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UEFA Champions League preview: what to look out for this week

Thomas Tuchel takes on a new challenge with Chelsea, Robert Lewandowski meets his goalscoring nemesis from last season and Real Madrid and Manchester City face novel tests.

Fixtures (click for live build-up)

Tuesday 23 February
Atlético vs Chelsea
Lazio vs Bayern

Wednesday 24 February
Atalanta vs Real Madrid
Mönchengladbach vs Man. City

Atlético fortress awaits Tuchel's Blues

Thomas Tuchel took Paris through the group stage, but arrives in the round of 16 as Chelsea manager, with a diamond-hard tie against Atlético. Diego Simeone's side remain sabre-toothed at home; they have lost only one of their last 29 European home games – though that was against Chelsea, 2-1 in the 2017/18 group stage. The Blues won 4-0 at Sevilla in their last game in Spain: a good omen for their new boss?

Immobile vs Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski won almost everything last season, except the ESM Golden Shoe –awarded to Europe's top domestic league scorer. He comes up against the man who denied him that honour in the round of 16, Ciro Immobile. The Lazio man is struggling to keep up with Lewandowski in league terms this season, but outscored him 5–3 in the group stage. Will the two star strikers be the ones to settle this tie?

Can Atalanta unsettle Real Madrid?

On paper, no contest: Atalanta, in only their second UEFA Champions League campaign versus the 13-time European champions. However, La Dea excel in causing bigger sides problems: they won 2-0 at Liverpool in the group stage, and eliminated another Spanish side, Valencia, in last season's round of 16. "I have the maximum respect for them," said Madrid boss Zinédine Zidane.

Gladbach out to break City spell

Gladbach failed to win in four group stage meetings with City in recent seasons (D1 L3) but can take courage from history in their first UEFA Champions League knockout tie. Back in 1978/79, the Foals eliminated City en route to winning the 1978/79 UEFA Cup. City are daunting opponents who have been in a miserly mood domestically, but home boss Marco Rose is not conceding just yet: "It's a big challenge, of course, but we are still looking forward to it."

Source: UEFA 

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