The UEFA Champions League is drawing closer to the quarterfinals as the second leg of the round-of-16 starts with some exciting matches. The first is Real Madrid against Roma, as Real tries to add on to their 2-0 lead at home in the Santiago Bernabéu. The other game is Gent and Wolfsburg, and what a matchup that was in Ghent as Wolfsburg took a three-goal lead only to watch Gent score two to set up this exciting decisive match.
The Gent/Wolfsburg match seems like the most appetizing matchup as Gent could surprise critics and move on to the next round. Wolfsburg has other ideas, however, as the German squad looks to advance into the next round, as both squads seek their first ever passage into the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Both teams are coming off good results from the weekend as Die Wölfe edged out Borussia Monchengladbach by a score of 2-1 and Gent rescued a point in a 1-1 draw against Leuven. Wolfsburg has the advantage of playing at home for the second leg and manager Dieter Hecking is making sure that they keep focused.
“As I said before the first leg: we need two good days to go through to the next round. We’ve had one, now we need another. We are in a pretty good situation and we’re full of confidence,” said Hecking.
Wolfsburg will need that confidence as they are dealing with a lot of injuries as of late with five players on the mend. Also a big question mark is the status of Julian Draxler who is dealing with a knee injury and is listed as doubtful, although many speculate that he will play. Gent is also dealing with their fair share of injuries, but will have defender Rami Gershon (knee) back as he played his first game since June.
It will be a great task for Gent to try and advance into the quarterfinals, but if the first leg taught us anything of these two squads; it is that we have to expect the unexpected and don’t be surprised if Gent comes away with the victory.
Real Madrid soundly defeated Roma by a score of 2-0 and it doesn’t look like los Merengues are going to relinquish that lead anytime soon. But Zinédine Zidane is trying to keep his squad on their toes, so they won’t get complacent. “Roma are a good team but I’m more worried about what we are going to do. Their forwards are very good. If you don’t do your job properly, you can be eliminated,” said Zidane.
Both squads are coming off great wins over the weekend with Real Madrid demolishing Celta Vigo 7-1, thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s four-goal effort, and Roma soundly defeated Fiorentina by a score of 4-1, with Mohamed Salah scoring two of his own. Both teams should be coming in with some confidence for this match, as both teams could
Each team has some injuries to deal with, however, as Real Madrid will have to deal without the services of Karim Benzema, as he is sidelined with a hamstring injury. Luckily, Ronaldo has found his scoring touch so Madrid will hopefully not see the Frenchman’s absence as too much of a loss. Roma will have to deal with injuries as Rüdiger is out with a thigh injury and will have to adjust defensively and the Giallorossi will be without star midfielder Daniele De Rossi as he nurses a calf injury suffered in the first leg of the round-of-16 Champions League tie.
Roma will try and nab a win to advance into the quarterfinals of the Champions League, but they will have to try and do something they haven’t done since 2010. That is, to win a Champions League game away from home.