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Champions league news

⚽ Champions League - Spurs vs Liverpool - Tips & Predictions UCL - Final 2019

⚽ Champions League - Spurs vs Liverpool - Tips & Predictions UCL - Final 2019

  • Liverpool are playing in their ninth European Cup/Champions League final – more than any other English side. They’ve won the trophy five times, but have lost their last two finals (2007 and 2018).
  • Tottenham Hotspur are playing in their first ever European Cup/Champions League final, and are the eighth different English side to do so. The last five first-time finalists have ended up on the losing side (Chelsea 2008, Arsenal 2006, Monaco 2004, Bayer Leverkusen 2002 and Valencia 2000).
  • This will be the second all-English European Cup/Champions League final, with Manchester United beating Chelsea on penalties in 2008 in the other.
  • This is the first Champions League final between two sides who both failed to win their respective groups since Inter Milan vs Bayern Munich in 2010.
  • Liverpool won both of their league meetings with Spurs this season. In total, they’ve met at least three times in all competitions in 13 previous campaigns – Liverpool have only beaten Spurs three times in a single season in one of those (1985-86 – four times).
  • The only previous meeting between Liverpool and Tottenham in a major final was in the 1982 English League Cup final, with the Reds coming from behind to win 3-1 after extra-time.
  • Liverpool were the losing finalists in last season’s Champions League final – the last side to lose consecutive finals in the competition were Valencia in 2000 and 2001.
  • This will be Tottenham’s first major final in any European competition since the 1984 UEFA Cup. They are looking to become just the third English side to win all three of the major UEFA tournaments after Chelsea and Manchester United (European Cup/Champions League, UEFA Cup/Europa League and Cup Winner’s Cup).
  • Liverpool have lost their last four appearances in major domestic and European finals since winning the 2012 League Cup. Meanwhile, Spurs’ last major trophy win was also the League Cup (2008), losing their last two finals since then.
  • Tottenham failed to win any of their opening three Champions League group stage games this season – they’ve become just the second side to do so and go on to reach the final after Inter Milan in 2010, who went on to win the trophy.
  • Only FC Porto (10) have had more different goalscorers (excluding own goals) in this season’s Champions League than Liverpool (9).
  • No team has conceded more goals in this season’s Champions League than Tottenham Hotspur (17). 41% of these goals have come in the opening 15 minutes of games (7/17).
  • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has reached his third Champions League final, on the losing side with the Reds last season and with Borussia Dortmund in 2013. The only manager to lose three successive final appearances in the European Cup/Champions League is Marcello Lippi (1997, 1998 and 2003 with Juventus).
  • This is Jurgen Klopp’s third major European final with Liverpool – only Bob Paisley (4) has ever reached more with the club.
  • Mauricio Pochettino is only the third Tottenham manager to guide the club to a major European final, after Bill Nicholson and Keith Burkinshaw. It’s only the second final the Argentine has reached during his time as a manager in Europe, after the 2015 League Cup final with Spurs (0-2 vs Chelsea).
  • Liverpool forward Sadio Mané scored the Reds’ goal in their 1-3 defeat in last season’s Champions League final. He could become just the second Liverpool player to score in multiple European Cup/Champions League finals after Phil Neal (1977 and 1984).
  • Liverpool’s Sadio Mané scored in the 2018 Champions League final, and could become the first player to score in back-to-back European Cup/Champions League finals since Franz Roth with Bayern Munich in 1975 and 1976.
  • If Trent Alexander-Arnold starts for Liverpool, he’d be the first ever player aged under-21 to start in consecutive Champions League finals. The previous youngest is Christian Panucci with Milan in 1994 and 1995.
  • Tottenham’s Lucas Moura scored a hat-trick in their win at Ajax to see them into the final, scoring more goals in that game than he had in his previous 16 appearances in the competition beforehand (2).
  • Of players to have scored at least 10 Champions League goals, Liverpool’s Sadio Mané has scored the highest percentage of them in the knockout stages of the competiton (71.4%, 10/14).

⚽ ROAD TO MADRID - Champions League 2019

⚽ ROAD TO MADRID - Champions League 2019

The most interesting games in the UCL quarterfinals would probably be Barcelona vs Manchester United, as Lionel Messi will look to keep his goalscoring run against English clubs going as he scored twice against Tottenham Hotspurs in the UCL group stages.

