The business end of the Champions League usually throws up familiar rivalries, with Europe's big guns so often getting to the latter stages of the competition.

Wednesday sees a repeat of last season's semi-final as Chelsea and Real Madrid contest a tie brimming with European pedigree, but last year's Europa League winners Villarreal are playing the increasingly customary role of Champions League disruptor.

From Atalanta to Ajax to Lyon, there seems to be one club that manages to punch above their weight in relation to Europe's elite in recent seasons, and Unai Emery's side will have their work cut against Bayern Munich.

We take a look at both games using Opta facts, which suggest two enticing matchups as well as contrasts of style.

Chelsea v Real Madrid

As mentioned, this is the second consecutive season in which Chelsea and Madrid have met in the knockout stages of the Champions League. The Blues could become the first English team to eliminate Los Blancos from the knockout stages of the competition on multiple occasions, having progressed 3-1 on aggregate in last season's semi-final.

That tie was notable for the first leg, in one of the few times former head coach Zinedine Zidane went away from his usual midfield of Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric, and with a rare 3-4-3 formation. If not for Edouard Mendy's early heroics to deny Karim Benzema, the second leg at Stamford Bridge when Zidane reverted could have also panned out differently.

However, Chelsea are unbeaten in their last eight games against Spanish opposition, with their last defeat coming at Stamford Bridge under Frank Lampard as Valencia won 1-0.

Meanwhile, Madrid have lost only one of their last eight Champions League games when facing the holders, while they have won each of the last three without conceding a goal.

Benzema is coming into this tie in intimidatingly good form, and following his hat trick against Paris Saint-Germain in the last-16, his season tally of eight Champions League goals is the highest of his career.

Since Thomas Tuchel has taken over at Chelsea, they have been close to impenetrable defensively. From his first Champions League game with them in February 2021, the Blues have kept a clean sheet in 10 out of 15 games.

 

Villarreal v Bayern Munich

This is only the second meeting between the two clubs after the 2011-12 season, when Bayern won 3-1 at home and 2-0 away before ultimately reaching and losing the final.

This will be Villarreal's first game in the Champions League quarter-finals since 2009, when they were eliminated by Arsenal. Overall, they have only won one of their six games at this stage of the competition or later, a 1-0 victory at home to Inter in 2006.

While the approach from Emery will be almost certain to try to contain, Bayern have scored an astonishing 101 goals in the Champions League since they were last held to a clean sheet, against Liverpool in 2019.

They have won 26 out of the previous 34 games since, averaging 3.4 goals a game over that span.

Robert Lewandowski has naturally been key to that, scoring 12 goals in eight Champions League appearances this term, and is one of three players to enter a quarter-final stage with that many goals – the other two being Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Much like against Juventus, the question will be how long will the periods of containment be for Villarreal, in order to make their forays in the opposite half truly count?

 

Alphonso Davies is poised for his first Bayern Munich appearance in almost four months after getting the all-clear from doctors monitoring his heart.

The attacking left-back has not featured for Bayern since December 17, after first testing positive for COVID-19 and then being sidelined when checks revealed a mild heart inflammation.

Davies, newly named as the CONCACAF men's player of the year, will be heading to the World Cup with Canada later this year after they qualified for the first time since the 1986 tournament.

On Wednesday, he should begin his comeback in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Spanish outfit Villarreal.

Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann confirmed that 21-year-old Davies had been given the green light to play by the medics dealing with his myocarditis.

"Phonzie will be in the squad, and the results of his medical mean that he has been cleared to start," Nagelsmann told a news conference.

"We will make a decision over the course of the day. In general, I am leaning towards having him in the starting XI."

News of Davies' condition emerged in mid-January, by which stage the youngster had started 22 of Bayern's 27 matches this season – only Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski had started more regularly, which is a reflection of his importance to the team.

He had made 16 appearances in the Bundesliga and at the time he led the way in the division for dribbles attempted (97) and completed (61).

Nagelsmann said he had settled on seven or eight of the players who would start against Villarreal, with winger Serge Gnabry possibly set to get the nod ahead of Leroy Sane.

