Bayern embrace memory of seventh heaven in the Eternal City, Luis Suarez in a European rut - Champions League in Opta numbers

By Sports Desk February 23, 2021

Holders Bayern Munich look to move another step closer to retaining their Champions League title when they face Lazio, while Atletico Madrid and Chelsea do battle in Bucharest on Tuesday.

Bayern cruised into the round of 16 as Group A winners, claiming five victories and a draw in six games, and will be expected to knock Serie A side Lazio out, although they will arrive in Rome on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Lazio and the Bundesliga leaders will lock horns at Stadio Olimpico in the first leg, but there will be no home advantage for Atleti when they take on Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea.

Coronavirus-related travel restrictions meant the game was moved to the National Arena in the capital of Romania, which Tuchel believes will give his side an advantage.

We used Opta numbers to preview the two clashes.


Atletico Madrid v Chelsea: Suarez not yet off the mark

If history is anything to go by, it could be difficult to pick a winner in this tie as the two sides have won two apiece and drawn three of their previous European games - scoring 11 goals each.

Atleti have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. Chelsea will attempt to progress past the round of 16 for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign, when they lost to Diego Simeone's men in the semi-finals.

Luis Suarez has never failed to score or deliver an assist in a Champions League season – this is his eighth campaign in the tournament. The striker has not scored or laid a goal on in his four Champions League games for Atleti.

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud found the net every 28 minutes on average in the group stage this term (five goals in 142 minutes), the best ratio of any player to score more than once.

Among the goalkeepers to play at least three Champions League games this season, Chelsea's Edouard Mendy has the best save percentage in the competition (94 per cent), only conceding from one of the 16 shots on target he has faced.

Lazio v Bayern Munich: Holders out to complete another Italian job

Lazio have only lost one of their six Champions League matches against German opposition (W2 D3) and remain unbeaten at home.

However, Bayern are unbeaten in their previous five Champions League away games against Italian sides (W3 D2). Their two visits to Stadio Olimpico in the competition have produced 13 goals, including a 7-1 victory against Roma in October 2014.

The Bavarian giants have reached the knockout stages for the 13th consecutive season, only Real Madrid (24) and Barcelona (17) are on longer runs.

Bayern have also won 16 of their past 17 Champions League games (D1), with an overall goal difference of +48 (61 goals for, 13 against) – that is four more wins than any other side over that period (Paris Saint-Germain have won 12).

While Ciro Immobile – eight goals in nine Champions League starts – will be Lazio's dangerman, Bayern's talisman needs no introduction.

Robert Lewandowski has 31 goals in 33 Champions League appearances since the start of 2017-18, more than any other player – Cristiano Ronaldo is second with 29 in 34 outings.

Related items

  • Bayern Munich forward Serge Gnabry set for spell on sidelines Bayern Munich forward Serge Gnabry set for spell on sidelines

    Serge Gnabry will miss Bayern Munich’s Champions League trip to Manchester United on Tuesday night as he faces a spell on the sidelines, the Bundesliga champions have said.

    Gnabry was injured in Saturday’s shock 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt, having been forced off just five minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute.

    A statement from the club said: “Serge Gnabry suffered a major strain in Saturday’s 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt, a scan revealed last night.

    “Gnabry, who was forced off the field just five minutes after coming on in Frankfurt, will therefore miss Bayern’s upcoming matches.”

    The 28-year-old has scored one goal in 11 appearances this season.

    Following Tuesday’s trip to Old Trafford, Bayern host Stuttgart next weekend and then face Wolfsburg away on December 20 prior to the winter break.

  • Mat Sadler says Walsall showed what a ‘fantastic’ team they are at Notts County Mat Sadler says Walsall showed what a ‘fantastic’ team they are at Notts County

    Walsall boss Mat Sadler was thrilled with his team’s display after his side came from a goal down to win 2-1 at promotion hopefuls Notts County.