Ajax will play favorites Juventus, after the Old Lady mounted an impressive comeback to knock Atletico Madrid out in the Round of 16 of this UCL season. UCL QF 1st leg - Score: Juve 1-1 Ajax.

Tottenham will face fellow English rivals Man City in the UCL quarter finals. Because of this, Harry Kane's team will face Man City thrice in the space of 10 days.

Liverpool have been handed an easier task, as they will play Porto about an year after they faced them in the Round of 16 of last season’s competition. They beat them 5-0 aggregate that time.

⚽ ROAD TO MADRID - Champions League 2019

⚽ ROAD TO MADRID - Champions League 2019

The quarter final of the UEFA Champions League gives fans good fixtures to look forward to and savour. Who will make it to Madrid?

⚽ Champions League - Man United v. Barcelona - Tips & Predictions UCL

⚽ Champions League - Man United v. Barcelona - Tips & Predictions UCL

  • This is the first Champions League meeting between Barcelona and Manchester United since the 2011 final, which Barcelona won 3-1 at Wembley.
  • Manchester United have never lost a home European match against Barcelona (W2 D2 L0), with this is the first meeting between the sides at Old Trafford since the second leg of the 2007-08 Champions League semi-final, a 1-0 win for the Red Devils.
  • This is Barcelona’s 17th Champions League quarter-final appearance, a joint-record with Bayern Munich; they have qualified for an 12th successive season, a competition record.
  • Manchester United have won two of their last 11 Champions League knockout ties (W2 D3 L6), failing to win either of their quarter-final games in the 2013-14 season under David Moyes against Bayern Munich.
  • Barcelona have progressed from 79% of their Champions League knockout ties when playing the first leg away from home (23 of 29), compared to just 33% when playing the first leg at home (4 of 12).
  • Since Chelsea eliminated Barcelona in the 2011-12 semi-final, English teams have been eliminated in 10 of their last 11 Champions League knockout ties against Spanish sides – the exception was Leicester City against Sevilla in the last 16 in 2016-17.
  • Man Utd striker Romelu Lukaku scored with both of his shots against PSG in their 3-1 win in the Last 16 – he had failed to score with any of his previous eight shots in the Champions League this season; the Belgian has scored with his last three shots in the Champions League knockout stages.
  • Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has scored 22 Champions League goals in 30 appearances against English teams – more than any other player in the history of the competition.
  • Lionel Messi has failed to score in any of his last 11 Champions League quarter-final appearances for Barcelona; since netting against PSG in April 2013, the Argentinian forward has attempted 49 shots without success at this stage of the competition.
  • Manchester United have lost two home Champions League matches so far this season, losing to Juventus and PSG – they’ve only lost three in one season once previously, doing so during the 1996-97 campaign, with current boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer featuring in all three defeats.
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⚽Bayern Munich v Liverpool - #UCL 1/8-Finals - 13th March 2019

Bayern Munich v Liverpool - #UCL 1/8-Finals - 13th March 2019

UEFA Champions League is always a spectacular event but this season's clash of styles provides an intriguing contest in Munich on 13th of March 2019.

Liverpool will take on the Bundesliga giants in the next round of the competition, and two former Reds are confident of a quarter-final spot.

Liverpool will take on the Bundesliga giants in the next round of the competition, and two former Reds are confident of a quarter-final spot.

Luis Garcia and Steve McManaman are united in their confidence that Liverpool will have too much for Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Reds finished second to PSG – who will face Man United, and that resulted in them being paired with German champions Bayern.

Liverpool are likely to go into the tie favourites given their respective starts to the season.

Bayern Munich v Liverpool Team Compare

FC Bayern München - UCL 2018/2019 Stats

Liverpool - UCL 2018/2019 Stats

Recommended bet:
Bayern Munich to win and over 2.5 goals - with Unibet

Juventus v Real Madrid - #UCL Final - 3rd June 2017

Juventus v Real Madrid - #UCL Final - 3rd June 2017

UEFA Champions League final is always a spectacular event but this season's clash of styles provides an intriguing contest in Cardiff on 3rd of June.

Real Madrid, reigning champions and seemingly unstoppable attack force, meet Juventus, the strongest defense in the European football, if not the world. It's @ 8/5 (2.60) that Real Madrid retains their crown with a victory in 90 minutes, while bet365 go @ 15/8 (2.88) on a win for Massimiliano Allegri's men in normal time.

