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Spanish pair defend leads, English duo trail

10 March 2014, 16:04

Berlin - English duo Arsenal and Manchester City look to avenge home defeats in Champions League away ties this midweek while Atletico Madrid and Barcelona hope to ease their way into the next round.

Atletico Madrid are trying to avoid over-confidence ahead of Tuesday's Champions League round of 16 showdown at home to AC Milan.

Diego Simeone's tough team won the first leg 1-0 in the San Siro, but will not be complacent about the second leg.

"We have a small advantage after winning in Milan, but that could disappear in the space of one minute," said veteran captain Gabi Sunday.

"We have to go into the game thinking the score is 0-0, I think, without believing that we have finished the job already. They are a good team and will surely make things difficult for us."

Atletico's only injury victim is youngster Javier Manquillo, now that veteran midfielder Tiago Mendes is fit again.

Milan are without suspended midfield pair Riccardo Montolivo and Sulley Ali Muntari as they look to overturn the first leg deficit.

Mario Balotelli made his return in Saturday's defeat at Udinese but coach Clarence Seedorf is waiting on the fitness of midfielders Nigel de Jong and Andrea Poli though he named both in the travelling party.

Unlike Atletico, Barcelona are approaching Wednesday's second leg against Manchester City in poor heart.

Lionel Messi and company turned in their flattest display of the season Saturday to lose 1-0 at lowly Valladolid, a defeat which left them four points behind league leaders Real Madrid.

Another meltdown against City is unlikely after a 2-0 win in the first leg, although anything but a convincing win might try the patience of the Camp Nou.

"These players have shown over many years that they can emerge from problems. We should have confidence in them," said Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu Sunday.

Coach Gerardo Martino - who wears a haunted, hunted look nowadays - has a full squad at his disposal including Andres Iniesta, who missed the loss in Valladolid because his wife had suffered a miscarriage.

Manchester City will try to fight back in Barcelona after the shock of being knocked out of the FA Cup by Wigan on Sunday.

"We must go to Barcelona and try to continue in the Champions League, although it will be difficult," said manager Manuel Pellegrini.

"It's important for a big team, when you have a setback, you have to react quickly."

City will welcome back captain Vincent Kompany, after he was rested in defeat by Wigan, and he will replace the suspended Martin Demichelis.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes his side can overturn a 2-0 deficit in Germany when they play Champions League holders Bayern Munich Tuesday.

Arsenal won 2-0 at Bayern last year only to go out on the away goals rule and even without the injured Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott, Wenger thinks a repeat performance is possible.

"We have to go out there and go for it," Wenger said.

"I am confident we can produce a stunning result.

"It is down to scoring the first goal. After that, anything is possible. This time last year we went there and won 2-0, so we can take confidence from that.

"It is never over in this game. We will go there with belief that we can do it."

Wenger will check the fitness of defender Laurent Koscielny, who missed the weekend FA Cup win over Everton because of a hamstring injury. Bayern's performance in beating Wolfsburg 6-1 Saturday was not as impressive as the result suggests and they are not taking anything for granted.

"We weren't as dominant as we have been in recent games," said coach Pep Guardiola.

"We'll have huge problems if we let Arsenal have the ball," he added.

Guardiola has everyone available for the Arsenal game other than long-term injury victim Holger Badstuber.

Bayer Leverkusen look to repair what seems a hopeless cause when they travel to Paris Saint Germain Wednesday 4-0 down from the first leg in Germany.

Including that thrashing, they have failed to win in their last six games in all competitions.

"In the Champions League we are out," Bernd Leno told the Bundesliga website.

"But we do not want to be slaughtered in Paris."

Leverkusen are without the suspended Emir Spahic while Jens Hegeler is out having been injured at the weekend. Lars Bender may be fit enough to return. Paris Saint Germain top the French league by eight points and are full of confidence after winning 3-0 at Bastia Saturday.



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