The Champions League talking points ahead of the remaining second-leg matches in the round of 16 on Tuesday and Wednesday:
REAL MADRID VS. ATALANTA (first leg: 1-0)
Karim Benzema is back in top form after an injury-enforced absence, giving Real Madrid extra strike power against Atalanta. Benzema scored three goals in his two matches since returning to the squad, including two that gave Madrid a 2-1 win over Elche in the Spanish league on Saturday. Madrid will also have captain Sergio Ramos available for Tuesday’s match following a long injury absence that ended in the game against Elche. Left back Marcelo may also return after an injury layoff. Atalanta has won all its European matches away from home this season, including a 2-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield. Coach Gian Piero Gasperini has almost a full squad available, although defender Remo Freuler is suspended following his red card in the first leg. Atalanta has won three of its last four matches in Serie A since the first-leg loss to Madrid.
Manchester City is running away with the Premier League title but Gladbach is in a tailspin after losing all of its six games since the Feb. 15 announcement that coach Marco Rose is joining Borussia Dortmund next season. Just like the first leg, this game will be played in Budapest, Hungary, because of German restrictions on travel from Britain during the COVID-19 pandemic. City is 14 points clear in the Premier League and can focus on trying to win the Champions League for the first time.
BAYERN MUNICH VS. LAZIO (4-1)
The defending European champions are all but assured of a place in the quarterfinals after a dominant performance in the first leg in Rome. Robert Lewandowski scored Bayern’s first goal in that game and he’s been in strong form in the three Bundesliga games since then with six goals. The one downside for Bayern ahead of Wednesday’s game is a less-than-stellar defensive record, with at least one goal conceded in each of its last six games following the Club World Cup final last month. Lazio has conceded seven goals in the three matches it has played since the first leg. It lost two of those matches and only managed a narrow 3-2 win over bottom club Crotone in its last outing. Forward Ciro Immobile, the European Golden Shoe winner last year, has failed to find the back of the net in his past six appearances.
CHELSEA VS. ATLETICO MADRID (1-0)
This is a rarity — a Champions League home game being played in England by a Premier League team. German teams couldn’t travel to Manchester or Liverpool, but Atlético is able to go to London without having to quarantine on its return to Madrid. Thomas Tuchel heads into the game enjoying a 12-game unbeaten start as Chelsea manager but the team is still only just clinging onto fourth place in the Premier League. Atlético is top in Spain but has been struggling recently, with its once-comfortable league lead dwindling in recent weeks. Atlético has drawn two of its four matches since the first-leg loss to Chelsea in February, and coach Diego Simeone will have to concentrate on keeping the team’s spirits high entering the match in London.
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