The second leg of the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League round of 16 is underway, with four teams having already qualified for the quarterfinals and four spots still up for grabs.
Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain all advanced with relative ease, making the top seeds a perfect 4-for-4.
In the remaining ties, Premier League leaders Chelsea will host Galatasaray, Schalke 04 will travel to the Bernabeu to take on Real Madrid, Manchester United will have to mount a comeback to defeat Olympiacos and last year's finalists Borussia Dortmund host Zenit St Petersburg.
TV Info and Live Stream: Sky Sports and ITV Sport are the official partners of UEFA, and all of the action will be available for streaming on your mobile device. The ITV Player can be downloaded directly, while the Sky Go app requires a subscription.
Chelsea vs. Galatasaray (1-1)
Tuesday, March 18, ITV
Thanks to a vital away goal at the Turk Telekom Arena, the hosts will be going into this tie with a slight advantage. If the Blues can go 90 minutes without conceding, the team will qualify for the quarterfinals.
Jose Mourinho will be expecting more from his team though, and a surprise defeat at the hands of Aston Villa in the Premier League has the team struggling for confidence. With a game against fellow title contenders Arsenal on the horizon, a good performance against the Turkish champions is needed.
The big storyline is the return of Didier Drogba to Stamford Bridge. The Ivorian striker spent the best part of his career playing for Chelsea, and fans will be giving their former hero a warm welcome:
Can't wait to see drogba on Tuesday 👍— Adam Creasy (@adamcreasy23) March 16, 2014
Galatasaray haven't lost a game since November, and the Turks will have no intention of just rolling over. With Chelsea coming off an emotional defeat to Villa and already looking ahead at the vital game against Arsenal, an upset could be in the making.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Galatasaray
Real Madrid vs. Schalke 04 (6-1)
Tuesday, March 18, Sky Sports 1
As reported by ESPN FC, the Bundesliga outfit is facing quite a rough stretch of games:
Poor Schalke, facing arguably 2 best teams in the world in Real Madrid & Bayern Munich back-to-back games, losing by combined score of 10-1.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 1, 2014
Real completely obliterated Schalke the last time these teams met, making the return game all but a formality. Crazier things have happened in football, but the chances of a German qualification in this tie are virtually nonexistent.
But with an all-important Clasico against Barcelona just a few days later, Real will most likely be giving some of its starters a rest, opening the door for Schalke to at least avoid another embarrassment.
Prediction: Real 1-1 Schalke
Borussia Dortmund vs. Zenit St Petersburg (4-2)
Wednesday, March 19, Sky Sports 4
Similar to Real, Dortmund took care of business on their trip to Russia and shouldn't have any problems dispatching Zenit in the return game. The Russians have been on a terrible run lately, culminating in the sacking of coach Luciano Spalletti, as shared by FootballFacts 101:
Zenit St Petersburg have sacked coach Luciano Spalletti a week before their Champions League last-16 second leg against Borussia Dortmund.— FootballFacts101 (@FootballFact101) March 11, 2014
The Russian league is just restarting after a long winter break, and the players are understandably struggling with their form. This is a club in turmoil, and even though Dortmund themselves are going through a rough patch right now, this match shouldn't pose too many problems.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 4-1 Zenit St. Petersburg
Manchester United vs. Olympiacos (0-2)
Wednesday, March 19, Sky Sports 1
Following the North West Derby loss to Liverpool, David Moyes needs to win this game. It's that simple.
Morale at the club is at an all-time low, and fans have lost all faith in the current manager. Tweets like this one have become a regular thing:
The club should just suspend Moyes and appoint a new manager for the Olympiacos game, save whatever is left of the season— Mata of life (@MicBek) March 16, 2014
As The Guardian's Daniel Taylor put it, Moyes should consider himself lucky he still has a job:
For Manchester United and David Moyes, there is probably only one redeeming feature and it is that the club's supporters have not been tempted into open mutiny. Not yet anyway. Even now, outplayed by their oldest rivals and drifting further into mediocrity, the frustration and anger manifested itself only in a loud, defiant show of support. Moyes is a lucky man. At another club, they would be hounding him out by now.
Losing to Liverpool is always tough, and the players will have to move on from the loss in a hurry. Qualification for the UCL quarterfinals is the only glimmer of hope fans have left.
But Olympiacos have hardly skipped a beat since losing striker Konstantinos Mitroglou in the January transfer window, and the Greek champions have to be feeling good about their chances.
A trip to Old Trafford is a daunting prospect, but if there was ever a time for an upset, this would be the season. And the way this season has gone for the Red Devils, losing out on qualification against an inferior opponent seems almost like a foregone conclusion.
Prediction: Manchester United 3-1 Olympiacos, Olympiacos advance on aggregate.