The Champions League returns this weekend with four last-16 ties to be concluded before the competition moves on to the novel final stages in Lisbon next week.

It has been almost five months since Liverpool lost to Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain knocked out Borussia Dortmund on the last night of Champions League games before Covid-19 shut down football across the continent.

We already know that PSG will play Red Bull Leipzig and Atletico will face Atalanta in the quarter-finals, with the games this Friday and Saturday deciding the line-up for the other last-eight fixtures.

All the remaining games in the competition will kick off at 8pm and it is straight knock out football at the homes of Benfica and Sporting from the quarter-final stage on.


Friday 7 August

Manchester City (2) v Real Madrid (1), Etihad Stadium – Live on RTÉ2

City are joint favourites to win the Champions League for the first time after finishing the Premier League strongly, scoring 25 goals and keeping five clean sheets in their last seven matches, although they did lose to Southampton and an FA Cup semi-final to Arsenal.

Pep Guradiola’s men also look to be on the tougher side of the draw with Juventus, Bayern Munich and Barcelona all potential latter-stage opponents.

City haven’t been past the quarter-finals since 2016 but they are buoyed by victory over UEFA in successfully appealing a two-year ban from the competition and hold a 2-1 advantage over Real Madrid heading into the home leg after a dramatic come-from-behind victory in Spain. Striker Sergio Aguero is out injured.

Madrid have also had their confidence boosted by securing the league title after winning all 10 of their matches following the restart. However, the two away goals they conceded in the Bernabeu and the suspension of defensive leader Sergio Ramos, sent off in the first leg, make their task a tough one.

Juventus (0) v Lyon (1), Allianz Stadium

Despite some patchy form following Serie A's restart (four defeats and two draws in 12 matches and a Coppa Italia final defeat on penalties to Napoli) Juve secured a ninth successive league title last week and will be confident of overturning their surprise first-leg defeat in France.

The competition's all-time leading goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured) has found the net just twice in seven CL appearances this season, but 10 in his last 11 matches domestically suggest he has lost none of his sharpness.

For Lyon, who lost two cup finals to Paris St-Germain after the restart, winning the Champions League is their only chance of securing European football next season following a disappointing seventh-placed Ligue 1 finish.

The club were frustrated in legal attempts at challenging the French football federation's decision to end the season early.

They are boosted by former Manchester United forward Memphis Depay's return from a long-term knee problem.

Saturday 8 August

Barcelona (1) v Napoli (1), Camp Nou

Much, as always, will depend on Lionel Messi (above), who at least has had a two-week rest, as Barcelona look to build on the away goal they secured in the 1-1 draw with Napoli and put the disappointment of missing out on the league title behind them.

However, Barca have selection issues with midfielders Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal suspended, Samuel Umtiti injured and doubts over fellow centre-backs Clement Lenglet and Ronald Araujo, as well as forward Antoine Griezmann.

Quique Setien's team won six, drew three and lost once after resuming action in June.

Napoli faded to a seventh-placed Serie A finish after the resumption with just two clean sheets in 12 league matches proving costly and fitness doubts over defenders Kostas Manolas and Nikola Maksimovic will not help in the Nou Camp, where they have to score.

Bayern Munich (3) v Chelsea (0), Allianz Arena

Joint-favourites Bayern already have one foot in the quarter-finals after their 3-0 demolition of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in February.

They secured a league and cup double last month as they made it 17 wins in a row and have the competition's leading scorer in Robert Lewandowski (11, pictured).

Chelsea's season is running out of steam as, having limped over the line with Champions League qualification on the final day, they lost the FA Cup final and now have an extensive injury list which includes Cesar Azpilicueta, Christian Pulisic, Pedro, Willian, N'Golo Kante, Billy Gilmour and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Overturning a 3-0 deficit in the Allianz Arena is a tall order but manager Frank Lampard will hope his side can emulate Liverpool’s epic comeback against Barcelona in last year's semi-finals.


Wednesday 12 August

Atalanta v Paris Saint-Germain, Estádio do Sport  Live on RTÉ2

The Serie A side are the surprise package of the knockout stages in their first Champions League campaign, and were unbeaten since January until a final-day defeat to Inter Milan snatched second place from their grasp. They are outsiders but capable of pulling off a shock.

Paris Saint-Germain were comfortable Ligue 1 champions again, even taking into account the premature ending of the season in March, and completing a cup double last week was an added bonus ahead of their first appearance in the quarters for four years.

However, striker Kylian Mbappe (above left) is a major doubt due to an ankle injury.

Thursday 13 August

RB Leipzig v Atletico Madrid, Estádio José Alvalade

Leipzig have reached the quarter-finals for the first time in their history, but their post-restart form was patchy to say the least as they finished third in the Bundesliga.

They must face Atletico Madrid without Timo Werner, their joint top scorer in Europe, after his transfer to Chelsea.

Having eliminated holders Liverpool in the previous round with three extra-time goals, Diego Simeone's Atletico will believe anything is possible.

Unbeaten since February, they finished third in La Liga and remain a significant threat.

Friday 14 August

Napoli/Barcelona v Chelsea/Bayern Munich, Estádio do Sport, Live on RTÉ2

Saturday 15 August

Real Madrid/Manchester City v Lyon/Juventus, Estádio José Alvalade


Tuesday 18 August

Leipzig/Atletico Madrid v Atalanta/PSG, Estádio do Sport – Live on RTÉ2

Wednesday 19 August

Real Madrid/Manchester City/Lyon/Juventus v Napoli/Barcelona/Chelsea/Bayern Munich, Estádio José Alvalade


Sunday 23 August, Estádio do Sport