2023/24 Champions League predictions: Last 16 first legs

Crunch time officially begins in the UEFA Champions League as the best teams in Europe eye victories in the first legs of their last 16 ties.

The group stage saw holders Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid all dominate and those continental giants will be confident of reaching the quarter-finals, though each have proven performers standing between them and a spot in the next round.

The Champions League throws up shocks year after year, but what can we expect from the first legs of the 2023/24 last 16?

Here’s how 90min sees the games across Europe panning out.

Tuesday 13 February

Jude BellinghamJude Bellingham

Bellingham is sidelined through injury / Denis Doyle/GettyImages

Manchester City have fully entered Terminator-mode, blitzing any and all opposition to have unfortunately stumbled into their path in recent weeks. Erling Haaland is scoring again and the Cityzens’ trip to Scandinavia to take on Copenhagen should be successful if not a little tighter than expected.

The Danish side squeezed through in Group A having dramatically bested Manchester United and Galatasaray, also holding Bayern Munich to a draw, so Pep Guardiola will be aware of their organisation and durability.

Over in Germany, a Jude Bellingham-less Real Madrid will roll into Saxony with the hope of snaring a first-leg lead over RB Leipzig.

Los Blancos made an emphatic statement in the La Liga title race at the weekend, thumping closest challengers Girona 4-0, and face the Red Bull establishment at an ideal time. Leipzig are down in fifth in the Bundesliga having won just one of their last six games, but the likes of Lois Openda, Xavi Simons and Benjamin Sesko will still look to make the most of the opportunity against one of the tournament favourites.

Kick-off Time (GMT)

Fixture & Prediction

20:00

Copenhagen 1-2 Manchester City

20:00

RB Leipzig 0-2 Real Madrid

Wednesday 14 February

Harry KaneHarry Kane

Kane’s Bayern need to bounce back in the Champions League / Stefan Matzke – sampics/GettyImages

Bayern Munich threatened to throw the Bundesliga title away last season and are in more danger this time around despite Harry Kane’s goal-laden debut campaign, with the 3-0 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen creating a five-point chasm at the top of the Bundesliga.

Whether Thomas Tuchel’s Bavarians are good enough to salvage some silverware via the Champions League is a question that could be answered against Lazio, where things are rarely settled. Ciro Immobile brought up his 200th Serie A goal at the weekend but might not hit the back of the net on Wednesday.

An intriguing clash of styles will take place in France’s capital when Paris Saint-Germain welcome Real Sociedad. It may well be Kylian Mbappe’s last shot at UCL glory with the Ligue 1 giants and his breakaway threat could prove decisive against the La Liga outfit.

Kick-off Time (GMT)

Fixture & Prediction

20:00

Lazio 0-2 Bayern Munich

20:00

Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Real Sociedad

Tuesday 20 February

AS Roma v FC Inter Milan - Serie AAS Roma v FC Inter Milan - Serie A

Inter are on course to reclaim the Serie A title / Anadolu/GettyImages

No side in Italy has managed to keep up with Serie A leaders Inter, who have suffered just one league defeat all season. Lautaro Martinez is enjoying another fine campaign but the Nerazzurri must navigate one of the trickiest ties possible against Atletico Madrid in their bid to go one better than last season.

Diego Simeone’s antagonists aren’t in La Liga title contension but are due a good run in Europe, having failed to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League since 2017. Star forward Antoine Griezmann has also been in good form throughout 2023/24.

There’s a fair amount of upset potential for the encounter between Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven and German giants Borussia Dortmund.

Peter Bosz’s PSV are unbeaten in Dutch league action this year but do remain worryingly reliant on the goals of veteran Luuk de Jong. That said, BVB wilted in the last 16 last year to Chelsea and may struggle for an authoritative showing in the first leg in Eindhoven.

Kick-off Time (GMT)

Fixture & Prediction

20:00

Inter 2-1 Atletico Madrid

20:00

PSV Eindhoven 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

Wednesday 21 February

Declan Rice, Gabriel Magalhaes, Bukayo SakaDeclan Rice, Gabriel Magalhaes, Bukayo Saka

Arsenal last reached the Champions League quarter-finals in 2010 / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

Porto remain the last Portuguese club to win the Champions League, triumphing in 2004 under Jose Mourinho, but they face a steep task in attempting to knock out Arsenal.

The English giants have enjoyed their return to top-tier European football this season and look as lethal as ever, scoring heavily in recent wins over Liverpool and West Ham to quieten talk of a soft touch up front.

Two clubs loved by the late Diego Maradona collide when Napoli host Barcelona. The Serie A champions’ title defence has been shocking and with key performers destined to leave in the summer, these games might be their last in the Champions League for some time.

Barca’s own reign in Spain is set to be cut short later this season due to some pitiful performances, so this one has all the ingredients for a desperate and entertaining first leg.

Kick-off Time (GMT)

Fixture & Prediction

20:00

Porto 1-3 Arsenal

20:00

Napoli 2-2 Barcelona

READ 90MIN’S MATCH PREVIEWS FOR THE 2023/24 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LAST 16 FIRST LEGS

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