Manchester United will look to eliminate AC Milan for the first time while Real Madrid seek a maiden victory over Olympique Lyon when the Champions League returns on Tuesday after its winter break.
In a move designed to allow more fans to see the matches on television, the round of 16 will be played on eight different evenings spread over a month featuring two games a night, rather than four evenings with four matches a night. UEFA spokesman Rob Faulkner said: “The change means more fans have the chance to see the bigger games on television. UEFA will not earn any extra TV revenue as the number of matches remains the same.”
The first knockout round will take from February 16 until March 17 to complete, with the return legs of Tuesday’s matches not being played until March 10.
The two other ties kicking off this week are between Porto and Arsenal and Bayern Munich and Fiorentina, with the return legs on March 9.
The first leg of the eagerly awaited clash between Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan and his former club Chelsea is not until Feb. 24 when CSKA Moscow also play Sevilla. Holders Barcelona return to action when they visit VfB Stuttgart on Feb. 23 while Olympiakos Piraeus meet Girondins Bordeaux the same night.
While the game between Inter and Chelsea offers intriguing possibilities in a Serie A-Premier League clash at the San Siro next week, the stadium will host another Italy vs England clash this Tuesday when Milan meet United. United will be looking to knock Milan out of Europe for the first time after four straight failures since their first meeting in 1958 --- three of those defeats coming in the semifinals of the European Cup or Champions League.
Milan have won all four matches between the clubs at home and one of their players is especially looking forward to extending that run.