11 March, 2014 - 13:34

Champions League preview: Bayern v Arsenal, Barcelona v Manchester City and other fixtures

Arsenal and Manchester City get ready for return legs of their Champions League last 16 clashes with Bayern Munich and Barcelona respectively.

Both English clubs need to overturn a 0-2 deficit after home games, a mission dubbed by many pundits as impossible. Arsenal will be playing without their main goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny, serving suspension following his red card at Emirates. Jack Wilshere, who broke foot while on international duty last week, will be out for 8 weeks. Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Kieran Gibbs and Yaya Sanogo are doubtful. Bayern Munich, who have been in incredible form this season, only have some concerns over Mario Gotze, Arjen Robben and Thomas Mueller. Both clubs should be in good mood after comfortable weekend victories as Arsenal beat Everton 4-1 in the FA Cup and Bayern put six past Wolfsburg on the road.

Manchester City and Barcelona both suffered astonishing defeats in weekend as the Citizens were knocked out from the FA Cup by second-tier Wigan Athletic and the Catalans dropped to third place in La Liga after a 1-0 loss to Real Valladolid. The only absentee for the visitors will be Martin Demichelis, who had seen a red card in the first leg. Barcelona could miss Andres Iniesta, who has not played in the last match due to personal reasons.

Atletico Madrid, who have climbed to the runner-up spot in La Liga after Barcelona had slipped at Valladolid, host struggling AC Milan at Vicente Calderon. Mario Balotelli returns from shoulder injury, but Riccardo Montolivo will serve suspension. Diego Simeone has no problems with the squad.

Bayer Leverkusen visit to Paris is a mere formality after the Germans were torn apart at home three weeks back. Sami Hyypia has not won a match since 7 February and is struggling to keep a Champions League place for the next season. Laurent Blanc, in his turn, has an eight-point gap at the top of Ligue 1 and is unlikely to let Monaco come close until the end of the season. He can now concentrate on the major European competition.

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Author: Leon Smolski

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11 March 2014, 14:54

I think Premier League clubs are in trouble now. I don't see how they beat Bayern and Barcelona on the road...

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