Tedesco: Perfect day required

Schalke head coach Domenico Tedesco accepts his side have to have a 'perfect day' to get anything out of their Champions League clash with Manchester City.

Die Konigsblauen host the first leg of their last-16 tie against the reigning champions of England on Wednesday evening, with the home side going into the game having not won any of their last four Bundesliga matches.

And Tedesco is aware that his team will definitely be the underdogs, but he also said his team deserve to be in the knockout stages, having qualified from a group which also included FC Porto, Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow.

He told reporters: "We are the clear underdogs in the game, that much is obvious, but we deserve to be here because we advanced deservedly from a group of good teams.

"Tomorrow we have to have a perfect day if we are to get anything out of the game."

Schalke are priced at 11/2 to gain a draw on Wednesday, with the visitors 2/7 to win the game and 11/2 to do so by a 2-0 scoreline.

Meanwhile, Serbian defender Matija Nastasic is looking forward to the challenge of facing the Citizens, who he played for between the summer of 2012 and January 2015.

He added on the official Schalke website: "We are facing one of the best teams in the whole of Europe. City basically don't have any weaknesses.

"They score lots of goals, are technically amazing, press effectively and have great players in every position.

"Obviously it's not going to be easy and we know we will go into the game as the underdogs. Despite that, we still have a chance and we will give everything we've got."

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Chiellini talks up Ronaldo impact

Veteran Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini believes the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo could be the key to the club taking the final step in the Champions League.

Despite dominating Italian domestic football for a number of years, Juve have been unable to add to the two European Cup successes they enjoyed in 1985 and 1996.

They reached the final in both 2015 and 2017, losing out to Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, leaving Chiellini and his colleagues trying to fathom out what they needed to do to make that final step.

However, the Italy central defender thinks the big-money recruitment of former Real superstar Ronaldo could be exactly what they need.

He told Marca: "Ronaldo? His arrival was important. In terms of personality, he covered the void left by (Gianluigi) Buffon's departure. Only a fool would’ve doubted his ability to score goals and provide assists.

"After having dominated in Italy for many years we could have thought we had reached the top, but thanks to Cristiano we are going beyond our limits.

"We have played in two Champions League finals, but we are missing the last step."

Juve have been handed a very tricky tie in the last-16 of the Champions League, where they take on Atletico Madrid, with the first leg in the Spanish capital on Wednesday evening.

A goalless draw on Wednesday is priced at 11/2, with Juve 13/8 to keep a clean sheet, while Ronaldo is 13/10 to score at any time on his return to Madrid.

The two sides last met in the Champions League in late 2014, when the match in Turin ended goalless and Arda Turan scored the only goal of the game in Spain.

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Genesio hails Ndombele potential

Lyon head coach Bruno Genesio has tipped rising midfield star Tanguy Ndombele to be a success at a major European powerhouse in the future.

The 22-year-old, who made his senior debut for France in October of last year, is set to have a chance to show just what he can do against the best in Europe when Lyon host Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

And Genesio has no doubts that Ndombele has the quality needed to rise to the top, likening his player to France World Cup winner, Paul Pogba, once of Juventus and now at Manchester United.

He told Tuttosport: "I do not like comparisons, but Ndombele can be a new Pogba. He is strong physically and, above all, technically.

"Tanguy with the first touch manages to beat even three players and when he starts dribbling he is difficult to stop. He can play in any position in midfield.

"He has started scoring, but in the future I expect him to develop at the goal level. He must become a midfielder with eight-to-10 goals per season.

"Tanguy Ndombele will become a leading midfielder. I would not be surprised to see him at Juventus, but I would like to enjoy him a little more here at Lyon first."

Lyon and Barcelona have played six times previously in the Champions League, with the French club yet to register a victory against the Spanish giants.

Les Gones are 7/2 to win the game on Tuesday evening, with a 1-1 draw priced at 13/2 and a 2-2 final scoreline available at 11/1.

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Alisson expects Reds to cope

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker is confident his side will be able to cope without suspended defender Virgil van Dijk when they face Bayern Munich.

Record signing Van Dijk is forced to sit out the Champions League last-16 first leg match at Anfield on Tuesday evening, but his Reds colleague believes that other players will be able to step in and plug the gap effectively.

