Two more UEFA Champions League Round of 16 ties kickoff Wednesday, including one being labeled as the biggest in a club’s existence.
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That would be Serie A side Atalanta, which hosts Valencia at 3 p.m. at Gewiss Stadium.
Atalanta had played in two consecutive Europa Leagues, but this is their first move into the Champions League. To make the knockout rounds is exceptional, and club president Antonio Percassi is fired up.
“We must be honest, this is the most important game in the history of this club,” Percassi told Sky Sport Italia. “It doesn’t seem real. It’s exciting just thinking that tomorrow we’ll be in a Champions League Round of 16. It’s wonderful for our fans too. … This is going to be a unique experience that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.”
Atalanta finished second in its group to Manchester City, and is fourth in Serie A. Valencia won its group.
There’s a Premier League side in action on Wednesday, too, as Spurs begin life without Heung-Min Son.
Jose Mourinho spun a tale about how badly Tottenham will need its fans against RB Leipzig, comparing the home-field advantage to an emergency rescue crew of sorts.
Leipzig is led by Julian Nagelsmann, who was once referred to as “Baby Mourinho” by his players.
The 32-year-old was quick to distance himself from the story.
“Tomorrow it is Leipzig against Tottenham, not Mourinho v. Baby Mourinho,” he said. “I have great respect for Mourinho. He has won lots of titles with big clubs, the Champions League twice. He has made his mark on European football at some big European clubs. I think it his 59th knockout game in the CL and it is my first so there is obviously respect there.”