Ominously for Chelsea, Robert Lewandowski has scored in all but one of Bayern Munich’s games since the Bundesliga returned from its winter break. The Polish striker has been in typically ruthless this season with 38 goals from 32 games in all competitions and is on course to record his best goalscoring season with the Bavarian club.
His form is reflective of a general upturn in Bayern’s form. After a less than impressive season last year that saw them tamely limp out of the Champions League at home to Liverpool last season.
But Bayern have bounced back remarkably well. Spurs fans will be a long time forgetting the 7-2 hammering they inflicted on them in October as Bayern cantered to the top of Group B with six wins out of six.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have blown hot and cold. They were very good in their win over Tottenham on Saturday and fully deserved victory, yet they were decidedly blunt up front against Manchester United six days earlier. Frank Lampard’s side have fallen at home to several lesser teams including West Ham, Bournemouth and Southampton in recent months and Bayern will not fear going there in the slightest.
The Blues have kept just one league clean sheet since Christmas and Bayern, with Lewandowski leading the line, should have little trouble breaking them down.
Pick: Bayern Munich to win and Robert Lewandowski to score anytime – 13/10 (Anytime Wincast)
From Barcelona’s perspective, Lionel Messi has rediscovered his goalscoring touch at precisely the right time. Messi hadn’t scored in any of his last four games – his worst goalscoring run in over six years – but still managed to register six assists during his mini-drought.
His return to the scoresheet couldn’t have happened at a more opportune moment. Barcelona have failed to ignite so far under Quique Setién and were merely drifting along. They have already been dumped out of the Copa Del Rey – their worst performance in the competition in a decade – and have slipped behind Real Madrid in La Liga.
They were in serious danger of crashing out of the Champions League by a formidable Napoli side. That danger still remains, but it has been mitigated by the fact that Messi is firing on all cylinders.
Napoli may be well off the pace in sixth in Serie A, but they have beaten Juventus, Lazio and Inter Milan – the current top three – since the turn of the year. Liverpool can also attest to how difficult the Italians are to play against.
The Reds have come up against them four times in just over a year and have won just once, losing twice. Their sole victory also came courtesy of a last gasp safe from Alisson to deny Arkadius Milik at the death.
Going to Naples is also never an easy task and Barcelona have struggled somewhat on their travels in Europe, having won just two of their last games. The Catalan giants drew in Lyon at this stage last season and it could well be the same outcome on Tuesday.
Pick: Draw – 5/2