Champions League Round of 16 Recap: Draws give 2nd leg even more intrigue

You get a draw and you get a draw and you get a draw…we all get a draw!! Well, except for you Xabi Alonzo.

You…you, you just get to sit on the bench and watch for being a bad boy. Two yellow cards in the opening leg of Bayern Munich’s 0-0 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 will do that to a man.

Yellow cards were the story of the Bayern Munich-Shakhtar Donetsk match though, as Bayern Munich were completely undisciplined and racked up five yellow cards as a team (including Alonzo’s second yellow). It also was a bit surprising of a result, as Bayern just whopped up on Hamburg 8-0 in a Bundesliga matchup over the weekend and have been on an offensive role period.

Perhaps all the goals were left on the pitch in Germany? They certainly weren’t flowing in Donetsk’s “home” of Lviv. Bayern had an 8-1 advantage in shots, but Bayern simply couldn’t get any of the countless good opportunities to head towards goal. They managed to put just one of the eight shots on frame in the draw.

It makes the second leg even more perilous, regardless of the result. Bayern should be able to dispatch the Ukrainian club at home in Munich in a few weeks, but lets be real — Shakhtar Donetsk aren’t going to back down physically.

It means that the German giants have to be patient, can’t respond to chippy play and must be mentally ready to go. Otherwise there could be a number of players sitting out the next round with yellow card accumulation. With defenders Rafinha and Jerome Boateng and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger all sitting on yellow’s it will be a delicate balancing act happening as they head home for the 2nd leg on March 11th.

Even if Donetsk has three players on yellow cards themselves, they have nothing at all to lose in the second leg. Look for this to be a real chess match in Munich.

Things were the complete opposite in Paris, as the mouth-watering tie between Chelsea and PSG lived up to a lot of the hype. PSG attacked, attacked and attacked some more but it was Chelsea who got on the board first thanks to an all-defender goal.

Yep, it was John Terry setting up Gary Cahill, who promptly flicked it to none other than Branislav Ivanovic for the emphatic header and a 1-0 lead away from home in the . You know, just like it was drawn up by all the pundits ahead of time.

Naturally, the “Special One” immediately parked the bus and attempted to do the best against the PSG attack. The Paris club had a 14-2 advantage on shots and a 7-1 advantage on shots on goal, but thanks to some crazy goalkeeping from Thibaut Courtois they weren’t getting away with a victory.

Sure, Edinson Cavani took complete control of the Chelsea box, but Courtois had a major save of his first header on net and did all but save the one there was no saving on the day. Cavani got his revenge by being left all alone at the top of the six-yard box and put one in to the ground past Courtois in the 54th minute.

However, both teams probably came away from this matchup pleased. After all, Chelsea just forced PSG to have to attack in the away leg to avoid going out on the away goal rule and PSG knows just one goal from all the attacking they can put on a team will do the trick.

It all sets up an intriguing day of action on March 11th, when the 2nd leg of each match will be played. If they are anything like the first leg action, look for passionate fans and passionate play on the pitch as well.

Either way, the fans should be entertained in a major way coming up in the second leg of these ties.

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a contributor to The Comeback as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10. He also is a member of the FWAA and has been covering college sports since 2011. Andy is an avid soccer fan and runs the Celtic FC site The Celtic Bhoys. If he's not writing about sports, you can find him enjoying them in front of the TV with a good beer!

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