Juventus have drawn plenty of plaudits for their impressive backline which has seen them dump Barcelona, Monaco and Porto out of the last 3 rounds, Juventus are set to face Real Madrid, who offer an even oddslot greater threat than any that have gone before them.

The bookies are going @ 4/1 (5.0) for a Real Madrid win with over 2.5 goals.

Juventus may have been able to shut down a youthful Monaco side in the UCL semi-finals but Real Madrid have the experience to make their mark in the UCL final.

Juventus vs Real Madrid Match Stats

This is the 19th encounter between Juventus and Real Madrid – all in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League, making this the 2nd-most played fixture in the history of Europe’s premier club competition after Bayern Munich v Real Madrid (24).

The head-to-head record between Juventus and Real Madrid is perfectly balanced, with 8 wins each and 2 draws. Their only meeting in the UCL final saw Real Madrid win 1-0 in 1998 thanks to a Pedrag Mijatovic goal.

Real Madrid have reached the European Cup/UEFA Champions League final for the 15th time, 4 more than any other club (AC Milan, 11). Real Madrid have won 11 of the previous 14, a 79% success rate.

This is Real Madrid’s 3rd European Cup/UEFA Champions League final in 4 seasons, a feat they hadn’t accomplished since the early days of the competition (5 in a row from 1956 to 1960).

Real Madrid will attempt to become the 1st team since AC Milan (1989, 1990) to win back-to-back European Cup/UEFA Champions League trophies.

Juventus are the only unbeaten team in this season’s UEFA Champions League (W9 D3).

Gonzalo Higuain scored two goals in the first leg, as many as in his 24 previous UEFA Champions League knockout matches. With 5 goals this season, it’s already the most prolific campaign of his career in the competition.

Dani Alves has scored more goals (10) and delivered more assists (25) than any other full-back in the UEFA Champions League since his debut in 2007/08.

Recommended bet:

Real Madrid to win and over 2.5 goals - with Bet365

Atl. Madrid vs. Barcelona - #UCL Quarter-Final Second Leg

atletico-madrid-barcelona-ucl-2016

Barcelona are ready to thrive in the hostile atmosphere at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday when they face Atletico Madrid.

Barcelona 2-1 Atlético Luis Suárez inspired the home side to a redemptive win after Fernando Torres scored and was sent off before half-time for the visitors.
Atletico Madrid had to feel good about their start as they kept Barcelona from getting into a rhythm. Barcelona’s passing wasn’t as sharp as usual, and Atletico was frequently getting into passing lanes to break up play. It was the kind of performance that must have made Diego Simeone happy, as his team came in to try to make life difficult for the defending champions.
Barcelona will be happy with the come from behind win, but Atletico Madrid will be equally happy with the away goal and the knowledge that a grinding 1-0 win back at home will be enough to see them through. 
Defender Filipe Luis maintains Atletico Madrid are still very much alive in their Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona.
"Luis Suárez brings a work-rate and character to this team – not just goals," said Luis Enrique after the striker's two goals in Barcelona's 2-1 defeat of Atlético Madrid.
It was "pure joy" for Luis Suárez to eke out two goals in the face of a superbly disciplined Atlético Madrid rearguard action – and earn Barcelona a slim quarter final first-leg advantage.

Aguero to miss Juventus visit

sergio-aguero

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is out of Tuesday's Champions League visit of Juventus because of a knee injury but David Silva and Raheem Sterling have trained and are expected to return.

Aguero was injured in a challenge by Scott Dann in the 1-0 win against Crystal Palace on Saturday and manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed the 27-year-old will not face the Serie A champions. Silva and Sterling missed the victory against Alan Pardew's men but both trained on Monday and will be included in the match-day squad.
New signing Kevin de Bruyne replaced Aguero after 25 minutes at Selhurst Park but Pellegrini refused to be drawn on whether the Belgium playmaker will start the Group D opener.
He told his pre-match press conference: "We'll see tomorrow if Kevin de Bruyne will start.
We need to make one change with Sergio Aguero. Kevin played very well the other day. Wilfried Bony and Sterling can also play up front so we have different options. I trust this squad 100%." Last season's Scudetto winners Juve have not won any of their opening three fixtures in the Italian top flight but Pellegrini warned he is expecting a difficult match-day one. "We play a very strong Juventus side – they reached the final last season and have won four [Serie A] titles in a row," he added. "Juventus have not started well in their league but this is a different competition. They will be motivated. I hope we qualify from the group, and then I hope we will have more luck to avoid the strongest team in the last 16." Manchester City are currently priced 4/5 by 
bet365 in the match betting and the draw outcome is quoted 5/2. Juventus are available to back at 9/2.

