Manchester City host AS Monaco at the Etihad Stadium with Pep Guardiola knowing his shaky defense must stay strong against the leading scorers in France’s top-flight. Monaco have already come to England and beaten Tottenham Hotspur in the UCL group stage and under talented manager Leanardo Jardim the likes of Radamel Falcao looks fired up and ready to go.
That said, City have been much better in recent weeks and have shown their best form this season in the UCL. Remember, Pep has never failed to reach the semifinals of this competition as a manager. Quite the record.
Elsewhere Bayer Leverkusen welcome Atletico Madrid to the BayArena with Mexico’s Javier Hernandez back among the goals and aiming to give the Bundesliga outfit a lead to take with them to Madrid.
The runners up late season, Atleti are currently fourth in La Liga but Diego Simeone’s side have looked stellar in Europe this season once again as they finished above Bayern Munich to win their group. Expect a tense, tough game in Germany.
Click on the link above to follow live commentary on both games, while we will have reaction and analysis on all of the UCL knockout games here at Pro Soccer Talk.
Tuesday’s UCL Round of 16, first legs
Manchester City vs. AS Monaco – 2:45 p.m. ET
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Atletico Madrid – 2:45 p.m. ET
`Gladbach `keeper Yann Sommer pulled off a brilliant fingertip save to deny Marcel Sabitzer early on, but he was powerless to stop Forsberg from breaking the deadlock after half an hour played.
Sabitzer and Timo Werner played their way through the static `Gladbach defense and Werner laid the ball off for the Sweden midfielder to fire inside the bottom left corner.
The home side was given a lifeline when Marvin Compper brought down Lars Stindl and referee Felix Zwayer pointed to the spot, but Peter Gulacsi saved Thorgan Hazard‘s penalty before the break.
More poor defending allowed Werner grab the second 10 minutes after the break, firing inside the far post after Forsberg played him through.
Jannik Vestergaard pulled one back with a powerful header from a corner to set up an exciting finale. However, six minutes of injury time were not enough for an equalizer.
Leipzig had kicked off to a chorus of whistles from the home fans, who then mostly stayed silent till the 19th minute in protest against the visiting side. Huge banners in the north stand said “Traditional club since 1900” – an apparent protest against Leipzig, founded in 2009 when Austrian energy-drink billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz rebranded a fifth-tier team with his company’s livery before financing its steady promotion through the lower leagues.
COLOGNE 1, SCHALKE 1
Cologne stopped Schalke’s progress but the point was enough for the visiting side to overtake `Gladbach on goal difference in 10th.
Alessandro Schoepf got the visitors off to a flying start in the second minute with the help of the left post, and Leon Goretzka hit the post after half an hour with the home side still struggling to get into the game.
But Anthony Modeste equalized before the break with a fine strike inside the far post, and might even have scored again just minutes later, when his hesitation allowed Benedikt Hoewedes get back and clear.
Guido Burgstaller came closest to a winner for Schalke in the second half, his shot just wide of the far post after beating the goalkeeper.
Bundesliga: Bayern rescue draw late; Dortmund play for 25k fewer fans
Lewandowski rifled in the ball after Arjen Robben’s effort was blocked on the line, setting off celebrations cut short amid initial confusion over whether the goal stood.
Hertha had long been calling for the final whistle – five minutes of injury time were indicated – but Bayern’s last chance came when Peter Pekarik fouled Kingsley Coman on the edge of the penalty area. Thiago Alcantara sent the ball in for Robben to shoot. Lewandowski’s goal was eventually confirmed.
“A game lasts until the referee blows the whistle,” Hertha coach Pal Dardai said. “We’re disappointed. A win would not have been undeserved.”
It looked like Vedad Ibisevic’s first-half strike was going to be enough for Hertha to end its losing streak to Bayern with a hard-fought win.
Hertha had lost to Bayern in their previous 11 meetings, and captain Ibisevic hadn’t scored in seven league games, eight altogether.
The striker ended his 717-minute goal-drought to fire the home side ahead in the 21st minute when he was first to Marvin Plattenhardt’s free kick and beat Manuel Neuer at the near post.
Bayern, which routed Arsenal 5-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday, dominated but found it hard to penetrate Hertha’s hard-working defense. The home side remained compact, committed, and motivated.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side increased the pressure as the second half progressed but Bayern was forced from left to right and back again, occasionally sending in crosses that Rune Jarstein picked out or his defenders headed away and blocked until Lewandowski finally broke through.
“We ran to the end,” Bayern’s Thomas Mueller said. “We have the mentality.”
Hertha stayed sixth, while Bayern opened an eight-point lead over Leipzig, playing at Borussia Moenchengladbach on Sunday.
Bayer Leverkusen paid a visit to FC Augsburg and went home with three points thanks to a pair from Chicharito in a 3-1 victory.
The Mexican striker hit double-digit league goals for the seventh time in his career and second season in a row for Bayer as he bookended halftime with his brace.
Chicharito now has five goals in his last three Bundesliga matches, helping Bayer to its first winning streak in league play since early November. The erratic and inconsistent performances have left Leverkusen out of a Champions League place, four points away back in eighth place, but with Leipzig, Dortmund, and Frankfurt all slipping in recent weeks, a hot Chicharito gives his club hope.
With Bayer already up 1-0 thanks to a 23rd minute goal from Karim Bellerabi (the 50,000th goal in Bundesliga history), Chicharito’s first sliced up the Augsburg defense. Great work by Bellrabi to keep possession under heavy pressure allowed Lars Bender to complete a one-two with Chicharito, and the Little Pea did the rest, rendering Augsburg goalkeeper Marwin Hitz nothing more than a bumbling mess before poking home for a 2-0 lead.
Chicharito got his second in the 65th minute to complete the 3-1 scoreline, and Leverkusen got a much-needed win. In the midst of all that, Augsburg suffered defeat for the second straight match, leaving them back in 13th before the other teams begin the matchweek.