France and Portugal, the rivals in the UEFA index, will face difficulty this week with posters of Porto Leon and Braga Monaco, Wednesday and Thursday in the first leg of the round of 16 of the European League, as Barcelona opposed Galatasaray. , looks like a scarecrow.
On Wednesday, Olympique Lyonnais (6:45pm) travel to Porto to maintain its good European dynamics (16 points out of 18 possible in the group stage) and to forget a little about its inconsistency in the French league, where the club is trampled in the lower abdomen. .
For its part, Monaco seems to be refreshed with its victory on Sunday in Marseille (1-0) before facing Sporting Braga on Thursday at 9 pm.
These two head-to-head confrontations could prove decisive in the battle between French football (fifth in the UEFA index) and its number one pursuer, Portugal.
Thanks to its excellent European season, France can hope to boost its fifth place, which will be of great value in 2024 when the Champions League reform will give three directly qualifying spots to the fifth nation on the index, compared to two today.
But for this, Leones and Monaco must avoid falling into the trap, respectively at the Stadio Dragon in Porto, a club donated from the Champions League, and at the local stadium in Braga.
Ambition increased tenfold in Barcelona
At the Camp Nou, FC Barcelona greets Galatasaray (9pm) with growing ambition after a humiliating elimination from the Champions League group stage. The favorites against the Turks, disappointing No. 12 in the tournament, are also the favorites in the competition after they were brilliantly eliminated by Napoli in the qualifiers (4-2 in the second leg), a symbol of transformation that is being managed by new coach Xavi.
There are two other Spanish clubs in competition at C3. The winner of the competition six times, a record, and the author of a good season in the (second) league, Sevilla faces the English club West Ham. Andalusian rival Betis Sevilla, led by Nabil Fekir in good shape, will receive the Germans from Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday at 6:45 pm.
The second representative of the German championship in the round of 16 is Leverkusen. Bayer, third in the German League, will face the Italians from Atalanta Bergamo, who are accustomed to European matches in recent years, while Glasgow Rangers, who beat Dortmund in the previous round, will receive the Serbs from Red Star Belgrade.
It should be noted that one club has already qualified for the quarter-finals: RB Leipzig, who benefited from UEFA’s exclusion of Russian clubs and thus opponent Spartak Moscow, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The European League Round of 16 first leg program:
Wednesday, March 9:
(6:45 pm) Porto (Bor) – Lyon (France)
Betis Seville (Spain) – Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany)
Thursday 10 March
(6:45 pm) Seville (Spain) – West Ham (England)
(9pm) Glasgow Rangers (SCO) – Red Star Belgrade (SRB)
Sporting Braga (Bor) – Monaco (France)
Atlanta Bergamo (Italy) – Bayer Leverkusen (Germany).
Barcelona (Spain) – Galatasaray (Turkey)
Already qualified for the quarter-finals: RB Leipzig (Germany)