Are there more Miracles to happen in the UEFA Champions League?

Are there more Miracles to happen in the UEFA Champions League?

After many surprising drop-outs in the UEFA Champions League so far, FC Schalke 04 and Juventus Turin try to make up their first leg losses in the round of 16 against Manchester City and Atletico Madrid this Tuesday at 3 PM (ET).

English Premier League leader Manchester City took over the German host FC Schalke 04 in the first leg. In the Veltins Arena, the Citizens claimed an essential 2-3 away victory even though defender Nicolas Otamendi saw the yellow-red card in minute 68. Schalke, that was up 2-1 because midfielder Bentaleb scored two penalty goals, could not hold the lead over the full length of the match. City’s German winger Leroy Sane, a product of Schalke’s youth academy called “Knappenschmiede,” was substituted in and equalized per brilliant freekick. A few minutes later, English youngster, Raheem Sterling scored the leading 3-2 after a long pass assist by goalkeeper Ederson.

Last Premier League weekend, Manchester won 3-1 versus FC Watford and thus saved their sixth consecutive league victory. At the beginning of the second half, winger Sterling completed the decisive hattrick (minute 46, 50, 59). Opposed to that, FC Schalke 04 remains seven Bundesliga games without a victory. The “Knappen” received 14 goals in the last four matches including the first leg against Manchester City. The 4-2 loss at Werder Bremen last weekend brought royal blue once again closer to the relegation rank number 16. Both coaches will not be able to rely on all their players. City’s Otamendi and Fernandinho are not eligible to play due to their yellow-red and yellow cards in the first leg. Moreover, playmaker Kevin De Bruyne is questionable because he still deals with a hamstring injury. Schalke’s Daniel Caligiuri suffered a syndesmosis ligament tear this weekend.

Juventus Turin is the undisputed top in the Italian Serie A. Juve is ranked first being 16 points ahead of persecutor SSC Napoli. In 2019, Juventus only lost two points in the Serie A (3-3 vs. Parma Calcio). More and more experts name the Italians as the top Champions League title aspirant. The more surprising was not only the 0-2 loss at Atletico Madrid in the first leg but also Juventus’ harmless offense.

In the first half, both teams were neutralizing each other. In minute nine, Cristiano Ronaldo tested Atletico keeper Oblak with a freekick and three minutes later defender Bonucci could not direct his header towards the Atletico goal. On the other side, Juve keeper Szczesny could save a Griezman freekick from close distance in minute 27. The second half was dominated by Atletico that could not utilize their first two opportunities. Diego Costa, as well as Griezmann, failed to score. Los Colchoneros scored a goal in person of Alvaro Morata in minute 70 which referee Felix Zwayer, in assistance with the video referee, denied because the Spanish striker fouled defender Chiellini prior to the goal. Nevertheless, defenders Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin netted two goals after freekicks that Juventus could not clear to the final 2-0 score.

Atletico saved the second La Liga spot in front of city rival Real Madrid last weekend with a 1-0 home win over CD Leganes. Los Colchoneros are now eight points ahead of Real and seven points behind FC Barcelona. Center Midfielder Thomas and Striker Costa will not be able to participate in the second leg. Both players recorded their third yellow card in the Champions League competition.

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