After an exciting round of Champions League matches that saw the first four finalists reach the quarterfinals, this week’s matchups will finalize the group that will go on to the quarterfinals to face Wolfsburg, Real Madrid, Benfica and Paris Saint-Germain. We at 32 Flags will examine the matchups and preview the games ahead.
Dynamo Kiev makes their way to England as they face off against Manchester City, who is sitting comfortably with a 3-1 lead after their game in Ukraine. City, barring a massive upset, is set to walk comfortably into the quarterfinals of the Champions League as Kiev has problems to deal with in and out of the pitch.
Kiev has a multitude of injuries to deal with as seven players — Rybka (knee), Morozyuk (knee), Moraes (adductor), Petrović (unspecified), Burda (unspecified), Myakushko (unspecified), Rybalka (groin) — are expected to be out of this matchup. Not to mention that defender Danilo Silva is doubtful for this match as well with a knock that hasn’t been specified yet. Although Kiev is coming off a nice 2-1 win in the Ukrainian league play, they will need their offense to step up and give them vital goals to try and erase a two-goal deficit.
On the other hand, Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini said that midfielder Yaya Touré is fit to play, and it is projected that he will start for the Mancunian club. Manchester City had a hiccup in the English Premier League play as they fell off the pace for the title, suffering a 0-0 draw against lowly Norwich. However, City is in good pace to of reaching the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the first time in club history and they will have to rely on their sturdy backline to do so.
In a nutshell, City looks like they are going to have a walk in the park at the Ethiad as they are heavy favorites to advance to the next stage. Only a catastrophe could change that as Dynamo Kiev searches for their first win in English soil in 14 attempts.
Meanwhile, we have a more even matchup with Atleti and PSV knotted up at nil each. After a scoreless draw in the Netherlands, both teams meet up in the Spanish capital to decide who advances into the next round.
PSV will try and avenge their 2008-2009 Champions League exit, as they were eliminated by none other than Atlético Madrid. They will have to do so without suspended forward Gastón Pereiro, and Andrés Guardado (hamstring) and Maxime Lestienne (calf) are doubtful for the matches. It will be tough for the Dutch team to go into Spain and walk away with a win, especially since the Dutch team has not been able to win in Spain in 12 tries (four draws, eight losses).
Atlético will relish being at home as the Spanish side has won four out of their last five home games overall, and they will look for that advantage at home to catapult them into the quarterfinals. Diego Simeone’s side will have to deal with some injuries, however, as defender Stefan Savić and midfieler Tiago will be out due to injuries to their calf and leg, respectively. They will have to rely on mainstays Koke, Óliver Torres and Juanfran to lead the charge against their Dutch counterparts.
This match seems like a toss up, but Madrid seems to have the upper hand for this matchup as they have the home field advantage and with PSV banged up, Madrid seems like they will be able to achieve passage into the quarterfinals. But, history tends to favor the Dutch as Atlético have lost all of their four two-legged series they have played against Dutch clubs.