Eight teams will walk out to the pitch this week to take a lead into the second legs of their respective ties. The action will commence with two clashes on Tuesday: Celtic vs. Juventus and Valencia vs. PSG. Two blockbuster matches will take place on Wednesday as well; Manchester United will travel to the Bernabeu to take on Real Madrid while Borussia…
Miami Beach, Florida (February 10, 2013) – After successfully qualifying from Group F alongside Bayern Munich, Valencia begin their knockout stage adventure with a match against Paris Saint-Germain at the Mestalla Stadium. Kick-off time for this UEFA Champions League Round of 16 fixture is at 14:45 EST on Tuesday, February 12, 2013.
This clash comes at the right time for Los Che who have not lost a league game since going down 5-0 to Real Madrid on January 20. Fresh from last weekend’s 1-0 defeat of Celta de Vigo, Valencia will be after their first home victory in all competitions since January 12 when they defeated Sevilla 2-0.
Given the Chelsea owner’s intolerance with underachieving managers, it would be no news if Rafa suffers the sack in the very near future. However, should he remain until the end of the season, it is likely that his short-term contract at Stamford Bridge will not be extended.
So where is it next for the former Liverpool manager? We look at five clubs which could each offer Rafael Benitez an escape route.
Valencia was the club where Benitez first enjoyed notable success. He defied all odds by guiding Los Che to their first league title in 31 years, back in 2002. They enjoyed even more success in 2004 under Benitez’s guidance as they won both La Liga and UEFA Cup titles. From then onwards, Valencia have gone on a decline. Rafa could be the man to resurrect this team which is struggling to compete with giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The Mestalla has not been a great place for Barcelona as of late. From their last 10 visits in all competitions, the Blaugrana have only managed three victories, three defeats and four draws.
Sunday, Tito Vilanova's side will have to put their 1-1 draw against Real Madrid behind them and focus on grabbing their first win at the Mestalla since their 0-1 victory in March of 2011, thanks to a 77th minute goal from Lionel Messi.
Ernesto Valverde's side has been in good form as of late, having won five of their last six matches in the domestic league. Their one defeat came at the hands of Real Madrid with Jose Mourinho's side defeating Los Che 0-5 at the Mestalla.
Team news & analysis
Jose Mourinho’s decision to build competition between Iker Casillas and Antonio Adan has so far paid off well. Real Madrid are on a run of four consecutive clean sheets in all competitions since their 2013 opening match in which they conceded three goals against Real Sociedad.
Whoever gets in post on Wednesday will be eager to stretch Los Blancos’ record to five clean sheets on the trot. The good news for the visitors’ defenders is that Roberto Soldado will not feature in the match due to a thigh injury.
Skipper David Albeda is out with a calf problem while Dani Parejo has a fractured thumb. Two Valencia players who could make an appearance at the Mestalla are ex-Real Madrid boy Sergio Canales and Portuguese defender Joao Pereira.
Valencia were on a four-match winning streak until they lost to Real Madrid in midweek. That encounter, in the Spanish Copa del Rey, was marred by controversy as wrong offside calls went against Valencia amid other incidents.
As a result, this weekend’s league encounter is being hyped around the revenge factor. Los Che, who are not favourites to progress to the Spanish Copa del Rey semis, will be out to torment Los Blancos.
The latter are facing an embarrassing situation in La Liga being 18 points off the top of the standings. It seems to be only a matter of time before Real Madrid officially give up on defending their title. In the meantime, they are yet to reach the 40-point mark.
Real Madrid's La Liga title chances are now absolutely impossible after dropping further points this past weekend away to Osasuna. Barcelona now have a blinding 18 point lead over Jose Mourinho's team, which have left the whole football world in shock. But the season can still be salvaged with the Copa del Rey and Champions league still in play.
Madrid will host Valencia in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final. Valencia have been in a great run of form winning 7 of their last 8 matches. Madrid will be fielding their strongest 11, and with Cristiano Ronaldo back in action, Real Madrid are sure favorites at the Bernabeu.
See video match preview below.
Team news & analysis
Real Madrid’s desire to dethrone Barcelona as Spanish Copa del Rey champions has significantly increased after the former fell 18 points off the top of La Liga table last weekend. The only way for the Spanish giants to recover from their serious headache in the league is by succeeding in cup competitions this season.
In Valencia, Real Madrid arguably have the toughest draw of the Spanish Cup quarter-finals. The good news is that they will be welcoming back Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday. The prolific Portuguese goal scorer was absent last weekend through suspension. His side apparently felt his absence as they drew blank against Osasuna.
According to the report of referee Miguel Ayza Gamez who officiated Wednesday Copa del Rey fixture between Real Madrid and Celta de Vigo, Ramos declared after being flashed the red card: “You're a crook. You have been trying to f*** us all game long. It's the same as always you scoundrels.”
