UEFA Champions League, Round of 16 Second Leg Previews

UEFA Champions League, Round of 16 Second Leg Previews

  • Posted by Geoff Reid
  • On March 15, 2011
  • Geoff Reid, UCL 2010/11

By Geoff Reid

Manchester United vs Marseille from Old Trafford, Manchester (0-0 on agg.)

This should be a very tense affair with the aggregate scores level and no goals scored. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson knows he’ll have to attack from the start to try and open things up, especially if Marseille sit back, and play on the counter attack. Beating Arsenal 2-0 on the weekend in the FA Cup should have given his players confidence after what has been a troubling few weeks with defeats to Chelsea and Liverpool. The good news for United is that Nani has made a quicker return then expected from his injury he picked up against Liverpool.

Marseille manager Didier Deschamps continues to be in awe of Manchester United and the job Sir Alex has done since 1986. The statistics do not favor the French side with United being unbeaten at home for 24 matches, and only conceded one goal in seven Champions League games this season. But with the aggregate score still at 0-0 and if Marseille can pick up an away goal, the tie should become much more open.

For the hosts, Antonio Valencia made his return from injury coming on in the second half against Arsenal. Also, center back Nemanja Vidic is expected to be fit for this encounter and will probably make the bench with Michael Owen, Rio Ferndinand, Park Ji-Sung, and Anderson are all ruled out. For the visiting side, Didier Deschamps has mostly a full squad to choose from with the only concerns coming from Mathieu Valbuena and Andre-Pierre Gignac who was subbed off of their last league game on Friday against Rennes.

Prediction: Manchester United 3-1 Marseille (United win 3-1 on agg.)

Bayern Munchen vs Inter Milan from the Allianz Arena, Munich (Bayern leads 1-0 on agg.)

This is a particularly interesting one not just because it’s a match-up between last season’s finalists, but what’s more intriguing is Bayern manager Louis van Gaal has come out publicly and said it’s his last season in charge of the Bavarian club, and he will step down at season’s end. How will the players react to that? To start with, they beat Hamburg 6-0 in the Bundesliga. It’s been an inconsistent season for the Bavarian giants not performing up to standard in the league, and being knocked out of the German cup, the Champions League is their last chance at silverware this season.

For Inter Milan manager Leonardo, he says his side will attack from the start, and do they really have any other choice? All Bayern need is a 0-0 draw to advance but it shouldn’t end up being that way. Lucky for the defending champions, striker Samuel Eto’o is hitting top form, and having already won the tournament twice in his career, he knows what it takes to win in these situations.

The hosts have a complete full squad to choose from for this one with the only exception being Ivica Olic who is out with a damaged cartilage. Danijel Pranjic, Mario Gomez, and Toni Kroos are all one yellow card away from suspension should Bayern advance. For Inter, Diego Milito and Walter Samuel are completely ruled out, while Lucio and Esteban Cambiasso are question marks and will have late fitness tests.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 2-1 Inter Milan (Bayern win 3-1 on agg.)