This week's second leg fixtures:
Manchester City v. Dynamo Kiev
Atletico Madrid v. PSV Eindhoven
Barcelona v. Arsenal
Bayern Munich v. Juventus
The Citizens won 3-1 in Ukraine with goals from star trio Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Yaya Toure. While Manchester City are huge favorites to advance the farthest they ever have in the storied competition, they have struggled domestically, winning only once in their past five Premier League games including a recent 3-0 defeat at Liverpool and a nil-nil draw at lowly Norwich over the weekend. Can Andriy Yarmolenko and company take that slight glimmer of hope and somehow explode for a trio of goals while also keeping the Sky Blues' offense in check at the Etihad?
The Eindhoven/Atletico opener in Holland featured a spirited defensive effort from the home side following the second half sending off of Gaston Pereiro, frustrating the visitors in a scoreless affair. Now the Spanish side needs a win, while the Dutch squad would happily settle for a draw so long as it involves any number of goals. Atletico have allowed the fewest tallies in La Liga while scoring only about half as many times as Barcelona and Real Madrid, whereas Eindhoven boast the most prolific offense in the Eredivisie while conceding considerably more often than Ajax. Will Diego Simeone's defense-first scheme do enough to win or will Andres Guardado's attacking approach led by Luuk De Jong prevail at Vicente Calderon Stadium?
The Gunners had their chances at the Emirates but were unable to convert them, as defending champion Barcelona returns home to Camp Nou with a 2-0 victory in its pocket thanks to the second half heroics of some guy named Lionel Messi. Will Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez's Arsenal somehow be able to overcome recent injuries to Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny and Aaron Ramsey and avoid crashing out of the F.A. Cup and the Champions League in a span of three days? After all, following a 3-1 home loss to Monaco in the same round last year, the Londoners responded with a rousing 2-0 victory to make things interesting (albeit losing via the away goal tiebreaker). Then again, even with Gerard Pique suspended, Barca remains a daunting step up in class from that spirited French side with li'l Lionel and fellow international all-stars Jordi Alba, Dani Alves, Andres Iniesta, Javier Mascherano, Neymar, Ivan Rakitic and Luis Suarez.
Bayern Munich looked like it had put things away in Turin with scores from Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben, but Juventus rocked back with a pair of goals in the last half hour to equalize, giving it plenty of needed confidence heading into the second leg. Despite faltering, Bayern's pair of away strikes have the 2012-13 champions needing only a low-scoring draw at Allianz Arena to advance while Juve will likely have to strive for outright conquest. In the only battle among this week's quartet of games between current first place teams in their domestic leagues, shall the German or Italian giants push through to the quarters?