Champions League returns with last-16 ties | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 07, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, August 07, 2020

Champions League returns with last-16 ties

The UEFA Champions League returns on Friday with the remaining places at the final tournament in Lisbon up for grabs as Europe's top clubs look to go all the way and lift the trophy on August 23 after a suspension of five months because of the coronavirus.

Manchester City v Real Madrid (City won first leg 2-1)

Pep Guardiola's City have already claimed one major European victory this summer after the club's successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport which saw their two-year Champions League ban overturned.That may mean they are extra motivated to go on and win the trophy for the first time, even if Guardiola insists "this issue is over".They are in prime position to reach the quarter-finals after a 2-1 victory in Spain in the first leg, when Kevin De Bruyne's penalty won the game.

Nevertheless they are without the injured Sergio Aguero, and there is pressure on them. Their campaign was underwhelming domestically and the high point of City's experience in the Champions League so far remains a defeat to Real in the semi-finals in 2016.

Zinedine Zidane's team are fresh from claiming the Spanish title after an exceptional run of post-shutdown form. However, they must do without Sergio Ramos, who is suspended after being sent off in the first leg while Gareth Bale was left out of the 24-man squad for Friday.

Juventus v Lyon (Lyon won first leg 1-0)

Lucas Tousart's goal gave Lyon a surprise 1-0 win on the night, but much has changed since then -- for a start Tousart is no longer at Lyon having signed for Hertha Berlin. Lyon were a lowly seventh when the French season was brought to an early end. Their defeat on penalties to Paris Saint-Germain in last Friday's League Cup final -- their first competitive game since March -- means they must win the Champions League to qualify for Europe next season. That seems unlikely, but putting out Juventus might not be. The Old Lady have just won their ninth successive Serie A title, yet there are doubts about Maurizio Sarri's side. Juve won just twice and lost four of their final eight league games, and in Europe they may be reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo's appetite for more Champions League success.

Bayern Munich v Chelsea (Bayern won first leg 3-0)

This is surely a formality, with Bayern producing a stunning display to beat Chelsea 3-0 away in February thanks to Serge Gnabry's brace and a Robert Lewandowski goal. The Bavarians picked up where they left off in style when the Bundesliga resumed in mid-May, romping to a league and cup double by winning 11 games in a row post-lockdown.

Barcelona v Napoli (First leg 1-1)

After missing out to Real Madrid in La Liga, Barcelona cannot contemplate being knocked out of the Champions League already, but they are far from safe against Napoli.

They drew 1-1 in the first leg in Italy with Antoine Griezmann cancelling out Dries Mertens' opener, so Barca have the upper hand. However, all is not well at the Camp Nou, with coach Quique Setien under intense scrutiny. Barca are looking for a sixth European Cup, five years on from their last success. Lionel Messi has turned 33 since the first leg and time is running out for the Argentine to lift the trophy again.

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