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5 Matches You Can’t Miss In The UEFA Champions League This February

FC Barcelona Stadium Camp Nou before the start of an UCL match
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The 2020/21 campaign has already brought us a lot of entertainment, but with the UCL going into the last 16, things are about to get hotter. The Round of 16 draws took place back in December where we saw great teams like Barcelona and PSG drawn against each other which set the tone early for the knockout stages.

Here are 5 matches in February 2021 that you can’t miss if you call yourself a football fan:

1. FC Barcelona VS Paris Saint Germain, 17th February


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This matchup is covered with storylines. Neymar will face Barcelona for the first time since his record-breaking transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017; also the last time these sides met in the round of 16, it delivered probably the best League comeback ever when Barca came from a 4 – 0 deficit to beat PSG 6 – 5 on aggregate at the Camp Nou. The two sides have faced off on nine occasions with Barca winning four, PSG winning two and three of them ending in a draw. Pochettino and his men will travel to Catalonia on the 17th of February (1:30 KO IST). PSG under the new management has found some momentum in League 1 whereas Barcelona, with Messi still thankfully among their ranks, is still struggling to find consistency and are struggling in the League behind both their Madrid rivals. This is a huge test and the perfect opportunity for Koeman to prove that he was the right man for the job.

2. Atletico Madrid VS Chelsea FC, 24th Feb


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Atletico Madrid is one of those teams you do not want to face in the knockout stages of the Champions League. It is quite the same for a young Chelsea squad, who recently lost their manager Frank Lampard as well. Atletico, known for their defensive strategy and counter-attacking football, especially with the likes of Luiz Suarez and Felix in the side will play it smart with the experience in their squad while Chelsea who have been poor in the Premier League this season, will look to continue their remarkable Champions League run. Manchester City were the only team to concede fewer goals in the group stages than Chelsea and Hakim Ziyech could be the key to open up the Atletico defense with the midfielder being in great form when he isn’t battling injury.

3. RB Leipzig VS Liverpool FC, 17th February


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Jurgen Klopp and Julian Nagelsmann, two of the best managers in the world go head-to-head when Liverpool travel to Leipzig on the 17th of February. Leipzig lost one of their star players, Timo Werner, in the summer but that did not change their goal-scoring abilities. The German side scored a total of twenty-three goals in the group stages while opponents Liverpool have only conceded three goals in the same stage. The real issue for Liverpool is their injuries in defense with Joe Gomez and Joel Matip declared out for the season, and while Van Dijk is making his return it is very unlikely he’ll be declared fit to play. New signing Ozan Kabak could be the difference as the young center back has some experience playing against the German side during his time at Schalke. Liverpool’s strikers need to be in top form and produce something magical to beat the Leipzig defence that includes the phenomenal Dayot Upamecano. The French centre-back is one of the top young defenders in Europe and has been integral to Leipzig’s success. With his ball-playing abilities, pace, and defensive acumen, he could be the difference in this tie. Both sides are renowned for their energetic, high-pressing football that get the fans off their seats and this could be the do-not-miss-it encounter of the round of 16.

4. Sevilla VS Borussia Dortmund, 18th February


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Borussia Dortmund travel to the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán on the 18th of February to take on Sevilla in one of the most balanced ties of the knockout stages. Sevilla who are known to dominate the Europa League managed to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition for the first time in three years and the Spanish side finished second in their group behind Chelsea. A setback for Sevilla was their match against Chelsea on match-day six as the Spanish side suffered their biggest ever home defeat to an English team (0 – 4). Dortmund is a team that bounced back nicely in the group stages. Their campaign started with a loss against Lazio but the club made its way back by winning the next five matches and topping the group.
With the pace of Halland, Sancho and Reyna, Dortmund could exploit Sevilla’s defensive gaps. Sevilla is a tough team to break however and Julen Lopetegui’s side are well-oiled, organized off the ball, and move the ball fluidly, even after the departures of Sergio Reguillon and Ever Banega.

5. Atalanta VS Real Madrid, 25th February


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Atalanta host the thirteen-time Champions League winners Real Madrid on 25th February at the Gewiss Stadium. Real Madrid are struggling to find form this season and the Spanish giants won only three of their six games and lost twice which is pretty bleak considering their lofty standards. Atalanta did just enough to qualify after defeating Ajax and finishing second in the group, thanks to a late winner from Luis Muriel. It could be a tough job for Atalanta after the departure of club captain Alejandro Gomez (to Sevilla) who left the club because of a verbal spat with manager Gian Gasparini. Their main man upfront, Duyan Zapata could play a vital role in the game and they’ll be hoping the striker can cause real problems to the Spanish side’s defense with his pace and aerial abilities.


[Image Credit: UEFA Champions League]