0, with star man Zlatan Ibrahimovic lashing in a shot worthy of any Golazo collection.

Next week sees another eight teams take to the field in their bids to lift the coveted Champions League trophy. Here we break down the remaining round of 16 clashes to show the matchups that will make or break the clubs' seasons.

Champions League Round of 16 Remaining Fixtures
Tuesday, Feb. 25 Zenit St Petersburg KO: 17:00 GMT Borussia Dortmund
Olympiakos KO: 19:45 GMT Manchester United
Wed. Feb. 26 FC Schalke 04 KO: 19:45 GMT Real Madrid
Galatasaray KO: 19:45 GMT Chelsea

 

Zenit St Petersburg vs. Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund will not relish the prospect of a trip to Russia, particularly with the injury worries currently afflicting their squad. 

Manager Jurgen Klopp is currently without key midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who has a long-term back injury, via BBC Sport. Stars Marco Reus and Sven Bender are also missing from the squad after picking up respective injuries in Dortmund's last Bundesliga match, according to the club's official website.

Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Add to that list the names of Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic and Jakub Blaszczykowski, and Klopp has a real selection headache for the Zenit St Petersburg match.

Zenit St Petersburg are lucky to be in the last 16. They qualified from their group with just six points, a record low in the Champions League, per via Goal.com. Injury to Danny has increased manager Luciano Spalletti's reliance on Hulk to score the goals. Worryingly, he has been inconsistent and often fails to deliver in the final third.

Zenit also face the prospect of playing in a half-empty stadium, after UEFA ordered them to close a section of their home ground after racist chanting from fans in the group stage, as ESPN reported.

A bright point for Zenit comes in the form of Axel Witsel. The buccaneering midfielder will take the game to Dortmund and could dominate the match with so many of the German side's stars missing.

 

Olympiakos vs. Manchester United

Manchester United's problems this season have been reported on extensively. They sit seventh in the Premier League and are out of the FA Cup. The Champions League remains their last chance of silverware, but manager David Moyes will have to hope for a miracle if United are to win it.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

The biggest question will be over Juan Mata's return to Champions League football. He is yet to fire on all cylinders in the Premier League, although that could be due to the scarcity of talent around him. Now that forwards Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are fit, Moyes will need his Spanish playmaker on top form to supply them.

Olympiakos go into the fixture enjoying much stronger league form than United. They are currently in first place after 25 matches, winning 23 of them. But the confidence gathered through this excellent form could take a knock with Olympiakos also ordered to close part of their stadium due to racism from fans, via ESPN.

EuroFootball/Getty Images

Olympiakos manager Michel says his side does not fear United. As reported on Goal.com, he said:

We are very pleased that we are in this draw, we could not ask for anything more. We know what is happening right now. It's a celebration of football for us, even more so to visit a mythical football ground such as Old Trafford.

And keep an eye on Olympiakos goalkeeper Roy Carroll. The 36-year-old Northern Irishman will take on Manchester United after leaving Old Trafford in 2007. Could he be the hero, or will one of his infamous blunders gift United a goal?

 

FC Schalke vs. Real Madrid

FC Schalke and Real Madrid meet each other for the first time in this mouth-watering matchup.

The stats are intriguing. Real Madrid were top scorers in the Champions League group stage. The Spanish giants fired in 20 goals, with talisman Cristiano Ronaldo finding the net on nine occasions.

Ronaldo's nine group-stage goals are a Champions League record, and the Portuguese even thumped in a hat-trick on the opening matchday against Galatasaray, via Sam Cunningham of The Daily Mail. Ronaldo was sent off in La Liga earlier this month but will be available for the Schalke game, providing a boost to Carlo Ancelotti's lineup.

However, despite the power Madrid possess, they have a woeful record in Germany. Of the 25 visits to German opposition, Madrid have won just once, via UEFA.com. They were hammered 4-1 away to Borussia Dortmund in last season's semifinal first leg. The ghosts of German visits past will still haunt the Madrid players.

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Schalke are enjoying a bounce, having taken 12 points from their last four Bundesliga matches. But striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has warned his teammates against arrogance.

He told the clubs official website (h/t Goal.com), "When you win several games in a row everyone's always relaxed and satisfied. We have to keep going now. The players have come closer together recently and are united."

Huntelaar is a former Madrid player, so victory against his old club would be extra sweet. He could be without teammate Julian Draxler, though, who has only just returned to light training after injury. Against opposition of Madrid's calibre, the midfield talents of Draxler will be missed.

 

Galatasaray vs. Chelsea

This fixture just had to happen. Didier Drogba of Galatasaray is reunited with his former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho in what promises to be a tricky away trip for the West London club.

Chelsea top the Barclays Premier League, but by just one point. The stresses of both clinging onto his league position while progressing in Europe would perhaps be too much for any other manager. For Jose Mourinho, however, this is the sort of challenge he lives for.

Chelsea's only previous visit to Galatasaray ended in a 5-0 win for the English club, via UEFA.com. It would be difficult to predict such a comprehensive victory this time around, with the Turkish side now boasting serious European campaigners in their ranks. 

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Galatasaray's Wesley Sneijder is another former Mourinho player, winning the Champions League with the Portuguese at Inter Milan in 2010. Sneijder claims he does not fear his old manager, via Nick Lustig of The Daily Star:

I really wasn't that bothered about who we was going to face in the draw. ... We know what we have to do beat Chelsea and don't fear them. ... After all we had reached the last-16 of the most elite club competition in world football so whoever you face deserves to be there.

With Chelsea gunning for their third European title in three years, it would be difficult to bet against Mourinho progressing to the quaterfinals.

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