However, Sane has an outstanding record in the competition this season, which may influence Nagelsmann's choice. The former Manchester City man has been directly involved in 12 goals in eight games for Bayern in the Champions League this term (six goals, six assists).

Only Sane's team-mate Lewandowski (15) and Ajax's Sebastien Haller (13) have had more goal involvements in the current campaign.

"We'll rotate a bit, but not too much. We're used to this Saturday-Wednesday rhythm. We'll rotate a little more against Augsburg [in the Bundesliga on Saturday]," Nagelsmann said.

One player who will not be involved is Corentin Tolisso, who will be hoping he has not played his last game for Bayern after suffering a torn thigh muscle in the weekend Bundesliga win over Freiburg.

Tolisso is out of contract at the end of the season and Bayern reportedly decided earlier this season not to renew his deal.

"I actually thought that Coco had a stomach problem," Nagelsmann said. "I only found out after the game in Freiburg that he had a torn ligament. It's not an easy situation for him. He's in France now to get his mind off things a bit."

Nagelsmann believes Bayern have what it takes to get past Unai Emery's Villarreal, who stunned Juventus in the previous round.

Bayern are unbeaten in their last five games when playing away from home in the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie (W3 D2), although their last such defeat came in Spain in the 2015-16 semi-final against Atletico Madrid.

Emery will be taking charge of his 50th game in the Champions League (W21 D10 L18), and it will be his first quarter-final tie.

The Bayern coach said of Villarreal: "It's a very experienced team. They have a coach who is especially experienced internationally [in club games].

"They play different formations, you have to adapt to different situations. It's a team that opens up with risk. It's an experienced team of players, who have already experienced something and which has to be cracked first. However, I am confident that we will prevail."

The best teams in the world are circling Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, who has 23 goals and six assists in 23 club appearances this season.

The 21-year-old Norwegian was ruled out of Barcelona's price range earlier this week by president Joan Laporta, but there are some clubs who can stomach the asking price.

While there will be an array of suitors investigating if a move will be possible for their club, Manchester City and Real Madrid are the most likely to put their money where their mouths are.

TOP STORY – MANCHESTER CITY HAVE UPPER HAND IN HAALAND SWEEPSTAKES

ESPN is reporting City are "optimistic they can see off competition from Real Madrid" in the race for Haaland's services.

City are said to be in the market for a striker, and are confident they can pay the reported €75million release clause in Haaland's Dortmund contract.

After the departures of Angelino, Ferran Torres and Jack Harrison for a combined €85m, City are in a position of financial strength heading into the upcoming transfer period.

ROUND-UP

Manchester United have reignited their chase of Villareal defender Pau Torres, according to 90min. Torres was a target for the Red Devils before they ultimately signed Raphael Varane back in August.

Barcelona will look to bring in French forward Alexandre Lacazette on a free transfer after his contract expires at Arsenal after this season, reports Diario SPORT.

– Football Insider is reporting Aston Villa are planning on spending more than £150m in the next transfer window, breaking their previous spending record.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is confident in retaining the services of defender Antonio Rudiger with a new contract, according to Goal.

– El Nacional is reporting Real Madrid believe they can land Arsenal target Karim Adeyemi from Red Bull Salzburg.

Real Madrid will face holders Chelsea in the Champions League quarter-finals, while Manchester City tackle Atletico Madrid.

The clash of 13-time winners Madrid and two-time champions Chelsea will be a repeat of last season's semi-final, which the English side won 3-1 on aggregate, and will mean Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti goes up against his former team.

Madrid's Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois could also face their old club, who are in a state of crisis after owner Roman Abramovich was hit with UK government sanctions.

The winners of that standout tie will progress to a semi-final against City or Atletico, who meet in a tantalising clash that will see coaches Pep Guardiola and Diego Simeone at the heart of the narrative.

Atletico beat Manchester United at the last-16 stage and will return to the north-west of England in pursuit of another major scalp.

Villarreal, who sprung a surprise by knocking out Juventus, have been rewarded with a clash against Bayern Munich, who were 8-2 aggregate winners over Salzburg.

