The Champions League makes its welcome return this coming week as the leading teams in Europe look to taking a step closer to the quarterfinals. This week's games will be headlined by Atletico Madrid hosting Liverpool, and Paris Saint-Germain travelling to Borussia Dortmund.
Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool
Throughout the Diego Simeone era, Atletico Madrid have been competitive on the European stage. They have reached the final on two previous occasions, but this team isn’t at the same level as the ones of years gone by. Liverpool will head to Spain as the favourites, as they look to win at the Wanda Metropolitano for the second time in less than a year.
Liverpool’s last success in the stadium came in the Champions League final back in June 2019 as they held off Tottenham Hotspur. The Premier League title has been the key target for Jurgen Klopp and his team this season, but with that already looking sewn up, they may switch their focus to becoming only the second team in the modern era to regain their Champions League trophy.
Atletico will be hoping to improve on their recent outing, as they could only draw 2-2 at Valencia. However, their performances in the group stages of this competition may highlight that they are still a force. The Spanish side only lost twice in the group stages, and won on three occasions. However, like in the league, their biggest problem has been scoring goals as they only managed eight in the group phase.
Klopp’s side are still the team to beat in the Champions League. They have only lost two games in all competitions this season, with one of those coming against Napoli in the CL group stage. Liverpool will see a draw in Madrid as a good result, and that could mean that gamblers could place a bet on that outcome.
Borussia Dortmund vs Paris Saint-Germain
The Champions League remains the one trophy that PSG haven’t been able to get their hands on. Their performances when the competition reaches this stage have always flattered to deceive, as they have given away big leads in the first legs in each of the last three years. Their defeat last season against Manchester United in Paris highlighted that something needed to change at the club.
Their summer signings of Ander Herrera and Idrissa Gueye have solved a problem in midfield, and they no longer look to have the same weak structure which has been their downfall in recent seasons. They would have taken pride from the group stages, as they managed to top a group that also included Real Madrid. Furthermore, they didn’t taste defeat during that phase, as they managed to draw and beat Real Madrid in the two games that they played them.
PSG scored 17 goals in the group phase, but it was their defensive record that highlighted their newfound strength. The French champions have only conceded two goals in the competition so far, but they will be tested when they come up against the Dortmund forward line.
Borussia Dortmund have been one of the most exciting teams in Europe to watch so far this season. Their strength is certainly in their attacking play, with players such as Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland, and Marco Reus all looking menacing. However, there are concerns over whether their weakness in defence will be the factor that ultimately costs them as they have already conceded eight goals in this competition. Dortmund have been renowned for their weak defence since the arrival of Lucien Farve, and that could be the factor that lets them down over the two legs. Dortmund will score in their home game, but they will ultimately go out. Bettors will be expecting both teams to score in this fixture.