| -2°C Dublin

city in focus Tommy Martin previews Wednesday's Champions League action

Manchester City are in action as they aim to justify their status as Champions League favourites

Close

Tommy Martin host Virgin Media Sport's Champions League coverage

Tommy Martin host Virgin Media Sport's Champions League coverage

Tommy Martin host Virgin Media Sport's Champions League coverage

The Champions League resumes with more last-16 ties this week, with all matches to be broadcast live on Virgin Media Sport, with their host Tommy Martin writing exclusively for sundayworld.com to preview the big matches.

Wednesday

Borussia Moenchengladbach v Manchester City – Live on Virgin Media Two from 7pm

Manchester City are rapidly approaching the dream scenario. Their sensational Premier League winning streak means they may well have a third title in four seasons wrapped up in good time to devote their attentions to the holy grail of the Champions League.

Ten points clear at the top, none of their domestic rivals looks likely to sustain a challenge to bridge the gap, so Europe will soon loom again as the final frontier for Pep’s City.

Close

Guardiola, with Messi in his side, won the Champions League twice at Barcelona (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Guardiola, with Messi in his side, won the Champions League twice at Barcelona (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Guardiola, with Messi in his side, won the Champions League twice at Barcelona (Sean Dempsey/PA)

For some strange reason, Guardiola can’t help getting in his own way when it comes to the crunch in the Champions League. City have been undone by bad luck, poor finishing and odd tactical calamity by their manager in their four previous exits in the Pep era.

None of which should matter much against Borussia, who are toiling in eighth in the Bundesliga and have seen their coach Marco Rose agree a deal to move to Dortmund in the summer.

City should keep their quadruple hopes going without too much fuss.

Atalanta v Real Madrid – Live on Virgin Media Sport Extra 1 from 7.15pm

Like the Germans at World Cups, you can never write off Real Madrid. Except, maybe you can this season. Certainly any time we have discussed it in studio, none of our panel have given them a sniff of a chance of adding to their 13 Champions League titles.

A group stage campaign that included home and away defeats to Shakhtar Donetsk wouldn’t suggest they are about to rekindle the golden spell that saw them win four Champions League crowns in five seasons in the last decade.

A failure to refresh the squad from that glory era has been a big problem, with Real still reliant on inspiration from the likes of Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos. Any team would struggle to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, but the signing of Eden Hazard (just four goals in two injury-marred seasons) has been a disaster.

Close

Eden Hazard's disappointing first season at Real Madrid has been disrupted by injury. Photo: REUTERS/Jon Nazca

Eden Hazard's disappointing first season at Real Madrid has been disrupted by injury. Photo: REUTERS/Jon Nazca

Eden Hazard's disappointing first season at Real Madrid has been disrupted by injury. Photo: REUTERS/Jon Nazca

Now Real face the Champions League’s entertainers-in-chief. If you haven’t managed to catch an Atalanta game since their debut run to the quarter-finals last season, do yourself a favour and give Gian Piero Gasperini’s all-out attacking side a look.

The fact that you don’t know what you’re going to get with them is half the fun. In the group stage they lost 5-0 at home to Liverpool then beat the Reds 2-0 at Anfield a few weeks later.

If they produce the latter form, maybe we will be able to write off Real.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors


Top Videos





Privacy