Benfica will face Jurgen Klopp's in-form Liverpool. The Reds are six-time European champions but lost to the Portuguese giants at the last-16 stage in the 2005-06 season, their last meeting in the Champions League.

The two-leg quarter-final ties will be played April 5-6 and April 12-13, with the semi-finals scheduled for April 26-27 and May 3-4.

The Stade de France will stage the final on May 28, after St Petersburg was stripped of the match due to Russian military action in Ukraine.

Quarter-final draw

Chelsea v Real Madrid

Manchester City v Atletico Madrid

Villarreal v Bayern Munich

Benfica v Liverpool

Semi-final draw

Manchester City/Atletico Madrid v Chelsea/Real Madrid

Benfica/Liverpool v Villarreal/Bayern Munich

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri insisted he would play the same way again despite his side's "ugly" Champions League last-16 exit at the hands of Villarreal on Wednesday. 

The Bianconeri conceded three goals in the final 12 minutes to Unai Emery's side – two of which came from the penalty spot – to suffer a 3-0 defeat at the Allianz Stadium, following a 1-1 draw in the first leg three weeks ago. 

It was Juve's joint-heaviest home defeat in the Champions League and saw them dumped out at the last-16 stage for the third consecutive season. 

Despite that, Allegri has no regrets over the way he set his side up and refused to criticise his players. 

"I would play it the same way, as the players did well for 65 minutes," he told Amazon Prime Italia. "At a certain point, Villarreal put everyone in defence and only an incident could break that deadlock. 

"We have to accept this defeat, it's ugly, but I cannot complain about the lads as they played well. 

"This is football, sometimes it goes in your favour, sometimes it's against you. It's just about accepting that." 

Villarreal scored with all three of their shots on target to equal their biggest margin of victory in the Champions League. 

Juve largely struggled to break them down at the other end, and Allegri believes they lost their discipline after Gerard Moreno's opener from the penalty spot. 

"We tried to move the ball around," he added. "Villarreal had nine men behind the ball and didn't even try to counter at one stage. 

"We had our chances in the first half. They were aiming to either take it to extra time or make the most of incidents. 

"We were naive on the penalty and rather than turning it around, we conceded another two goals and lost control of the match." 

Juan Cuadrado's 50th Champions League appearance for Juve ended in disappointment, yet the Colombia international wasted little time in turning his attention to domestic action. 

"We had a good first half, didn't take our chances and that affected us," he said. "We tried to move the ball more to create spaces after the break, but Villarreal defended well and were happy to wait for a counter-attack. 

"We tried to do what the coach asked, move the ball around more to create spaces, but Villarreal were so well set out in defence that the only way of finding a way through was crosses. This is football. 

"We now have to fight to the end to do well in Serie A. It's natural to feel upset, but we still have objectives in Serie A and the Coppa Italia. We need to turn the page quickly and try to be at 100 per cent for those remaining matches." 

Juventus were dumped out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage for the third consecutive season after a dismal 3-0 second-leg defeat to Villarreal on Wednesday. 

The two sides drew 1-1 in the first leg in Spain three weeks ago and Juve looked the more likely side to progress to the quarter-finals for much of the match at the Allianz Stadium. 

Unai Emery's side produced a sensational final 12 minutes, though, sealing a memorable win thanks to penalties from Gerard Moreno and Arnaut Danjuma either side of Pau Torres' close-range finish. 

Massimiliano Allegri's men looked crestfallen at the end as their 12-game unbeaten run came to an end in spectacular circumstances.

 

Thomas Tuchel will expect Chelsea to mark his 50th Champions League game as a boss with a win at Lille and Juve will be favourites to knock Villarreal out on Wednesday.

There is huge uncertainty at Stamford Bridge after Roman Abramovich put the club up for sale before having his assets frozen by the United Kingdom government, but the London club have won four consecutive games.

The holders travel to Lille for the second leg of the round-of-16 tie with a 2-0 lead courtesy of goals from the in-form Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic.