    Oisin McEntee’s emphatic second-half brace cancelled out Aden Baldwin’s first goal of the campaign and ended the Saddlers’ six-game winless run.  

    Sadler said: “We are a good team, a very good team playing against what I also think is a very good team too with the way Luke (Williams) plays and the way he sets the team up. They take apart teams here, but we showed what a fantastic team we are and by team, I mean everybody together.

    “The first half we go in 1-0 down but I said to the lads that I thought we controlled the game out of possession – the only thing missing in the first half was just that final piece of quality at times, but I knew we could hurt them as the game went on and the lads believed we could hurt them as the game went on.

    “I gave the players a few minutes to speak to themselves, I always do. You get a vibe from what they are saying but, in the end, we got what we deserved.”

    “The most important players in our game were going to be our two eights and outside centre-halves…and then Oisin (McEntee) pops up with the two goals which were thoroughly deserved. We know he has got goals in his game.”

    As for the Magpies, another cold afternoon turned into an evening to forget as they fell to their third home league defeat of the season, and their fourth of the calendar year. 

    Williams said: “The conditions were not a problem, it was more the lack of energy. And we did not have the bravery to play with the ball in the second half.

    “If we are not going to be great defensively, and we are then not going to outscore the opposition, I am not sure what we are going to do.

    “The first half was really cagey, but we made a breakthrough. The second half, I did not even recognise the team.

    “I want to win. It is no good to just be here when the team are winning every week. I need to be here and try to help them, try to remain focused on the job, so that we can try to come through on the other side of it.

    “We are new to the division. We are learning the opposition and we have stuttered. We cannot seem to find a consistency so we need to find a decent level and be able to maintain that.”

  • Stephen Robinson pays tribute to Jonah Ayunga’s perseverance after injury battle Stephen Robinson pays tribute to Jonah Ayunga’s perseverance after injury battle

    Stephen Robinson hailed Jonah Ayunga’s performance as St Mirren moved back into third place in the table with a 2-0 defeat of Ross County.

    Ayunga’s goal was his first since a serious knee injury that kept him out for almost a year and gave Saints a two-goal cushion following Ryan Leak’s own goal.

    Robinson praised the Englishman’s perseverance – and the club’s medical stuff – for ensuring his return to action was as smooth as possible.

    The St Mirren manager said: “I’m delighted for Jonah.

    “When you’re out injured it’s a lonely place, so a special mention for Jonah and (physio) Gerry Docherty and Gary McCall, the strength and conditioning coach, who have spent hours getting him to this level.

    “It’s testament to how hard Jonah has worked and he’s got his just reward.”

    Ayunga celebrated by sticking the ball under his jersey as a nod to his pregnant partner.

    Robinson added: “I’m not sure how long (she has) to go. That will be a special moment.

    “What you don’t appreciate when you’re out injured is how it affects your other half – they take the brunt of everything. They’re the real strong ones and I’m sure Jonah would agree.”

    St Mirren could have scored more after missing several chances in the first half and late in the game, but Robinson was stoic about it.

    He added: “I’m never happy to be honest as it should have been more. But to put on that level of performance when we haven’t won for a couple of weeks shows how tough mentally the squad are.

    “We demanded we play our way and not get drawn into a long-ball game. That’s credit to the mentality of players.

    “We could have won by more as we had plenty of chances, but we got what we deserved.”

    His opposite number Derek Adams did not disagree with that assessment as he tasted defeat for the first time since returning as County manager.

    He said: “The first goal was always going to be pivotal in this game. St Mirren got it, as quite rightly the VAR ruled it over the line.

    “We didn’t play as well as we have done in previous weeks. Coming away from home, it’s a venue which Ross County haven’t done well at over the years.

    “I was a bit disappointed in the way we didn’t take the game to them. When we were 2-0 down we were still trying to pass it, forgetting the object of the game is to score goals.

    “That was a wee bit disappointing. But we didn’t play as well as we can do or have done. We didn’t deserve to win the game.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.