Branislav Ivanovic has told champions Chelsea to wake up

Branislav-Ivanovic

Branislav Ivanovic has told champions Chelsea to wake up to the reality that they face an uphill battle to catch leaders Manchester City and get back into the Premier League title race.

A 3-1 defeat by a Steven Naismith-inspired Everton on Saturday was the capital club's third of the season so far and they could find themselves in the relegation zone by the time they host London rivals Arsenal in a huge Stamford Bridge showdown on Saturday. "We need one big win to come back to our way. We are not playing as badly as the results are showing but we have to wake up," Ivanovic told Chelsea TV.
"I think at the moment we are being punished for all our mistakes. The only way we can change is to work hard and be ready for the next game, so it is like a final and we have to play like a final."
The west Londoners will turn their attentions to the Champions League on Wednesday when they entertain Maccabi Tel Aviv in Group G and Serbia defender Ivanovic is targeting a big win to get the season back on track. Defeat in the round of 16 signalled an early departure from the competition last season and defender Ivanovic feels victory on match-day one could help spark Chelsea's season into life. He said: "The next game is very important for us. It is a new competition and it is time to change all this situation. I hope we will start winning the games soon."
Chelsea are currently priced 1/7 by 
bet365 in the match betting and the draw outcome is quoted 8/1. Maccabi Tel-Aviv are available to back at 25/1.

Guardiola proud of Bayern despite defeat

Pep Guardiola

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola insisted he was proud of his team even though they lost the first leg of their Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid.

The European champions had 72 percent of possession over the course of the game but were beaten by Karim Benzema's first-half goal, the result of a lightning-quick counter from Real.

Carlo Ancelotti's side created more goalscoring chances than the visitors, and could have been 3-0 up at half-time had Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria taken their chances.

Bayern's best opportunity fell to substitute Mario Gotze with five minutes remaining, but his effort was repelled by Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

However, Guardiola insisted he was pleased with how his players had performed.

"I could not be prouder of my team, because we dominated the ball," Guardiola told reporters.

"I told my players that I wanted them to play with courage and bravery and with respect to the people who were watching us, and that's what we did.

"I know how difficult it is to play against Real Madrid, as a player and as a coach, and many players are scared when they come here, but we showed character."

The coach also defended his team's tactics, when asked if they should have played in a more direct manner.

"The faster the ball goes forward, the faster Madrid bring it back to us," he said. "Madrid's virtue is that they are so quick on the counter-attack, they are unstoppable in that sense. Their players are footballers but they are like athletes, so playing back and forth is a risk."

Bayern winger Arjen Robben also insisted that the Bavarians had produced a strong performance.

He told German television station ZDF: "We head into the second leg with a lot of confidence. I think we played well, we were up against Real Madrid, a super team, and we dominated them.

"We created a couple of chances, Gotze's was excellent. Now we have to improve for the return match."

However, former Bayern player and coach and honourary president Franz Beckenbauer was less impressed.

He told Sky television: "Possession doesn't mean anything when your opponents create the better chances. We are lucky they only scored one."

Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti was delighted with the result.

"I'm happy in every sense, with the result, and with the effort the players made, because it was a very difficult game," he said.

"We played well and we knew how to cope under pressure.

"At first we were a little shy and had some problems, but we had more control of the play in the second half. We defended a lot, but we created some very good counter-attacks."

Cristiano Ronaldo made his first appearance in 22 days following a hamstring injury, but was replaced by Gareth Bale with 16 minutes left.

And Ancelotti explained he had always planned to bring his prolific forward off before the end of the game.

"The only risk was that the muscle would be tired so we were always planning on substituting him," he said. "It's normal that after 20 days out he was not going to be at 100 percent."

However, the Italian stated that Ronaldo and Bale, who began on the bench because he was recovering from a flu virus, would be able to start the second leg at the Allianz Arena.