Juve and Villarreal will start their showdown at the Allianz Stadium locked at 1-1 after Dani Parejo equalised following Dusan Vlahovic's early strike.

Stats Perform picks out the standout Opta data ahead of the two games.

 

Lille v Chelsea

Havertz has become the Blues' main man, scoring four goals in his past three matches and six in seven.

Chelsea head coach Tuchel has won 31 of his 49 matches and can set a record for the most victories in his first 50 games as a boss in the competition with another success in Lille, as he is currently level with Zinedine Zidane's tally.

Lille's chances of forcing their way back into the tie appear to be slim, as not only do they trail by two goals, they have lost their past three Champions League games against the Premier League club.

They have also been eliminated from each of their three previous European knockout ties after losing the first leg.

The last side to progress against Champions League holders after failing to score in the opening leg was Arsenal versus Milan in 2007-08, with the first leg a goalless draw.

Each of Chelsea's past 11 wins in the Champions League have come with a clean sheet, 10 of which have come under Tuchel in just 14 matches.

Juventus v Villarreal

January signing Vlahovic set a record for the quickest goal by a Champions League debutant when he was on target after only 32 seconds of the first leg.

Juve are without a win in each of their past seven first-leg games in the Champions League (D3 L4), going on to be eliminated from four of their previous five knockout ties in the competition. 

Villarreal have won their past two away games in the Champions League, the same number of victories as they managed across the 15 such matches beforehand.

Juve have only lost three of their previous 23 Champions League matches at home to Spanish sides in this competition, winning 12 and drawing eight.

This will be Villarreal’s first visit to Juventus in any competition as they scent a place in the quarter-finals.

Juan Cuadrado is in line to make his 50th appearance for Bianconeri in the Champions League. He has provided 11 assists for the Serie A giants in the competition, which is the most by any player in the period since he first joined the club in 2015.

Massimiliano Allegri confirmed Juventus stars Giorgio Chiellini and Paulo Dybala will return against Villarreal in the Champions League, while he hailed the partnership between Dusan Vlahovic and Alvaro Morata.

The Bianconeri were held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the last-16 clash between the pair on February 22, leaving it all to play for in the return meeting on Wednesday in Turin.

History favours the Italian hosts at the Allianz Stadium, given Juve have won each of their last six Champions League home games - only managing more consecutive such victories once in the competition (10 games between 1996 and 1997).

Allegri's side will also be boosted by the return of Dybala and Chiellini, who have not featured in over a month due to muscle injuries, but they will be without Leonardo Bonucci and Alex Sandro.

"Chiellini, Dybala and [Federico] Bernardeschi are back," Allegri told reporters at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

"They are three important returns, we hope to win the game in normal time otherwise we will have to do it in extra time.

"Tomorrow the substitutions will be important. Chiellini, Dybala and Bernardeschi are not ready to play 90 minutes, but they can be important changes.

"Bonucci is out: at Empoli and with Villarreal in the first leg, he was struggling with injury and made himself available to the team. He has a calf problem that will keep him out.

"Alex [Sandro] felt something in his calf and I do not want to risk it, since it is not the last game of the season. [Denis] Zakaria will maybe come back on Thursday, otherwise after the international break."

 

Vlahovic became just the third player in Champions League history to score inside the first minute on their debut in the competition, after Andreas Moller (for Borussia Dortmund v Juventus) and Ishak Belfodil (for Hoffenheim v Manchester City).

Allegri revealed that the former Fiorentina striker will start against Unai Emery's side, while he praised the recent form of the Serbian forward and partner Morata.

"Vlahovic will play, Morata is in good form and he's always had quality. He was always criticised despite playing in a position that was not his natural one.

"I am happy with him, he is playing well with Vlahovic, he has more freedom on the pitch. We all feel well, we'll also need a bit of luck to qualify.”

As for Juve's chances of winning the competition, Allegri - who has twice guided the Bianconeri to the Champions League final - insisted that his side must leave everything on the pitch and not have any regrets.

