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England’s European hopes rest with Chelsea, United
Question of the Day
MANCHESTER, England (AP) - With Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund all but through to the Champions League quarterfinals, the focus this week is on whether Chelsea and Manchester United can preserve English representation in the competition in what is proving a miserable season in Europe for Premier League clubs.
Chelsea is tied at 1-1 with Galatasaray ahead of their last-16 second leg at Stamford Bridge and United is in deeper trouble, behind 2-0 to Olympiakos after a wretched performance in the first leg in Greece.
Arsenal and Manchester City have already been eliminated from the Champions League and Tottenham, the sole remaining English representative in the Europa League, is also close to the exit after losing 3-1 at home to Benfica in their last-16 first leg.
Madrid has a 6-1 lead over Schalke and Dortmund is ahead 4-2 against Zenit St. Petersburg.
Here is a lookahead to this week’s last-16 second legs in the Champions League:
Didier Drogba is set to be afforded a hero’s welcome when he returns to Stamford Bridge with Galatasaray for the first time since leaving Chelsea in 2012, two days after winning them the Champions League in his final match for the club.
“I am quite apprehensive about it,” Drogba told UEFA.com.
Whether Chelsea fans will be singing Drogba’s name at the end of the second leg remains to be seen.
The Ivory Coast striker, who scored 157 goals in eight years at Chelsea, is the biggest threat to his former team’s chances of progression and Jose Mourinho’s hopes of becoming the first manager to win the Champions League with three different clubs.
Chelsea will be disappointed not to have brought a lead back to London after dominating the first half in Istanbul but failing to add to Fernando Torres’ early goal. On the other hand, the Premier League leaders have lost just twice at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League since 2003 and are big favorites to advance.
Nobody could blame Real Madrid if it is looking past Schalke to its next game, which is none other than a visit by Barcelona for a “clasico” match that will have huge implications in the Spanish league title race.
By Isaac Orr
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