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What to Expect from the First Champions League Playoff Matches?

Not all rounds of 16 matches will be played under top-tier banners. Still, something interesting can be found in each of them, even in today's fixtures.

Copenhagen vs. Manchester City

Looking for intrigue in the result is pointless. Still, it's always interesting to see what Pep Guardiola will come up with this time. Will he decide to field Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, and Julian Alvarez together, as in the Premier League, or will he opt for a more conservative approach? Will Rico Lewis or Oscar Bobb make it into the starting lineup?

A separate question: Will Copenhagen maintain the courage of the group stage? Let's remember that in it, the Danes outperformed Bayern Munich in shots on target, drew with them, and knocked out Manchester United in a dramatic shootout (4:3).

Leipzig vs. Real Madrid

The match will see teams comfortable playing against each other. Real can take possession and thus hide problems with the center of defense, while Leipzig can press and launch vertical attacks. The "Bulls" are not in the best form right now, but Benjamin Sesko and Loi Wopenza can escape on the counterattack even on a bad day.

Perhaps the main intrigue is how Carlo Ancelotti's boys will neutralize the threat from the right flank. Suppose Dani Carvajal is forced to play in the center again. In that case, the most dangerous player in Leipzig, Javi Simons, will face the not-so-reliable Lucas Vazquez. The absence of Jude Bellingham due to injury won't make life easier either.

The match promises to be exciting: the Germans score an average of 2 goals per game and concede more goals. Real is Real, so we definitely will see a smooth rollover.

Published by Patrick Jane