The Champions League is back – here’s what you need to know
The gloom of winter is slowly but surely fading into the blossom of spring, and you can almost hear that iconic and spine-tingling music once again. Yes, on Tuesday, the Champions League returns.
Some 16 teams remain in the hunt to win Europe’s top club competition, including the Premier League trio of Arsenal, Manchester City and of course, Leicester City.
We have eight thrilling last-16 contests to enjoy over the next month, but for now we’re focusing on next week’s quartet.
First up on Tuesday night is Benfica versus Dortmund, and Paris Saint-Germain against Barcelona.
We make Dortmund favourites to win in Portugal at 6/4, but BvB have lacked a cutting edge in recent weeks, and are well off the pace in the Bundesliga title race.
Benfica meanwhile, are leading the Primeira Liga and have lost just two of their last 32 competitive games at the Estadio da Luz. We say there’s plenty of value in a home win at 9/5.
But of course the main attention will be the clash at the Parc des Princes.
After a slow start PSG are unbeaten in their last 10 and haven’t suffered defeat at home in their last 25 fixtures. That could make them worth backing at 23/10, with Barca failing to win four of their last eight away games.
The two sides are no strangers however, having met six times in this competition since 2012. And with 21 goals in those clashes, 0-0 looks unlikely.
Now, onto Wednesday. And for what feels like the millionth time, Arsenal will meet Bayern Munich.
Having lost to Watford and Chelsea in recent weeks, the timing couldn’t be much worse for Arsene Wenger’s men.
If there’s any hope for the Gunners, it’s that they should know Bayern inside out by now, and the Bundesliga giants don’t seem to be quite as devastatingly clinical as in seasons gone by.
The other positive is that the Londoners have the away leg first, but at 5/1, victory at the Allianz Arena looks a tall order.
Finally, it’s Real Madrid versus Napoli, and this really should be one to watch.
While the Italian side topped a relatively weak group, Real were beaten into second by Dortmund, having drawn three of their games.
And Napoli have really clicked into gear since the Autumn. With 55 goals, Gli Azzurri are among the top scorers in any European league this season.
Madrid meanwhile have stuttered since their unbeaten run came to an end, and with Gareth Bale injured and Karim Benzema failing to score in recent weeks, the onus falls on Cristiano Ronaldo.
But this game won’t be all about the Galacticos, for in Dries Mertens, Napoli boast arguably the most potent striker on the continent right now.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing