The last set of UEFA Champions League round of 16 matches is here and only one of the four appears to be truly cut and dried.
Defending champions Bayern Munich are very likely to advance to the quarterfinals with a 4-1 aggregate lead over Lazio from the first leg while Manchester City look well on their way to joining their opponents with a two-goal first leg advantage against Borussia Monchengladbach.
It would take two pretty sizable collapses for neither side to advance to the last eight and while Gladbach just do not look like they have it in them, the gulf in class between Bayern and Lazio was clear for all to see when the two sides met in Rome.
The two ties seemingly still alive involve Atalanta BC and Atletico Madrid where Real Madrid and Chelsea both hold one goal leads after narrow away wins in their opening legs, but the Italians and the Spaniards will still need to produce strong performances to advance.
Mendy gives Real slender lead
Zinedine Zidane's men needed a late Ferland Mendy goal to overcome the Italians despite playing for over an hour with 10 men after Atalanta's Remo Freuler was sent off.
Had Gian Piero Gasperini's men had their full XI on the pitch at Gewiss Stadium, it might have been a different story.
The Serie A outfit now travel to Madrid needing at least a 1-0 win to force extra time and possibly penalties while another Real goal might be enough to kill the match off.
Atalanta have not been the same explosive force that they were in their Champions League debut last year, but they remain dangerous opponents on their day and have enough firepower in attack to pose Real problems
Given Los Blancos' patchy continental form, the visitors will fancy their chances of at least finding the back of the net on Tuesday.
City sitting pretty
🎙️ #Rose: "When @ManCity have the ball, it's incredibly hard for any opponent. Their gegenpressing after losing possession is world class and they move the ball forward very quickly. Pep has them playing almost total football."#DieFohlen #UCL #CityBMG pic.twitter.com/LDaVnLUsqe— Gladbach (@borussia_en) March 15, 2021
While City's run of consecutive wins across all competitions was ended by bitter rivals Manchester United, Gladbach's season has taken a major turn for the worse since it was announced that Marco Rose will be leaving for Borussia Dortmund this summer.
Die Fohlen have lost seven of their last eight across all competitions to not only give Pep Guardiola's men a healthy 2-0 first leg lead, but also to drop out of European qualification contention in the Bundesliga.
Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus did the damage for City in the opening leg at Puscas Arena in Budapest and Hungary will once again host these two teams as they both bid to make it into the quarters.
Can Rose squeeze one last memorable UCL display out of Gladbach in their debut foray, or will the Citizens' juggernaut rumble on?
Tuchel tactics give Blues boost
The German manager picked up in the Champions League with Chelsea where he left off with his last club Paris Saint-Germain leading them to a 1-0 success in Bucharest. Tuchel fashioned a similar result to the three pragmatic victories he led the French giants to to close out the group stage and leave them above United and RB Leipzig in their group.
Chelsea might be lacking imagination so far, but it is hard to argue with the consistency of the results with the Londoners yet to taste defeat since his arrival at Stamford Bridge. On the other hand, Atleti's strong early form, which saw them build up a significant lead in La Liga, has crumbled to the point where Barcelona have the opportunity to make the title race competitive.
Diego Simeone's men have already gone out of the Copa del Rey and now have the Champions League to chase alongside the Spanish top-flight but they will have to rediscover their ruthless touch that has served them so well over the years.
Can El Cholo engineer a comeback in London having not played the first leg in Madrid, or will Tuchel's charmed start to life with Chelsea continue?
Lazio on their last legs
Bayern found a second wind in Rome when they thrashed the Italians 4-1 and Hansi Flick's men have since put in some pretty high-scoring performances in the Bundesliga to keep daylight between themselves and Leipzig at the summit.
Simone Inzaghi's men were powerless to resist the well-oiled Bavarian machine and what looked like a potential upset rapidly turned into a one-sided affair with the Germans 4-0 up at Stadio Olimpico inside of 47 minutes.
A Lazio recovery seems highly improbable, so Wednesday is likely to be about keeping it respectable up against the defending champions as they seek a seventh Champions League title after last summer's success over PSG.
Can the Biancocelesti even attempt a comeback, or is it too futile against the embarrassment of riches that Bayern boast?