Alisson told Premier League Productions: "All the defenders have played so when one comes in and one leaves, we don't feel that loss because we're all used to each other.

"That the backline are all able to communicate with each other and know each other really well, is vital for any team.

"Once you've cracked it, you've got it and we seem confident."

A number of reports suggest that midfielder Fabinho could be the man to take the place of Netherlands stopper Van Dijk.

Meanwhile, Bayern have suffered a defensive blow of their own, with Jerome Boateng having not travelled to England due to illness.

Liverpool and Bayern have, somewhat surprisingly, only met in one previous European Cup tie – that in the semi-finals in 1981 – when a Ray Kennedy goal gave the Reds victory on away goals after the tie ended level at 1-1.

The Merseysiders went on to win the final against Real Madrid, with Alan Kennedy scoring the only goal of the game in Paris.

Liverpool are 21/20 to win the game on Tuesday evening and are 11/1 to claim a 2-0 victory, with the Reds 4/5 to reach the quarter-finals at the expense of Bayern.

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Simeone signs new contract

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has signed a new contract that will keep him at the club until 2022.

The Argentine has been in charge at Atletico since 2011 and during that time the club have won the Europa League twice and La Liga in 2014.

He also led the club to two Champions League finals, their first, losing both times to Real Madrid, in 2014 and 2016.

This season they are third in the league, behind Real Madrid and leaders Barcelona and, having qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League, face Juventus in the round of 16.

The first leg is in Madrid next week with Atletico 9/5 to win, Juventus are 13/8 with the draw 21/10.

His success in Spain has led to speculation that he would make the move to the Premier League but he looks set to stay in Spain for the foreseeable future and said, on signing the new deal, that he is focused on an exciting future for the club.

On Atletico's Twitter feed Simeone said: "I see hard work, I see players focused on improving, I see excitement, I see youth.

"All of this can make us grow as a team, and I know that if the four legs remain strong and firm like they have until now, we're going to continue in the same way.

"Fans, players, officials and coaches. That's been a big strength of ours, and we must not change in the future."

Atletico lost their last La Liga game at home to Real Madrid and are back in action on Saturday when they play away to Rayo Vallecano.

Atletico are 20/1 to win this season's La Liga with Barcelona 1/7 and Real 11/2.

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Lovren doubtful for Bayern game

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says that Dejan Lovren is not expected to be fit in time for the side's meeting with Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

The teams meet at Anfield on Tuesday in the round of 16 first-leg and Liverpool will be without Virgil van Dijk who is suspended for the game.

However, Lovren is unlikely to play as his replacement. The Croatian suffered a hamstring injury against Wolves last month and has not travelled with the squad to their warm-weather training camp in the south of Spain.

Klopp admits that Lovren is not expected to be fit for Tuesday night's game.

He said: "I don't want to rule it out but I cannot really plan with it.

"He is not here for good reasons, because he cannot be part of training. We are back on Friday. Then from Saturday on, Dejan is back at Melwood and we will see.

"But in the moment we prepare the game and in this preparation Dejan is not involved. We have to find other solutions."

Klopp though did have better news on Georginio Wijnaldum who had been ill and missed training in Marbella.

His manager said that he was recovering and should be in contention to face the Bundesliga champions.

Liverpool are 1/1 to win the first-leg and take a lead to Germany with Bayern 23/10 and the draw 14/5.

Liverpool are without a match this weekend with the FA Cup fifth round ties taking place, having lost to Wolves in the third round.

Klopp's side are second in the Premier League table and follow the Bayern fixture with a match away to Manchester United next Sunday.

Liverpool are 6/5 to win their first Premier League title with Manchester City 8/11 to retain the trophy they won last year.

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Poch relishes Spurs performance

Mauricio Pochettino paid tribute to his amazing Spurs players after they secured a 3-0 win against Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Goals from Son Heung-Min, Jan Vertonghen and Fernando Llorente gave Tottenham a huge advantage to take into the second leg, with Pochettino clearly joyful at how his side have reacted to having to make do without several injured players.

He told reporters: "The team is fighting, I am so proud. They deserve full credit. What they are doing is amazing.

"It's good because the expectation when people watch Tottenham is not only to win, it's to see a (good) performance.

