Charlie Nicholas' Champions League predictions: Manchester City and Atletico to win?
Man City vs Schalke, Atletico Madrid vs Juventus on Wednesday
Last Updated: 19/02/19 10:16pm
Charlie Nicholas assesses Manchester City's trip to Schalke and Atletico Madrid's clash with Juventus...
Here's how former Arsenal and Scotland forward Charlie Nicholas sees the first legs going...
Schalke vs Manchester City, Wednesday 8pm
It's a stunning draw for Manchester City.
It's not a game they need to force. Schalke will be just trying to stay in the tie as they don't want to be going to the Etihad behind. Schalke will play on the counter, even though they are at home, and that suits City. The times that Schalke threaten they will then probably be picked off. City have found a ruthless streak again, they look clinical at the moment, and I think they will have too much for Schalke.
Pep Guardiola is in one cup final, in the quarter-finals of another, and has a massive group who are all competing to get in the team, and I think the Champions League probably just edges it in terms of priorities for City this season. Winning back-to-back Premier League titles is very difficult but if City win the Champions League it would be huge for them and people at the club would probably say this is the most significant trophy.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: Man City to win 3-1 and Sane and Sterling to score (40/1 with Sky Bet)
Atletico Madrid vs Juventus, Wednesday 8pm
This is another belter. Cristiano Ronaldo is back in Madrid, but Atletico don't give too much away and it will be physical. I must admit that I don't like watching Atletico Madrid play but I respect them and you could see them getting to 1-0 and then shutting up shop and blocking off Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala and sneaking a result with Antoine Griezmann getting the winner to keep his reputation floating along.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: Atletico Madrid 1-0 Juventus (11/2 with Sky Bet)
Charlie's earlier predictions...
Liverpool vs Bayern Munich, Tuesday
What a game. The atmosphere at Anfield will be fantastic.
There have been a few questions about Liverpool recently and they are without Virgil van Dijk for the home leg, but Bayern are not as good as they have been in recent years. Thomas Muller is out, although I don't think that will make a huge difference, and Kingsley Coman, who has found some form, suffered a knock in their game on Friday. Bayern are well-drilled but at the back you can get at them and Liverpool's front three are a handful for anybody.
Liverpool usually turn up on the night and the front three will be the difference.
Bayern have a reputation but if you stop Robert Lewandowski you stop half of their goals. They have been diminishing in the last few seasons, you could see in Pep Guardiola's last season he was trying to introduce a few things but I think their time is up at the highest level. They will have an odd game where they play really well but they haven't bought that well recently and Manuel Neuer is not at the same level he was after an injury.
It's a big rebuilding job at Bayern and I think Roberto Firmino will score in a Liverpool win.
CHARLIE PREDICTED: Liverpool 3-1 Bayern Munich - RESULT: Liverpool 0-0 Bayern Munich
Lyon vs Barcelona, Tuesday
Luis Suarez will be back after starting on the bench at the weekend and Lionel Messi has started the year well. Barcelona are a better defensive side under Ernesto Valverde so won't be as open. I wouldn't be surprised if Lyon got a goal, maybe through Nabil Fekir, but I think Messi will make an impact and Barcelona will win.
CHARLIE PREDICTED: Lyon 1-2 Barcelona - RESULT: Lyon 0-0 Barcelona