The Champions League continues with four more Round of 16 first legs on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Barcelona traveling to Milan and Bayern Munich battling Arsenal are touted as the most attractive fixtures of the week. However, AccuScore’s computer statically played out each match 10,000 times, and the results state that Barcelona and Bayern should have little trouble advancing while the other two matches should be far more competitive.
Bayern Munich has been demolishing opponents in Germany this campaign, and Bayern is currently 15 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga. Since returning from the winter break, the Bavarian powerhouse has won all five of its matches and has not allowed a single goal. In aggregate, Bayern has outscored its opponents 13-0 over the past five matches, so it is easy to see why Bayern is the heavy favorite to advance.
Arsenal, on the other hand, failed to impress against Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup on Saturday. With a 1-0 defeat, Arsenal appears headed for another trophy-less season, and drawing Bayern certainly does not help the quest to end the trophy drought.
Barcelona’s trip to AC Milan would be a dream matchup for supporters of both clubs most years, but this season, it is a wildly uneven contest. Lionel Messi is in incredible scoring form. After scoring twice on Saturday, the Argentinean attacker has scored in 17 of his last 19 appearances across all competitions.
Milan is unbeaten in its last six matches, but Mario Balotelli, who has scored four goals in three matches since transferring from Manchester City, is cup-tied and cannot play on Wednesday. Also, starlet Stephan El Shaarawy, who leads the team with 15 goals, is a doubt due to a knee injury. Giampaolo Pazzini is expected to start in the middle of the attack, but even a full-strength Milan may not be much of a match for Messi and Barcelona.
Porto vs. Malaga is considered a close contest. Both teams are unbeaten in February, and Malaga has received a major boost with the return to fitness of Brazilian attacker Julio Baptista. The former AS Roma and Real Madrid attacker has only appeared for Malaga in seven matches over the past two seasons. However, he has appeared in three straight games entering Tuesday’s match.
With veteran Argentinean Javier Saviola, Malaga possesses a South American strike force that is capable of causing problems for Porto. Also, Roque Santa Cruz is an in-form option in attack.
On Wednesday, Schalke travels to Turkey to take on Galatasaray, which is favored to advance due to two rather massive signings in January – Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba. Both Sneijder and Drogba led their former teams to European glory, so their additions to an already strong squad only strengthened the Turkish club’s chances of advancing.
Both star signings started in Friday’s league win with Drogba scoring his first goal for the Turkish club. Along with Drogba, Burak Yilmaz also scored on Friday, and the Turkish striker was joint-top scorer in the Champions League at the conclusion of the group stage with six goals.
Schalke is currently in crisis after star striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar started suffering from a blood clot in his eye. He is out for an indefinite period of time, but the addition of Michel Bastos provides hope for the German outfit. The Brazilian winger has scored three times in three matches since transferring from Lyon.
Odds to Advance