"I have clear ideas, hopefully, I’ll get it right. The team is feeling well. It’s the decisive moment of the season," he continued.

"We must have the ambition to reach the final, it's a target we have so we must try. If we are good and lucky, we'll make it, if the others are better than us, we won't make it.

"We can't have regrets, tomorrow is like a final that we play at home. 

"However, we've done nothing so far. We can't lose balance, we must keep our feet on the ground and take a step at a time. The target was to get to March and play for our targets. We are here, there's adrenaline, the fans will have to help us.

"Villarreal are an experienced team, with a very good coach. They concede almost nothing, we must make as few mistakes as possible and prepare the game well. We took some risks in Spain, but we also had a few chances to double the lead."

Juventus have confirmed reports Weston McKennie fractured the second and third metatarsals in his left foot against Villarreal.

McKennie had to be substituted late in Juve's 1-1 Champions League draw on Tuesday.

Reports soon followed of a double break for the United States midfielder, and the Bianconeri confirmed those claims on their return to Italy.

McKennie is expected to miss eight weeks, ruling him out of next month's World Cup qualifying triple-header with the USMNT.

Alex Sandro is set for a shorter lay-off, although Juve will also be without the left-back for the time being.

He took a blow to his calf and is to be evaluated again in 10 days.

Meanwhile, 20-year-old forward Kaio Jorge was set for surgery having sprained his knee, capping a day of miserable injury news for Juve.

Weston McKennie was injured against Villarreal on Tuesday in a blow to both Juventus and the United States.

Midfielder McKennie had to be helped from the pitch with nine minutes remaining of Juve's 1-1 Champions League draw.

And reports after the game suggested the former Schalke man had fractured two bones in his left foot.

Head coach Massimiliano Allegri was still waiting on official confirmation as he faced the media, saying: "He is going for an X-ray to his foot; we hope it is nothing serious."

An extended period on the sidelines would prompt concern for both club and country.

While Juve are battling for a top-four finish in Serie A and hoping to advance in the Champions League, the USMNT have vital World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica next month.

McKennie's international team-mate Giovanni Reyna left Borussia Dortmund's most recent match through injury.

Dusan Vlahovic was left with mixed feelings about his Champions League debut after Juventus' 1-1 draw with Villarreal. 

The former Fiorentina striker found the back of the net just 32 seconds into the first leg of the last-16 tie in Spain – the fastest goal in the competition by a full debutant. 

Vlahovic demonstrated tremendous instincts as he controlled Danilo's lofted ball on his chest and slotted into the far corner past a flat-footed Geronimo Rulli. 

Juventus were unable to preserve their advantage, though. Dani Parejo equalised in the 66th minute to leave the contest finely poised ahead of the second leg on March 16. 

While the Serbia international was thrilled to be on target, he admitted the result took the shine off his achievement. 

"It was huge to score on my debut; it was very emotional. However, I cannot be 100 per cent satisfied because we have not won the game," he said. 

"We have to keep working hard. We played a good game and we could have won.  

"We tried to play well also in the second half but sometimes the opposition do not allow you to do what you want to do. So, congratulations to them for equalising.  

"There are some regrets, but we must just focus on the next game." 

Meanwhile, head coach Massimiliano Allegri was left frustrated by the manner of Villarreal's equaliser. 

An unmarked Parejo was allowed to drift into the penalty area and sweep Etienne Capoue's lofted pass beyond Wojciech Szczesny. 

"We made a bad mistake on their equaliser," Allegri said. "We perfectly knew that they were trying that move and we still allowed them to score. However, the team played a good game in general.  

"We made a few mistakes also in attack; straying offside when we had good chances on the counter-attack.  

"In general, I'm quite satisfied with the performance." 

Dusan Vlahovic scored on his Champions League debut as Juventus were held to a 1-1 draw by Villarreal in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

The former Fiorentina striker broke the deadlock after just 32 seconds at El Madrigal, netting the fastest goal in the competition by a Bianconeri debutant.

But Juve were pegged back when Dani Parejo capitalised on sloppy defending by equalising in the 66th minute.