Ramos eventually apologized but this did not stop the Spanish Football Federation from reacting. The player has thus received a one-match ban for the foul on Celta de Vigo's Augusto Fernandez and a four-match ban for his behaviour towards the match officials. He will miss Real Madrid's upcoming three Spanish La Liga games as well as the Copa del Rey Last 8 two-legged tie against Valencia.
Sergio Ramos was sent off for this horror tackle during Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey Last 16 second-leg fixture at home to Celta de Vigo on January 9, 2013:
Real Madrid and their master tactician Jose Mourinho will pay a trip to England to take on Manchester United. United has led the Premier League for most of this season despite not…
Arjen Robben is injured for Bayern and is set to miss out. Luiz Gustavo and Jerome Boateng have both been ruled out. Holger Badstuber is fit. However, he did not start the game against Nürnberg and might not start this one either. He is needed obviously though as Daniel Van Buyten is a risky choice against the fast Roberto Soldado.
Pablo Hernandez left this summer to Swansea, joining the long list of players who left the debt-ridden club looking for brighter prospects. Winger Jonathan Viera was brought as cover but he is still learning the ropes of the Spanish premier liga.
Having already faced top teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona, Valencia can't blame themselves for finding themselves at the wrong end of the league table. The last time Valencia met Atletico Madrid on the field was in a Europa League semi-final, they lost both the legs by a 5-2 aggregate. However, it is much different in the league. Atleti haven't won against Los Che in the last seasons.
beIN SPORT, the new 24-hour international sports network, will televise an exciting line-up of live matches from top European leagues on beIN SPORT and beIN SPORT en Español this weekend, Oct. 27-28.
World-renowned clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona of Spain’s La Liga continue their battle for dominance. Barcelona and superstar Lionel Messi meet Rayo at 3:55 p.m. on Saturday while legendary Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid shoot it out Sunday against Mallorca at 4:40 p.m. The two games are available on both beIN SPORT and beIN SPORT en Español.
The first round of fixtures in the group stages of the competition produced interesting results a fortnight ago.
At Stamford Bridge, Juventus denied titleholders Chelsea from starting their campaign on a good note. Rising Brazilian star Oscar scored two spectacular goals in the first period but Juventus came back to salvage a point.
At the Camp Nou, Barcelona were surprisingly pushed to the wall by Russia’s Spartak Moskva. The five-goal thriller ended 3-2 in favour of the Catalans. 2008 UEFA Champions League finalists Manchester United also had a tough mission on home soil. The Red Devils hosted Galatasaray whom they overcame 1-0. Last season’s beaten finalists, Bayern Munich, overcame Valencia 2-1 at the Allianz Arena.
Millions of football fans around the globe will be glued to their seat watching live UEFA Champions League football at exactly 14:45 EST (18:45 GMT) on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Here is a guide to help you watch any of the 16 matches live without missing any moment. Simply select the match(es) you want to follow from our 16-match list and see where to watch the action. Read below:
UPDATE: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - watch the matches live
The Spanish striker enjoyed a successful time during the international break. His lone goal offered a vital victory for world champions Spain away to Georgia in the World Cup qualifiers.
Genoa vs Juventus airs exclusively on beIN Sport en Español this Saturday. The visitors will be looking to win their third Serie A match in a row after securing an overwhelming 4-1 victory over Udinese before the international break.
Do not miss a second of this titanic encounter with beIN Sport. Barcelona vs Valencia will be available to viewers in Andorra and France on beIN Sport 2. Follow this La Liga match on beIN Sport 1 and beIN Sport en Espanol if you live in the United States.
In the United Kingdom, watch former Arsenal player Alexandre Song in action on Sky Sports 1/HD. Check out ESPN + Sur, ESPN Sur and ESPN + Andina in available Latin countries. In Spain, find out if Barcelona can extend their perfect run and reclaim the top spot on Canal+ 1 / HD / 30.
Tune in to Sport TV4 in Portugal, Sky Mexico in Mexico and Al Jazeera Sports in available zones. Barcelona vs Valencia will be available on SuperSport 5 Africa in over 40 sub-Saharan countries this Sunday.
Carles Puyol and Dani Alves are doubtful. Cristian Tello and Alex Song featured in midweek as substitute and could receive a spot in Vilanova’s First XI. Pedro could also start ahead of Alexis Sanchez as Barcelona’s manager may make a few changes from his last line-up.
Valencia enter the match without Ricardo Costa who was red-carded last weekend against Deportivo La Coruna. Adil Rami is set to replace him at the back.
Barcelona are still Barcelona. Regardless of whom their opponents are, the Catalans make sure to remain true to their style of play. Nothing will change against Valencia despite the fact that they lost out to Real Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana in midweek.