"That is very good, we feel very proud when people expect that from our performance, but sometimes people underestimate us.

"We play much better than people assess us sometimes, but you cannot fight with the perception of people. I am happy with the performance and the circumstances we have."

Meanwhile, Pochettino also warned against thinking that the tie was already done and dusted, with the return in Dortmund taking place on Tuesday 5th March.

He added: "Three-nil is a very good result, but at the same time I think we need to think that we need to finish the job.

"Always when we play this competition and against a good side like Dortmund it is very difficult."

Tottenham can now be backed at 1/20 to reach the Champions League quarter-finals, with Dortmund available at 10/1, while the Londoners are 16/1 to win the competition.

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Sarri still searching for answers

Head coach Maurizio Sarri accepts that he is still trying to sort out the problems in mentality he feels are preventing his Chelsea side from producing their best form.

The Blues were thrashed 6-0 by Manchester City last Sunday, leaving them down in sixth place in the Premier League and facing a huge challenge to try and recover and secure a top-four finish.

Their next assignment is a Europa League last-32 first leg trip to Sweden to take on Malmo on Thursday evening, with Sarri hoping to see a positive reaction from his players.

He told reporters: "We talked all together for one hour the day after the match, but I think that it's better to work. Better to react on the pitch.

"It's not easy to play after a 6-0, but we have to play and we have to play well. We want to win and react immediately. In my opinion the last game was not a problem of motivation.

"We were not able to react to the first difficulty during the match, because in the first four or five minutes, we'd actually started well.

"Then, after their first goal, we were not able to react. So the problem is different, but it's always a mind problem, a mental problem, so we need to solve them."

Chelsea have never previously met Malmo in a competitive fixture and are 2/5 to claim a victory on Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, the Blues are 4/1 to go all the way and win the Europa League this season and are 5/4 to claim a top-four finish in the Premier League.

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Emery eyes Champions League spot

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery hopes to see his side go all the way in the Europa League this season and in doing so secure a return to the Champions League.

The Gunners have been absent from the premier European club competition in both of the last two seasons and Emery is eager to end that run sooner rather than later.

A top-four finish in the Premier League would ensure the same reward, with Arsenal currently in fifth place, but just one point behind a resurgent Manchester United.

Ahead of a last-32 first leg away to BATE Borisov on Thursday evening, Emery – a three-time winner of the competition whilst with Sevilla – told reporters: "Our target is clear: to play next year in the Champions League, but we know it's not easy.

"We have two ways now, one is the Europa League and to win it is very difficult. In the Premier League we also have the possibility.

"The big challenge is thinking only about the next match, improving individually and collectively, creating a big mentality for us."

The Gunners met BATE in the group stages of the Europa League last season, when the game in Belarus ended in a 4-2 victory for the visitors, who then claimed a 6-0 win in the return fixture at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal can be backed at 4/11 to win on Thursday evening and are 11/2 to claim a 2-0 victory, with the Gunners 6/1 to go all the way and win the Europa League this season.

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Solari targets four in a row

Santiago Solari does not think it is beyond the realms of possibility for Real Madrid to win a fourth consecutive Champions League this season.

Real face Ajax in the last 16 of the competition and are 10/1 to win Wednesday's first leg in Amsterdam 2-0.

When the draw for the last 16 was made in December, Real were struggling but they have picked up recently and Saturday's 3-1 victory at Atletico Madrid was their fifth La Liga win in a row.

In contrast Ajax have been poor of late, slumping to an embarrassing 6-2 defeat at Feyenoord last month and losing to mid-table Heracles at the weekend.

Real Madrid  have beaten Atletico, Juventus and Liverpool in the last three Champions League finals and can be backed at 10/1 to win the competition again this season.

Asked whether he thought his team could win the Champions League again this term, Solari replied: "Nothing is impossible for Real Madrid.

"Ajax are very well-known for their work in the youth system, for their commitment to young talent and their offensive football.

"That's the way they still work, with a team that has already shown that it was competitive last year and that it remains competitive this year.

"The tie is going to be difficult, like all these occasions in the Champions League."

Real are 1/5 to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League and 5/2 to keep a clan sheet against Ajax on Wednesday.