Neither side could then find a winner, leaving the tie finely poised ahead of the return leg in Turin on March 16.

Leading the line in the Champions League for the first time since his move from Fiorentina, Vlahovic wasted no time in making his mark. 

Latching onto Danilo's long ball, he brilliantly slotted into the far corner past Geronimo Rulli, becoming only the second Juventus player to find the net in the opening minute of a match in the competition.

Villarreal looked to respond in the 13th minute; Alfonso Pedraza embarked on a driving run into the box before feeding Giovani Lo Celso, who was denied by the post.

Wojciech Szczesny was then called into action as he produced smart reflexes to block Arnaut Danjuma's clever flick towards goal.

The hosts turned up the pressure after the break and were rewarded with an equaliser midway through the second half.

Completely unmarked, Parejo collected Etienne Capoue's lofted ball into the area before neatly sweeping past Szczesny.

Adrien Rabiot was fortunate to avoid further punishment when booked for his rash challenge on Samuel Chukwueze, and Juve held on as Villarreal enjoyed a greater share of possession as the clock ticked down.

Dusan Vlahovic made Juventus history by striking inside the opening minute of their Champions League clash with Villarreal on Tuesday.

The Serbia international, who was making his debut in the competition after moving from Fiorentina last month, put the Bianconeri ahead after just 32 seconds at El Madrigal.

Controlling Danilo's long ball before slotting past Geronimo Rulli, Vlahovic became only the third player to score inside the opening minute of his first Champions League start.

Following in the footsteps of Andreas Moller (for Borussia Dortmund against Juventus in 1995) and Ishak Belfodil (for Hoffenheim against Manchester City in 2018), Vlahovic's was the fastest Champions League goal by a debutant playing for Juve.

Only the second Juve player to score in the first minute of any match in this competition – after Alessandro Del Piero against Manchester United in 1997 – the 22-year-old also became the first to net on his Bianconeri debut in the modern knockout-stage format.

It was the earliest goal in a Champions League knockout game since David Alaba struck against Juve after just 24 seconds for Bayern Munich in 2013.

Champions League holders Chelsea get their knockout campaign started on Tuesday as the defence of their crown enters an altogether more challenging stage.

Thomas Tuchel's men may feel they have dodged a bullet or two by getting this draw, with their next opponents Lille struggling to match the highs of their Ligue 1 title victory from last season in 2021-22.

Tuesday's other encounter sees Juventus travel to Villarreal, with Massimiliano Allegri looking to improve on the knockout exploits of Maurizio Sarri and Andrea Pirlo before him.

Here, Stats Perform delves into the Opta data to pick out the key statistical narratives and subplots ahead of Tuesday's games.

Chelsea v Lille

Much of the attention at Stamford Bridge will be on Romelu Lukaku, whether the Belgian plays or not.

The big-money signing's struggles this season have been well-publicised, but he hit a new low on Saturday as he touched the ball just seven times in the win over Crystal Palace – that is the fewest by any player to feature for 90 minutes in a single Premier League game since at least 2003-04.

On the other side of the contest is a striker aiming to emulate Lionel Messi. Jonathan David may not have scored a Ligue 1 goal since December but the talented Canadian impressed in the second half of the group stage.

He scored one goal in each of his last three appearances in the competitions, meaning if he scores on Tuesday he will be the second-youngest (22 years, 39 days) non-European to score in four successive Champions League games after Messi (21y, 155d in November 2008).

That is not to say Lille are a high-scoring side. Many will be wondering who let Les Dogues out of Group G, given their haul of seven makes them the lowest-scoring group winners since Leicester City and Atletico Madrid (seven each) in 2016-17. In fact, no team from that section scored more than eight.

The omens are, perhaps unsurprisingly, overwhelmingly in Chelsea's favour here. Only Manchester City (15) and Bayern Munich (14) have won more Champions League games than the holders since the start of last season, while Lille are appearing at this stage for just the second time ever.

