The journey towards European supremacy rages on with UEFA Champions League round of 16 second legs beginning this week. Tuesday will see Chelsea look to turn things around against Borussia Dortmund while Benfica aim to slam the door shut against struggling Club Brugge. On Wednesday, PSG and Bayern Munich face off on as Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and company have their backs against the wall, looking to overcome a 1-0 deficit in Bavaria, while Tottenham welcome AC Milan to London.
As always, CBS Sports and Paramount+ will be your home for all things UCL.
Here’s our predictions for each match and more:
Tuesday’s broadcast schedule
(All times U.S./Eastern)
- UEFA Champions League Today, 2 p.m., CBS and Paramount+
- Chelsea vs. Borussia Dortmund, 3 p.m., CBS and Paramount+
- Benfica vs. Club Brugge 3 p.m., Paramount+
- UEFA Champions League Post-Match Show, 5 p.m., CBS Sports Network and Paramount+
Wednesday’s broadcast schedule
(All times U.S./Eastern)
Coverage starts each day at 2 pm. with Champions League Today on CBS and Paramount+. Paramount+ will offer a multicast feature allowing subscribers to watch two matches simultaneously in a split-screen view. You can try one month free by using the code: ADVANCE.
Chelsea vs. Borussia Dortmund
Featured Game | Chelsea vs. Borussia Dortmund
One matchup to watch: At the time of writing Chelsea are hopeful that Reece James will be back in time to take the field at Stamford Bridge but Graham Potter will need his most important defender to be at something approaching full steam if he is to match the in-form Marco Reus, assuming the German occupies the left wing as he did in Dortmund’s win over RB Leipzig. Reus’ own fitness is often fleeting but when he is available he tends to be worth the wait and has provided two goals and three assists. Equally if James can get motoring up the pitch, whether as a wing-back or full-back, he could force Reus into more defensive work than Edin Terzic might like.
Most likely to score a goal: Even if Chelsea as a team are starting to build greater attacking threat it is hard to find one particular name in their squad who is looking convincing in front of goal. The likes of Kai Havertz and Raheem Sterling can often seem like they are searching for newer and more imaginative ways to miss, whilst the goals might eventually come it would be a mad man who predicted their source. Dortmund tend to share the goals around, their scorer could be anyone but with four in his last five Bundesliga games Julian Brandt seems a tempting choice.
Man of the Match pick: With the excellent goalkeeper Gregor Kobel expected to miss out, Dortmund’s defense will need to play well to protect Alexander Meyer even if the backup did make some smart saves against RB Leipzig. Perhaps the best performer in that game was Nico Schlotterbeck, whose sterling form has been crucial in Dortmund’s rise up the Bundesliga table.
Match prediction: Chelsea seem likely to dominate possession and territory and this could just open up the door for Borussia Dortmund to make them pay on counterattacks, even without Karim Adeyemi. But the subzero Blues have to heat up sooner or later in front of goal, why not when Graham Potter needs it most? It might go all the way to extra time but I have a feeling Chelsea could get a 3-1 win to advance.
Club Brugge vs. Benfica
Featured Game | Benfica vs. Club Brugge
One matchup to watch: The midfield battle. With Benfica already ahead 2-0 heading into the deciding leg of the game at home, Florentino Luis and Fredrik Aursnes will have a lot of the ball during the tie. If they can pick apart Brugge with a patient attack, it’ll be an easy win for Benfica but if Kamal Sowah and the Brugge midfield can unsettle things, Benficia’s slower central pairing can be exploited. It’s certinaly a tall task for a Brugge team that is overmatched and away from home but winning the midfield battle is the only way to victory for Brugge even if they end up with a man advantage.
Most likely to score a goal: Goncalo Ramos. Benfica has a balanced attack but everything leads to Ramos at point of it. With 21 goals in all competiions, including five in Champions League play, Ramos has been someone that Benfica can count on. Even when he isn’t scoring, Ramos is able to influence a match by keeping pressure on the defense, but he’ll have a good chance to beat Simon Mignolet in the tie.
