In this Tuesday's UEFA Champions League round of 16 second legs on Paramount+, Real Madrid's tie with Atalanta is finely poised with the Spaniards carrying a one-goal lead from their first leg. The second leg comes to Madrid as Los Blancos try to advance to the last eight. Manchester City are 2-0 up against a dysfunctional Borussia Monchengladbach side and look likely to advance, albeit not as likely as Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
Can Gian Piero Gasperini's men reach the quarterfinals for a second consecutive season against the odds and can Borussia Dortmund-bound Marco Rose and his players put their differences aside to embrace their group stage role as neutral favorites once more? Our experts take a look at these two ties and assess the potential for any upsets.
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Real Madrid vs. Atalanta
Time: Tuesday, 4 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
Real Madrid +108; Draw +260; Atalanta +230 (odds via William Hill Sportsbook)
Rongen's take: The goals-per-game ratio in the Champions League for Atalanta has almost halved. They have also only kept one clean sheet in the Champions League since the start of last season. Zinedine Zidane's side seems to find ways to grind out results when they have to. Pick: Real Madrid 1, Atalanta 0 (Real Madrid advance 2-0 on aggregate)
Romano's take: Atalanta always attack and can score one goal, but in the long run Real Madrid's experience makes the difference. Pick: Real Madrid 2, Atalanta 1 (Real Madrid advance 3-1 on aggregate)
Echegaray's take: The romantic in me wants to pick Atalanta as this tournament is quite frankly less exciting without them, but this is Real Madrid we're talking about and Zinedine Zidane's side is more than capable of not only getting the job done, but doing it in style. The Serie A side knows that if they don't take care of their defensive issues, it could be a long night. I see a tight game where Real Madrid's experience and an in-form Karim Benzema help, but Atalanta will fight for goals. Pick: Real Madrid 2, Atalanta 1 (Real Madrid advance 3-1 on aggregate)
West's take: Karim Benzema has been on fire recently, and I can't see him and the rest of this Madrid side taking this challenge lightly. Atalanta are no pushovers and they'll test the home side to make it a tight one. Pick: Real Madrid 1, Atalanta 0 (Real Madrid advance 2-0 on aggregate)
Johnson's take: As much as I would love to believe that the Italians can pull off a shock and reach the quarterfinals again, I think that the Spaniards will do just enough to scrape through with the first-leg goal. Pick: Real Madrid 1, Atalanta 1 (Real Madrid advance 2-1 on aggregate)
Benge's take: The one thread running through all of Real Madrid's recent games is their innate capacity to get themselves into and then out of an awful lot of trouble. They have not scored a first-half goal since Valentine's Day. Their last five were struck in the 86th, 89th, 88th, 73rd and 90th minutes. So why not keep the trend going and have Karim Benzema/Sergio Ramos crush Atalanta's dreams late on. Pick: Real Madrid 2, Atalanta 2 (Real Madrid advance 3-2 on aggregate)
Gonzalez's take: Real Madrid don't manage to impress, but as they so often do, they find a way, getting by just barely with a late Karim Benzema goal. Pick: Real Madrid 2, Atalanta 2 (Real Madrid advance 3-2 on aggregate)
Herrera's take: Real Madrid hold a one-goal advantage into their second home leg after eking out a narrow victory against Atalanta despite so many injuries and missing players. The home advantage and return of Karim Benzema will help them punch a ticket to the quarterfinals. Pick: Real Madrid 2, Atalanta 0 (Real Madrid advance 3-0 on aggregate)
Goodman's take: Zinedine Zidane has become a specialist at taking a Madrid side playing mediocre soccer and guiding them deep into the Champions League. Atalanta excel at playing open matches and have to chase the game, meaning we should get plenty of scoring chances in this one. Look for Madrid to overcome some dicey moments and do just enough. Pick: Real Madrid 2, Atalanta 2 (Real Madrid advance 3-2 on aggregate)
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Manchester City vs. Borussia Monchengladbach
Time: Tuesday, 4 p.m. ET (Paramount+)
Manchester City -420; Draw +500; Borussia Monchengladbach +1200 (odds via William Hill Sportsbook)
Rongen's take: Done and dusted. The fact they kept a clean sheet in the away leg only strengthens their position. Gladbach are in the midst of a poor run of form, which is the last thing you want to be in when you have a must-win game against City. Pick: Manchester City 3, Borussia Monchengladbach 1 (Man City advance 5-1 on aggregate)
Romano's take: Too much superiority on the part of Pep Guardiola's team, in general. They are living an exceptional moment and therefore there will be nothing to do for Gladbach. Pick: Manchester City 3, Borussia Monchengladbach 0 (Man City advance 5-0 on aggregate)
Echegaray's take: Man City are winning this, it's more a question by how much. I think Marco Rose made some lineup mistakes in the first leg, which means a more attack-friendly strategy this time around, but it still won't be enough to beat the Man City side, who -- aside from the loss against United -- have looked impossible to beat. It will be tight in the first half, but Pep Guardiola will rally his team in the dressing room at the break and the Premier League side will finish the job. Pick: Manchester City 2, Borussia Monchengladbach 0 (Man City advance 4-0 on aggregate)
West's take: Die Fohlen haven't won a game since the beginning of March, their manager Marco Rose is already halfway out the door and "team spirit" is nothing but a concept for Gladbach. I actually think this could get ugly. Pick: Manchester City 3, Borussia Monchengladbach 0 (Man City advance 5-0 on aggregate)
Johnson's take: Pep Guardiola's men may have finally been beaten by rivals United recently, but that is nothing compared with the implosion that the Germans have suffered since the news of Rose's departure. This could get ugly. Pick: Manchester City 4, Borussia Monchengladbach 1 (Man City advance 6-1 on aggregate)
Benge's take: The best team in the competition against the worst, at least on current form. Manchester City managed to rest the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez while still swatting Fulham aside with Sergio Aguero finding the net again. They are in menacing form. You suspect that the margin of their victory on Tuesday is entirely up to them. Pick: Manchester City 4, Borussia Monchengladbach 0 (Man City advance 6-0 on aggregate)
Gonzalez's take: City have a comfortable enough lead at home to where a goal within the first hour is probably enough. They get more than that. Pick: Manchester City 3, Borussia Monchengladbach 0 (Man City advance 5-0 on aggregate)
Herrera's take: Pep Guardiola's side will continue their dominant streak of play into an easy victory behind more impressive individual performances from Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan. Pick: Manchester City 2, Borussia Monchengladbach 1 (Man City advance 4-1 on aggregate)
Goodman's take: Gladbach have been absolutely terrible since the announcement that head coach Marco Rose will be heading to Dortmund next season. And even at their best they weren't close to City who remain the best team in Europe. Pick: Manchester City 2, Borussia Monchengladbach 0 (Man City advance 4-0 on aggregate)
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