 

Borussia Dortmund v Zenit - UEFA Champions League

UEFA Champions League: Borussia Dortmund v Zenit

Semak was handed control of first-team affairs at Zenit last week following the departure of Luciano Spalletti and will oversee his first UEFA Champions League match on Wednesday at Signal Iduna Park.

However, it could well be his last for some time with Andre Villas-Boas strongly tipped to be announced as Spalletti's long-term successor and Dortmund strong favourites to progress to the quarter-finals.

 

Things could be much worse for Zenit, given that Dortmund - last seasons's Champions League runners-up - moved two goals ahead inside six minutes in the first leg of their last-16 tie, which took place in Russia last month.

However, Jurgen Klopp's side will have to suffer an unlikely collapse on home turf if Zenit are to progress.

Dortmund have won eight of their last nine Champions League home games, with a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal in this season's group stage the only setback.

Zenit, meanwhile, head into Wednesday's game having triumphed in just one of their last seven Russian Premier League matches.

Spalletti's exit followed a goalless draw with Tom Tomsk and Zenit then suffered a 1-0 defeat to CSKA Moscow at the weekend in Semak's first game at the helm.

Belgian defender Nicolas Lombaerts says he and his team-mates must take responsibility for the club's poor form.  

"If the coach is fired, the players should take a look at themselves. In the end, if he was fired, then we're one of the main causes," Lombaerts told the club's official website. 

"But unfortunately that's the life of a head coach, and we have to move on. We're playing for Zenit, so we have to do everything to get back on top."

While Dortmund slipped up with defeat at the weekend, they are still a point ahead of third-placed Schalke in the Bundesliga - with the two sides due to meet next Tuesday. 

They also remain in contention for the DFB-Pokal and history suggests they will progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League as well.

In the 12 UEFA competition ties where Dortmund have won the first leg away from home, they have triumphed on aggregate 11 times.

Striker Robert Lewandowski has underlined the team's eagerness to bounce back after the loss to Monchengladbach.

"Of course we can play better. In the end, a draw would have been fair. Now we need to check off the defeat quickly and focus on Zenit St. Petersburg on Wednesday," he told Dortmund's official website.

Klopp could be without Marco Reus, who has missed Dortmund's last three games with a muscle problem, while Zenit's Aleksandr Ryazantsev, a January signing from Rubin Kazan, is not registered for the UEFA Champions League.

UEFA Champions League: Olympiacos v Manchester Utd

Manchester United travel to Olympiacos in good spirits for the first leg of their last-16 UEFA Champions League tie.

It was always going to be a tough season for the three-times champions of Europe, with David Moyes facing the unenviable task of replacing Alex Ferguson.

United's Premier League form may be inconsistent, but Moyes' men have looked convincing in the Champions League, topping Group A, remaining unbeaten and conceding just three goals in six games.

Last Friday's news that striker Wayne Rooney had signed a new deal until 2019 was well received by the club's supporters and the United and England striker scored 24 hours later in a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace.

Just as encouraging for Moyes is the return of Robin van Persie after a campaign that has been blighted by injury. The Dutchman has still managed to score 14 goals in all competitions this term, with four coming in his last five league games.

Moyes will check on the fitness of Phil Jones, Rafael da Silva and Jonny Evans, who all missed Saturday's win at Selhurst Park, while Danny Welbeck's knee injury looks set to keep him sidelined.

January signing Juan Mata is ineligible, having played for Chelsea earlier in the competition. In more positive news, Darren Fletcher has been added to United's Champions League squad.

United face an Olympiacos side that are coasting the Super League in Greece. Michel's men are unbeaten in the league since February last year and have this season amassed an astonishing goal difference of plus 69, conceding just nine goals.

Olympiacos made it to the last 16 in dramatic circumstances, finishing second in Group C behind Paris Saint-Germain to progress at the expense of Benfica thanks to a superior head-to-head record.

Michel's team could not be going into Tuesday's first leg in better form after demolishing OFI Crete 4-0 at the weekend, a game that included a hat-trick for Serbian striker Marko Scepovic. Like Mata, though, he is ineligible.

But the victory came at a price. Scepovic got his chance because of a thigh injury to forward Javier Saviola, who will now miss the match with United.

January additions Hernan Perez and Ivan Marcano are both available for Tuesday's clash, while Nelson Valdez also joined last month, but an ankle injury means he is a doubt.

