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Previewing UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second batch of opening matches

The second slate of Round of 16 matches is coming up as some world powerhouses face off against each other in Champions League play.

Chelsea v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 is all set, and the second handful of matches kick off on Tuesday the 23rd and Wednesday the 24th. Well have eight of the world’s best clubs going head-to-head looking for Champions League glory. Let’s take a quick look at each of the four matches taking place this week. All odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Atletico Madrid v. Chelsea, Tue, Feb 23, 3 p.m., TUDN

Atletico Madrid: +163
Chelsea: +195
Tie: +205

Chelsea will get a crack at redemption in this edition of the Champions League as they were knocked out by Bayern Munich in last year’s Round of 16 by an embarrassing 7-1 aggregate score line. The Blues have had a bit of trouble recently especially in league play when they went on a run that saw them only win once in six matches, falling to ninth place in the table and ending with head coach and club legend Frank Lampard being sacked in January. He was replaced by Thomas Tuchel and they’ll be looking to get past the Round of 16 for the first time since the 2013-14 season. Atletico Madrid, currently atop the La Liga table, made it to the quarterfinals last season after knocking off EPL giants Liverpool with a 4-2 aggregate, and will look to repeat that again this time around with Chelsea. The game will be played at a neutral site in Bucharest, Romania due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Lazio v. Bayern Munich, Tue, Feb 23, 3 p.m., TUDN

Lazio: +430
Bayern Munich: -177
Tie: +350

Lazio, with a giant hill to climb, will play host to last year’s UCL champions Bayern Munich who haven’t lost a Champions League match in their last 17 outings, their last loss coming at the hands of Liverpool in the second leg of their 2018-19 Round of 16 match-up. Lazio haven’t made it to the knockout stages since the 1999-2000 season, but this year is shaping up to be a good run for them after taking down both Borussia Dortmund and Zenit St. Petersburg in the group stage to finish second in Group F. Lazio striker Ciro Immobile is among the top scorers in UCL play so far this season, with five goals scored — tied with the likes of PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud. While it might look like everything’s coming up roses for Bundesliga leaders and last year’s Club World Cup winners Bayern Munich, Lazio will be looking to stage a massive upset.

Atalanta v. Real Madrid, Wed, Feb 24, 3 p.m., TUDN

Atlanta: +160
Real Madrid: +155
Tie: +270

In another David versus Goliath-style matchup, Serie A’s sixth-place holders Atalanta will take on the UCL’s most storied club as they host Real Madrid in the first leg of their Round of 16 affair. This is only Atalanta’s second appearance in Champions League history. The first? Last year, when they advanced to the quarterfinals by eliminating Valencia on an 8-4 aggregate score in the Round of 16, but ultimately lost 2-1 to PSG in the next round. Real Madrid, with 13 UCL titles to their name, have exited in the Round of 16 for the last two seasons in a row, at the hands of Ajax in 2018-19, and Manchester City in 2019-20. To be honest, they had a relatively easy group stage this season drawing Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan, and Borussia Mönchengladbach, which led them to a smooth first-place Group B finish. Sitting second place in La Liga, they’ll be able to field superstars like Karim Benzema, Raphael Varane, Luka Modric, Ferland Mendy, and Vinicius Junior. While Atalanta doesn’t have nearly the recognizable names on their roster, they’re in a good run of form at the moment and could easily give Madrid a run for their money.

Borussia Mönchengladbach v. Manchester City, Wed, Feb 24, 3 p.m., TUDN

Borussia Mönchengladbach: +575
Manchester City: -250
Tie: +440

While Premier League-leaders Manchester City have seen plenty of Champions League action in their history, they’ve never actually won a title in all their years of qualification. They’ve made it to the quarterfinals for the last three seasons straight, but each time have been eliminated — twice by fellow Premier League opposition. City went undefeated in this year’s group stage, which wasn’t too much of a surprise as their competition was made up of FC Porto, Olympiacos, and Marseille. They’ll now turn their focus to German side Mönchengladbach, who sit in seventh place in the Bundesliga table and are making their first UCL appearance since the 2016-17 season. As seen in the betting odds, City are heavily favored to advance especially given the magnitude of talent they have on their roster with the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Joao Cancelo, and a seemingly never-ending list of household names. Gladbach have been lethal at times in recent play though, as they’ve knocked off both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in league play and will be itching to do the same against the EPL giants in Champions League play.