Following Matchday 1's impressive showing from PSG's 4-1 win over Barca, behind Kylian Mbappe's hat-trick, and Liverpool's 2-0 victory over RB Leipzig, things got out to a raucous start for this season's Champion's League Knockout Round. Can match day 2's matchups follow suit? Juve travels to Porto in hopes of continuing their impressive performances since the return to play in new year. While Sevilla hosts a wildly talented, yet underwhelming Borussia Dortmund team who just hasn't been able to put it all together at the right time yet. What to watch for, and who do I have winning? Follow along below to find out:
Juventus vs FC Porto
If you're a Porto fan, let me start by apologizing now. This is not the Porto from Champions League competitions past. With injuries to many starters, and an aging Pepe, unfortunately there's not much going in favor for the reigning Portuguese champions. Juventus has been on a tear lately, with everyone on their attack getting in on the fun. Weston McKennie has been solid in midfield, and his late runs into the box have led him to scoring a few more goals than anyone projected from the young American. Not to mention there's still the man, the myth, the legend, Cristiano Ronaldo leading the Juventus attack. CR7 is still one of the deadliest players around the box, and his free kicks are still things of legend. The attacking depth and prowess from Juve is going to be too much for this inexperienced and ailing Porto team. Sadly this might go down as the worst match up in this years knockout stage round of 16.
Prediction: Juventus 3-0.
Borussia Dortmund vs Sevilla
Unlike the other game today, this BVB and Sevilla matchup has all the makings of must watch TV. BVB has approximately 7 starters that are all linked with moves away from Dortmund in the offseason, includng superstar striker Erling Haaland. With Sancho and Reyna linking together in the attacking midfield, they will look to slot Haaland in behind the back line to try and get the advantage over this Sevilla team. The one problem? Sevilla is a tactical nightmare to face.
Discipline is in their blood, any player for this Sevilla team knows their role, and breaths their role. With Jesus Navas handling duties out wide defensively, the Sevilla team is also quick enough to keep up with most any through runs and smart enough that the guys they can't keep up with, always end up in the offside position. Sevilla has long been a presence in Europe, dominating the Europa League competitions for nearly a decade. Now with a chance to do something on the big stage, it's not unthinkable that they can force BVB into a few mental mistakes that lead to Sevilla chances, and with their discipline and lethality in front of the net, it won't be long before those mistakes get punished.
If you're BVB you know this, and want to play safe, which unfortunately is against every fiber of their being, and will likely end up being their downfall, instead they should buck traditional wisdom and play their quick, lightning-like build-up and try the courageous through balls in hope they will catch Sevilla over-thinking the play. With most teams who are tactically sound, you can sometimes fool them into believing you won't continue to play your game, and instead play to suit their play, in turn giving the game up by being scared. Especially with this game being in Sevilla, BVB have nothing to lose by going for an away goal, however if they get caught on the break it will likely be Mats Hummels or bust in stopping Sevilla from having any 1-on-1 chances with the keeper.
All-in-all, this game hopes to be a fun watch, while starting a little cagey, look for it to open up around the 35 minute mark and begin to be more free-flowing for BVB with crisp passes that end up either finding their target deep in their attacking end, or rolling harmlessly to Sevilla's keeper to restart the possession football that Sevilla has come to be known for in these dominant years in Europe.
Prediction: Sevilla 2-0.