Real Madrid v Schalke
Real Madrid showed they are a strong contender and could be on track to winning their 10th European title.
The Spanish side completely outplayed Schalke to secure a 6-1 win in their last 16, first leg tie. Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo were unstoppable, scoring two goals each.
Despite their best efforts, the German side’s defence was not able to stop Real’s attacking trio.
Schalke Coach Jens Keller said: “When you see how much we ran, we tried, sure. But we did not run together. Instead, everyone covered distances – but not as a team.”
Paris Saint-German v Bayern
Paris Saint-Germain also notched up a big win in Germany and, like Real, look to have assured their place in the quarter finals. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice and was the main man in the 4-0 victory at Leverkusen.
The second leg should bring no surprises. The French side are undefeated in their last 27 European matches at Parc Des Princes.
Barcelona v Man City
Barcelona went to Manchester and beat City 2-0 in a match decided by Martin Demichelis’ sending off at the 53rd minute. That resulted in a penalty scored by Lionel Messi. Dani Alves scored the second goal in the final few minutes.
Bayern Munich v Arsenal
Like last year, Bayern started the knock-out stage with a victory at the Emirates Stadium – this time 2-0. Again, just like last year, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller scored against Arsenal.
Borussia Dortmund v Zenit St. Petersburg
Borussia Dortmund are having a nightmare of a season domestically, so they’re trying to save their year in Europe. So far, so good; even on his way to Bayern, Lewandowski could not stop scoring, netting a brace in their 4-2 win in Saint Petersburg.
Atlético Madrid v Milan
The biggest surprise in European football so far has been Atletico Madrid, who ran into some trouble at Giuseppe Meazza. Kaka and Balotelli seemed to be back at their best but were unable to overcome the Spanish defensive line. Diego Costa, seven minutes from time, scored the only goal of the match
Chelsea v Galatasaray
In Istanbul, Galatasaray and Chelsea drew 1-1. The English side scored first, courtesy of Fernando Torres. They missed several opportunities to make it 2-0 and ended up seeing the Turkish equalise in the second half. Aurelien Chedjou scored with a header after a corner kick.
Chelsea manager José Mourinho said: “Some other teams they have three chances, they score three goals. We have five, we score one. And this is not a critic to [criticism of] the strikers like sometimes people think. Just in the profile of the team we have.
Manchester United v Olympiakos
The biggest disappointment of the first leg was Manchester United, who were beaten 2-0 at Olympiakos. More worrying than the result was the fact that they were never able to challenge the Greek champions. The departure of Sir Alex Ferguson cannot be the only reason. This is the a team that won the Premier League by 11 points last year. Despite the horrendous season, and the growing dissatisfaction amongst supporters, David Moyes still has the full confidence of the board.
United’s defeat adds yet more colour to the picture of English football in crisis. Like last year, England risks having no teams in the European final eight All three Spanish clubs are on the right track, while the German teams range from very good to very bad.
The second leg of the Champions League last 16 begins on March 13.