Man of the Match pick: Simon Mignolet. With Brugge under pressure during the match, Mignolet will do what he does best in keeping a match close that shouldn’t be. Only facing four shots on target during the opening leg in Belgium, he’ll have more to do during an away trip in Libson.
Match prediction: Already having the lead coming into the second leg, Benfica will be able to take things at their pace passing their way to another 2-0 victory to echo the opening leg. While Brugge will crash out of Champions League in their inagural apparance in the knockout stage, it will be agianst a worthy opponent as Benfica are quickly rising to the tier of being one of the top clubs in the world.
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Bayern Munich
Featured Game | Bayern Munchen vs. Paris
One matchup to watch: Dayot Upamecano vs. Kylian Mbappe — The two France international teammates are likely to see a lot of each other come Wednesday. Although Matthijs de Ligt might also be brough more central given Benjamin Pavard’s suspension, Mbappe will likely favor going up against Upamecano where possible given his knowledge of his fellow Frenchman. The first leg was all about Mbappe and he only came on as a second half substitute before ripping into Bayern with the help of Nuno Mendes. Expect 90 minutes of PSG trying to do just that again here.
Most likely to score a goal: Mbappe — The opening leg only really came to life when Mbappe came on and his introduction transformed PSG. With the French champions’ season effectively on the line here, expect Mbappe to at least have some say as Christophe Galtier’s men attempt to score their way to qualification. Given what we have seen from Les Parisiens against Lille and Marseille domestically, no Neymar in Bavaria could actually benefit PSG as it simplifies things in attack and maximizes the impact of Mbappe’s searing pace.
Man of the Match pick: Nuno Mendes — The Portugal international was sensational in the second half of the first leg and Galtier will try to replicate that showing as PSG really tested Yann Sommer in the Bayern goal. Whether it will be enough depends on how clinical Mbappe and Lionel Messi can be, but the LOSC and OM showings have been promising as far as goals are concerned. The only concern over Mendes might be his ability to go the full 90 and potentially beyond given his recent knock against Lille.
Match prediction: Bayern 1-3 PSG (after extra time) — Such a result would put the Ligue 1 leaders through and the Bundesliga giants out. Julian Nagelsmann’s men really should have buried Galtier’s side in Paris when they had the chance. Counterattacking suits this PSG side and Mbappe in particular who has already shown his ability to deliver at Allianz Arena in recent years. Gianluigi Donnarumma could be the difference in whether or not this one goes beyond 90 minutes, but do not be surprised if PSG fly out of the traps looking to erase Bayern’s first-leg advantage as soon as possible.
Tottenham vs. AC Milan
Featured Game | Tottenham Hotspur vs. AC Milan
One matchup to watch: Harry Kane vs. Fikayo Tomori – Tottenham will definitely need to score soon during the match if they want to have chances to make it to the quarter finals of this season. Harry Kane will play against Fikayo Tomori in what it’s going to be one of the most interesting duels of the game. Tomori is not playing particularly well this season and comes from a big mistake that led to the penalty scored by Nico Gonzalez against Fiorentina last Saturday.
Most likely to score a goal: Harry Kane – I expect Kane to score at least one goal against AC Milan. This is going to be a big chance for him and Spurs will rely a lot on their club’s top scorer against the Italian side. Antonio Conte’s side are coming from a heavy defeat away against Wolves and need to react in the Champions League’s second leg this Wednesday.
Man of the Match pick: Rafael Leao – There are a lot of rumors about his potential Premier League move in the future and this is a great opportunity for him to shine on such a big stage. The Rossoneri need Leao to be at the center of their project in the coming years, and are already talking to extend his deal, with the current one expiring in the summer 2024.
Match prediction: Tottenham 2, AC Milan 2. I expect this one to be a more exciting game compared to the first leg when AC Milan won thanks to an early goal scored by Brahim Diaz. Antonio Conte’s side need to score if they want to have chances to go to the next round but will also likely expose themselves defensively. I expect the Italian side to go through.