The omens are not good for the Greek side. In four Champions League meetings with Manchester United, Olympiacos have been defeated four times, scoring just twice.

UEFA Champions League: Zenit v B. Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund's bid to improve on last season's runners-up finish in the UEFA Champions League resumes at Zenit.

Jurgen Klopp's men progressed past Shakhtar Donetsk, Malaga and Real Madrid in the knockout stages to reach the 2012-13 final, before ultimately coming unstuck against fellow Bundesliga side Bayern Munich, losing 2-1 at Wembley as a result of Arjen Robben's 89th-minute winner.

Dortmund topped Group F this term, albeit only narrowly after Arsenal and Napoli also finished on 12 points.

While the Italian side were eliminated from the Champions League, Zenit made it through to the last 16 with half as many points, having finished second in a group dominated by La Liga high-fliers Atletico Madrid.

Zenit's only win in Group G came against Porto, but that sole triumph combined with three draws proved enough to seal a place in the knockout rounds for the second time.

Dortmund, by contrast, had to win four matches to guarantee their progression – with a 2-1 victory at Marseille in matchday six ultimately proving crucial.

After enduring a shaky spell prior to the Bundesliga winter break, Dortmund looked set to return to Champions League action in fine form.

However, the club were sensationally denied a fourth straight league win on Saturday as relegation-threatened Hamburg recorded a shock 3-0 triumph.

Klopp's side are now 20 points behind leaders Bayern following the champions' 4-0 win at Hannover on Sunday, and a point adrift of second-placed Bayer Leverkusen.

Zenit, meanwhile, have not played a competitive match since their final Champions League group game on December 11 due to Russia's winter break and do not return to domestic action until March 9.

Luciano Spalletti's team sit top of the Russian Premier League thanks to a superior head-to-head record against Lokomotiv Moscow, who also have 40 points, but have been inconsistent in recent friendlies.

CSKA Moscow, Trans and Metalurh Donetsk all suffered defeats to Zenit, but the Russians were beaten by Shakhtar Donetsk and Metalist Kharkiv.

Spalletti will have a full squad to choose from barring any late fitness problems, meaning Salomon Rondon – a January signing from Rubin Kazan – could make his Champions League debut.

Marco Reus returned from injury against Hamburg and will be available once again, but Mats Hummels (ankle) is a doubt and Ilkay Gundogan (compression of the spine), Sven Bender (pubic bone inflammation), Neven Subotic (knee) and Jakub Blaszczykowski (knee) are definitely out.

UEFA Champions League: Bayer Leverkusen v PSG

The absence of Edinson Cavani may play a key role as Paris Saint-Germain visit Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Champions League last 16.

PSG reached the quarter-finals of last season's competition under the guidance of Carlo Ancelotti and look to be among the contenders this term after a strong group stage campaign.

Laurent Blanc's men lost just one game on their way to topping Group C, the setback coming against Benfica after the Ligue 1 champions had already secured progression.

The French capital club head into Tuesday's first leg at the BayArena in fine form, having lost once in 10 matches in all competitions since the end of the mid-season break.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has produced some of his best performances in the Champions League this season and is the tournament's second top-scorer with eight goals.

And the onus will likely be on the Sweden striker to deliver the goods again with strike partner Cavani - scorer of 20 goals since joining from Napoli - set to miss out because of a thigh injury picked up against Bordeaux last month.

Defender Christophe Jallet is the only other major injury concern, although the right-back is nearing a return to full fitness.

Leverkusen, meanwhile, will be without midfielder Emre Can due to suspension, while Stefan Reinartz (foot) is a doubt.

The hosts are depleted by the loss of strikers Eren Derdiyok (foot) and Robbie Kruse (knee).

Sami Hyypia's men qualified for the knock-out stages after finishing second behind Manchester United in Group A, with a 1-0 win at Real Sociedad in the final round of group fixtures ensuring Leverkusen's place in the last 16.

However, Leverkusen have been in disappointing form of late, winning just two of their previous seven outings.

But, after German sides Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund reached the final of last season's tournament, Blanc insists his PSG players are fully prepared for a difficult challenge against a team that sits second in the Bundesliga.

"The players will be ready because you know that we need to be physically ready as the Germans will be," Blanc said. "That is for sure because they (German sides) are very serious about preparation.

"They (Leverkusen) had a three-week winter break, it wasn't for no reason that last season two German teams reached the final of the Champions League."

 

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