The UEFA Champions League returns on the evening of Tuesday 15th February 2011 when the opening pair of Round of 16 first leg ties are scheduled to take place.
AC Milan v Tottenham – Kick-Off (CET) 20:45
Spurs travel to the San Siro – the stadium which saw them battle back from 4-0 down to lose 4-3 in this season’s group phase match against Inter – to face Italian Serie A leaders AC Milan.
Tottenham are without Gareth Bale, the Welsh winger who has been a revelation in Europe this term, but he will be replaced once again by Niko Kranjcar, who has hit top form himself, including scoring a good winner at Sunderland in the English Premier League on the weekend. Rafael van der Vaart will play, too, though Peter Crouch and Luka Modric are both recovering from injury and illness respectively, and may not make the starting line-up.
Andrea Pirlo and Massimo Ambrosini will be big misses for Milan, who will not be able to play the ineligible trio of Antonio Cassano, Mark van Bommel and Urby Emanuelson, all of whom signed in January.
Tottenham have been playing attacking football in Europe this season – at home and away – so expect them to seek out an away goal. Much will depend upon Michael Dawson, in Spurs’ defence, and, probably even more so, on Gomes, in their goal, if they are to return to London with a competitive scoreline from this opening leg.
Valencia v Schalke 04 – Kick-Off (CET) 20:45
Valencia, of Spain’s La Liga, and Schalke, of Germany’s Bundesliga meet in Valencia’s Mestalla for the opening leg of their last 16 tie.
Valencia came through a group which contained Manchester United, scoring 15 goals in the process, while Schalke topped their group, which contained Lyon and Benfica.
The match is the first time that former Real Madrid striker, Raul, now of Schalke, will play in Spain since signing for the Germans, however, Valencia have a mean strike-force of their own, spearheaded by Roberto Soldado, which ensures that this match will not be without goal-scoring opportunities.
As ever in Champions League knockout stages, any away goals may prove vital, so Valencia will have to be somewhat cautious in their approach to this opening leg.
UEFA Champions League 2011 – Round of 16 1st Leg Fixtures, Tuesday 15th February 2011
- AC Milan v Tottenham – Kick-Off (CET) 20:45
- Valencia v Schalke 04 – Kick-Off (CET) 20:45