The UEFA Champions League returns to action despite the controversy caused by the spreading of corona-virus around Europe. The nations and clubs alike are taking precautions, but the games are set to be played as usual, with the 16 hopefuls aiming to knockout their counter-parts in the second issue of the 1st playoff-stage. While the first game seemed decisive in a couple of pairings, we have learnt not to make any assumptions regarding the two-leg-fixtures – there has been some remarkable comebacks as well as meltdowns in the near past.
The up-and-coming German new boys RB Leipzig have taken Bundesliga by storm and seem to be doing the same now on European level. They went on to London and got what they wanted, an away goal and a 0-1 win over Tottenham in the first fixture, making it remarkably easier to head into their home stadium on Tuesday. Spurs are in a tough spot, having to score at least a goal in order to secure an overtime and not allowing any. The visitors are still missing forwards Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane, rendering their offense rather toothless. The hosts’ talisman striker Timo Werner might be out with fitness concerns, but otherwise it looks like Leipzig’s game to lose.
Tuesday’s second outing sees two underdogs and dark horses take on each other, in what turned out to be a lopsided affair. La Liga stragglers Valencia got heavily beaten in the first fixture by Atalanta, who continued their excellent offensive display’s from Serie A by banging in a decisive 4-1 result at home. Valencia sure has their work cut out for them, but the away goal means they can secure their progress by winning 3-0 at Mestalla. Weirder things have happened, for sure?
On Wednesday, the games can’t get any better. The reigning UCL Champions Liverpool play host to Diego Simeone’s Atletico Marid, who dumbfounded their visitors in the first issue at Madrid by scraping a 1-0 win. Liverpool will have to at least match that in order to survive the first round, but hopes are high at Anfield after all but securing the domestic title.
Last but not least, star-studded PSG will host young, hungry and talented Dortmund in Paris, after the Germans took the spoils on home ground 2-1. PSG has some experience on comebacks, if on the wrong side of the surge, and the team is definitely all-in for the Champions League.
Valencia CF vs Atalanta (1×2): 2.77 – 3.95 – 2.35
Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid (1×2): 1.54 – 3.90 – 6.40
PSG vs Dortmund (1×2): 1.78 – 4.15 – 3.90