The first four participants in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 will take the field today as Celtic face Italian champions Juventus and Valencia take on big-spending Paris St. Germain.
Celtic will enter the first leg at Celtic Park confident of their chances after beating Barcelona in the group stages to help book their place in the Round of 16. Juventus makes the trip to Glasgow unfazed by the prospects of a hostile environment, with goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon going so far as to point out that facing Turkish opponents is tougher.
Paris St. Germain come into the knockout rounds rolling, unbeaten in their last 12 in all competitions. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will lead a PSG side that will look to become the first French team to beat Valencia in 17 matches, a stretch that spans more than 30 years.
Here is a closer look at today’s Round of 16 matches:
CELTIC vs. JUVENTUS
2:45pm, Fox Soccer Channel
Players to Watch: CELTIC- Scott Brown, Victor Wanyama, Gary Hooper, Fraser Foster. JUVENTUS- Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon, Mirko Vucinic, Fabio Quagliarella
Quick Kicks: Emilio Izaguirre is back from a knee injury for Celtic, while Giorgio Chiellini is suspended for the match (and injured anyway). Nicolas Anelka is available for selection for Juventus. Celtic are unbeaten in their past eight home matches vs. Italian opponents, with AC Milan the last team to escape Celtic Park with a win, doing so in 1969. That unbeaten run includes Celtic’s 4-3 win against Juventus in 2001.
VALENCIA vs. PARIS ST. GERMAIN
2:45pm, MSG+, Fox Soccer Plus
Players to Watch: VALENCIA- Roberto Soldado, Nelson Valdez, Ever Banega, Adil Rami. PSG- Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore, Alex.
Quick Kicks: PSG will be without Thiago Silva and Thiago Motta for the match due to injuries. David Beckham is not on the squad for today’s match for PSG. Valencia defender Antonio Barragan is suspended, while defender Aly Cissokho will also miss the match with an ankle injury. Jeremy Mathieu is also out for Valencia with an injury.