Further to that, Tuchel boasts a fine record in Champions League knockout ties, having progressed from/won (including finals) eight of his previous 11 (73 per cent), a success rate bettered by only three managers (minimum 10 knockout ties): Vicente del Bosque (80 per cent - 8/10), Jupp Heynckes (86 per cent - 12/14) and Zinedine Zidane (88 per cent - 14/16).

Villarreal v Juventus

Sarri and then Pirlo were both tasked with establishing a new era at Juventus, but when Allegri returned after a two-year break in pre-season, he picked up the pieces of a side that had regressed significantly.

There remain plenty who feel Allegri never should have been re-hired, but this tie at least gives him an opportunity to point to a degree of progress – at least in the context of the Champions League.

After all, neither Sarri nor Pirlo got beyond the last 16. Allegri, on the other hand, was only eliminated at this stage once in five seasons, and that was to Pep Guardiola's excellent Bayern side.

His counterpart on Tuesday, Unai Emery, has something of a point to prove as well, but his has more to do with his own personal record.

While something of a specialist at Europa League level, having won the competition four times including last season, he has won only one of six knockout games in the Champions League.

Much of Emery's hope will be pinned on Arnaut Danjuma.

The Dutchman – who recently returned from two months out and scored a hat-trick at the weekend – had a hand in five goals in the group stage, which is already a joint-club record for the club in the competition.

By no means are the Yellow Submarine a one-man team, however. Young winger Yeremi Pino caught the eye in the group and is plotting to become only the fourth Spanish teenager to score in the knockout stages of the Champions League after Bojan, Cesc Fabregas and Raul.

Massimiliano Allegri remains optimistic about Juventus' chances of succeeding in the Coppa Italia and the Champions League.

The Bianconeri occupy the final Champions League qualification spot in Serie A, three points ahead of fifth-placed Atalanta, who have a game in hand.

Allegri's team struggled to find their feet at the start of the season, but they are now unbeaten across seven games in all competitions, including a 2-1 win over Sassuolo that booked their spot in the Coppa Italia semi-final - where they will meet Fiorentina across a two-legged tie.

While the 54-year-old has repeatedly quashed claims that Juve could mount a late charge for the Scudetto, he suggested his side fancy their chances in the other two competitions they are in.

"We play to win, both the Cup and the Champions League, then obviously it all depends on how things go," Allegri told reporters ahead of Tuesday's away first-leg clash with Villarreal in the Champions League last 16.

"How does our approach change with the new away goals rule? I don't know yet, in the meantime let's think about getting a result.

"Order, technique and patience: it is unlikely that the next round will be decided on Tuesday. The derby [a 1-1 draw with Torino] was a hard-fought game, Juve played a good game, but you always need to be calm and balanced in the analysis.

"At the beginning of the season against Torino, we would have lost. I'm happy with the team's approach, so I want to see them play well with and without the ball against Villarreal. We will have to be both good and lucky."

Juve's upturn in form has coincided with the January signing of Dusan Vlahovic, who moved from Fiorentina in a deal that could be worth up to €80million.

However, Juve will be without talisman Paulo Dybala – who leads the club scoring and assist charts this season (12 goals, six assists) – after the forward sustained a muscle injury against Torino.

In the Argentina international's absence, Allegri confirmed that new star Vlahovic will be supported by Alvaro Morata, who has scored in two of his last four appearances against Villarreal in all competitions (two goals).

"Alvaro Morata and Vlahovic play up top, then let's see for the rest," he continued. "I have some doubts in midfield.

"We must not give an excessive load of responsibility to Vlahovic - this is his [Champions League] debut, let's not forget that. I must also protect him as I have done with others. He is just 22 years old."

Allegri has progressed from four of his previous five round-of-16 ties in charge of Juventus in the Champions League, with his only elimination coming against Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in 2015-16.

Meanwhile, Villarreal head coach Unai Emery has only won one of his six games as a head coach in the knockout stages of the competition (D1 L4), losing each of the last three in a row, but Allegri reserved praise for his opposite number.

"It is not an easy tie - Villarreal have a good coach, they have technique, physicality and also they have come from a good period," he added. "On our part, we will have to bring maximum effort."

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