This week sees the second set of fixtures in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg stage, with the eight teams that didn’t play last week playing their first leg ties this. In the Europa League on Thursday night, we see all 32 remaining teams in the competition in action as they contest the second leg of their Europa League Round of 32 ties.

Two of the three English teams in the Champions League get their first leg ties played this week with Chelsea heading to Spain to face La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid, while Manchester City head to Germany to take on Borussia Monchengladbach, a team that have reached the final of this competition in the 1970s.

In the Europa League, Leicester City, Manchester United, Rangers, Tottenham and Arsenal will all play their second leg ties this week, with none of the British teams going into the second leg behind in their tie and three of them enjoying advantages heading into the second legs.

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Let’s now take a closer look at the games this week and what bets I would be making on each set of matches in both competitions.

Champions League Round of 16 First Leg

  • Tue 23rd Feb – Atletico Madrid v Chelsea

  • Tue 23rd Feb – Lazio v Bayern Munich

Tuesday’s games are very interesting with Chelsea facing a tough trip to Spain to take on an in-form Atletico Madrid, where Luis Suarez is showing his quality once again. Chelsea’s form under Thomas Tuchel though has been much improved so they will be a real threat on the counter.

The second game sees current Champions League holders Bayern Munich travel to Italy to face a Lazio side in decent form of late with just two defeats in their last ten games in all competitions. Bayern are not in the best form, having drawn and lost their last two Bundesliga games.

  • Wed 24th Feb – Atalanta v Real Madrid

  • Wed 24th Feb – Borussia Monchengladbach v Manchester City

Real Madrid faces a tricky task in their game with Atalanta. The young Serie A side have been in great form the last couple of years, and I think there could be a potential for a surprise on the cards here against a Real side not as strong as it once was.

Manchester City take their 18-game unbeaten run on the road to Germany to face Monchengladbach in what should be, I feel, a chance for City to establish a solid result heading into the second leg in Manchester in three weeks’ time.

Our Top Betting Tips For The Champions League

  • Fourfold Accumulator – Atletico Madrid, Atalanta, Bayern Munich and Manchester City to win – 13.48/1 at bet365 (A £10 stake would return £134.80)
  • Win Double – Atletico Madrid to win and Atalanta to win – 5.37/1
  • Anytime Goalscorer – Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid) – 6/4
  • Anytime Goalscorer – Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) – 13/10
  • Manchester City to win and Both Teams to Score – 6/4

Europa League Round of 32 Second Legs

All the games outlined below are played on Thursday 25th February apart from the Tottenham v Wolfsberger game which is played on Wednesday night at 5pm.

  • Tottenham (4) v (1) Wolfsberger

  • Ajax (2) v (1) Lille

  • Arsenal (1) v (1) Benfica

  • Napoli (0) v (2) Granada

  • Rangers (4) v (3) Royal Antwerp

  • Shakhtar Donetsk (2) v (0) Maccabi Tel Aviv

  • TSG Hoffenheim (3) v (3) Molde

  • Villarreal (2) v (0) Red Bull Salzburg

  • AC Milan (2) v (2) Red Star Belgrade

  • Bayer Leverkusen (3) v (4) Young Boys

  • Club Brugge (1) v (1) Dynamo Kiev

  • Dinamo Zagreb (3) v (2) Krasnodar

  • Leicester City (0) v (0) Slavia Prague

  • Manchester United (4) v (0) Real Sociedad

  • PSV Eindhoven (2) v (4) Olympiakos

  • AS Roma (2) v (0) Braga

From the first leg it is easy to see what teams are in strong positions. Tottenham, Shakhtar Donetsk, Villarreal, Ajax, Dinamo Zagreb, Glasgow Rangers, Manchester United and AS Roma all have registered solid wins in their away leg of the competition, and it would take something of a surprise for any of them to be ousted from the competition.

However, there are some games which see some teams facing an uphill battle to preserve their status in the competition. Napoli for example, face a huge task coming back from a 2-0 defeat away to Granada. PSV Eindhoven also have to claw back a two goal deficit after their 4-2 loss to Olympiakos in Greece.

Lille’s good away record in Europe means that they are not out of things despite a 2-1 home loss to Ajax last week, while Young Boys take a slender lead into their away game at Bayer Leverkusen knowing that they are likely going to have to score at least one goal to stand any chance of progressing.

Close Contests?

There are a number of games very delicately poised heading into the second leg with Arsenal v Benfica, AC Milan v Red Star Belgrade, Club Brugge v Dynamo Kiev, Hoffenheim v Molde and Leicester v Slavia Prague amongst them.

In terms of shock results from that group of games, I’d watch the Leicester match as Slavia have a pretty decent away record in European competition over the last few years, while Leicester’s home record in the Premier League is not the best.

Arsenal fans will also be reminded of the fact that Benfica have beaten them on home soil before to knock them out of European competition and the Gunners will be very keen to avoid a repeat of that happening again this week.

Our Top Betting Tips For The Europa League

  • Europa League Accumulator – Napoli, Villarreal, Dinamo Zagreb, Manchester United to win – 11.03/1.
  • Draw Double – Leicester v Slavia Prague and Rangers v Antwerp both to end in draws – 15.38/1.
  • Correct Score – Tottenham to win 2-0 – 13/2
  • Correct Score – Arsenal to win 2-1 – 8/1
  • Arsenal to Score a Penalty – 9/2
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