As fitting for officially the best country in the world, Brazil is offering up a host of stars with a key role in the best club competition in the world
Juventus vs Barcelona
Neymar has been on fire this season. Without him, Barcelona would probably be watching the remainder of the competition on TV. The whole world is waiting to see whether the new star of Brazilian football can pull-off another masterclass – similar to his heroic performance against Paris Saint Germain – and guide the Catalans to the final stages of the competition on his quest to win the Ballon D’or.
Will Neymar yet again be the savior, will South American teammates Messi and Suarez outshine him, or will the Italian defense prove-out to be too much to handle for the attacking trio? The Old Lady will count on the services of Blaugrana legend Dani Alves, who has had his fair share of memories with the champions of Spain. Alves has always been full of praise towards Neymar, and was essential in helping him settle to life in La Liga.
Will the shadow of his compatriot haunt him on that left-hand side, or will the veteran find his way out of trouble? On the other flank, Alex Sandro will have his own problems to worry about, as he will be up against a certain Lionel Messi. This tie is for many reasons, the one that most Brazil fans will be keeping their eyes on.
Borussia Dortmund vs Monaco
The biggest attraction in this game will certainly be Fabinho. In the absence of Bakayoko, he is set to have a more defensive role than usual. With his limited freedom to hassle oppositions with his long runs, he will have to be cautious against a deadly Dortmund side.
Tite has already admitted that he will be following the 23-year old’s performances against the Germans, before he makes his final decision as to whether he deserves to be selected for the next two friendlies against Argentina and Australia in June.
On the other hand, rising center back Jemerson – who is having an impressive season – is set to win back his place in the backline. BVB have not counted on many Brazilians in the past few seasons, and this week’s game will be no different to the recent habits.
Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid
This is a heavyweight clash by all means, and Brazil fans will certainly be keeping close attention to the slightest developments. Douglas Costa’s starting position is doubtful, as he has just recovered from an injury that has kept him on the sidelines for around three weeks.
However, the sparkling winger did make his comeback during his cameo performance against Dortmund in the weekend, so could still be used as a substitute in the second half, when the Spaniards run out of energy – especially with their tendency to rely on two offensive minded wingers who opt to leave spaces behind their back, for a speedster like Douglas to exploit.
Meanwhile, the reigning champions of Europe will as usual, put their confidence in Marcelo and Carlos Henrique Casemiro. The former will be up against one of the deadliest attackers in the world, Dutch star Arjen Robben, who seems to be in the form of his life.
The 33-year old is like a fine wine, he keeps getting better with time, and anyone who saw him destroy Dortmund’s defense in the weekend, will agree. Marcelo will be in huge trouble if he was to be exposed with no cover. On the other hand, Casemiro will have his own share of responsibility, as many pundits rely on him to be the savior of a Real Madrid side, which is expected to be dominated by the Germans in terms of ball-possession.
It is in games like this, where Carlos has proved how decisive he can be. Will the 25-year old be able to rescue the champions from a dull performance, or will the Bavarians turn-out to be a little too strong, as they have displayed against Arsenal in the previous round?
Atlético Madrid vs Leicester
It is perhaps the least exciting tie, if you are a fan of Brazilian football. Not just because of the absence of Brazilian players – besides Filipe Luis – but it is also down to the rather unattractive Dunga-esque style of play that both teams have adopted.
While Atlético may be one of the tactically strongest sides in the competition, they aren’t really the favorite pick of the neutrals looking for a show. Leicester’s case is not any different, as they are likely to rely on parking the bus, and counter-attacks alongside clutch moments in order to determine their hopes of clinching a result. The encounter is expected to be more physical than technical, and will certainly be a source of attraction for the fans who fancy such kind of matches.