New year to bring knockout nights of European football

Screen the nine British clubs still in the hunt for Euro glory on BT Sport

European competition will be back with a bang in 2020 after the Champions League and Europa League draw threw-up plenty of compelling ties.

With the full complement of nine British teams still in action across both competitions there is plenty to help you pull in a crowd on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.

And with all the games involving the English teams in the Champions League being played on different dates you’ll have eight great nights of action to look forward to.

Meanwhile, in the Europa League you can ensure long sessions on those Thursdays with back-to-back games involving the English and Scottish sides kicking off at 5.55pm and 8pm.

All of the ties will, of course, be live on BT Sport, which remains the home of the Champions League and Europa League until at least 2024. Here’s the rundown of the games featuring the Premier League and Scottish Premiership sides…

  • All matches kick off at 8pm unless otherwise stated

UEFA Champions League

Real Madrid vs Manchester City

This has the look of a final about it and is a clash that both sides would probably have preferred to have avoided at this early stage of proceedings. It sees the 13 times European champions go toe-to-toe with the champions of England and one of the favourites for the competition. But there are plenty of sub-plots too, Pep against his old Spanish rivals, Raheem Sterling facing a side reportedly interested in acquiring his services, Bale and Hazard potentially taking on Premier League opposition.

And what would an early exit mean for City and Pep in a season which has already seen them fall behind Liverpool in the title race? The decisive second leg will be played on St Patrick’s Day, as if you weren’t going to be busy enough already.

When: Wednesday February 26, Tuesday March 17
Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool

Liverpool fans have very happy memories of playing at Atletico’s Metropolitan stadium as it was only six months ago when they defeated Spurs there to claim a sixth Champions League crown. That said, Atletico have a strong record at home, with Chelsea one of the few teams to win their since it opened in 2017. League form suggests that the Spaniards may not quite be at the level of the team that made it two finals in two years but Liverpool will be wary of Diego Simeone’s side. This might be a cagey affair and Liverpool will need to be on full alert to progress.

When: Tuesday February 18, Wednesday March 11
Chelsea vs Bayern Munich

These two have history. The last time they met in the Champions League was in the final at Munich’s Allianz Arena in 2012. That was a summer for Londoners to remember for many reasons, not least because of Chelsea’s victory, secured with Didier Drogba’s winning spot kick. Frank Lampard was in the winning team that night and will return to Munich as boss of the Blues.

Chelsea’s young side will start as outsiders against a Munich outfit who were perfect in the group stages and thoroughly enjoyed their last visit to London. Just ask Spurs fans. Actually, that might be a subject best avoided.

When: Tuesday February 25, Wednesday March 18
Spurs vs RB Leipzig

On paper Spurs look to have got the best draw of all the English sides, but then football is played on grass not paper. Last year’s runners-ups are in the rarefied position of being more experienced at this level than their opponents. Leipzig are in the last 16 for the first time but they are enjoying a season of seasons, leading the Bundesliga in the run-up to Christmas. This might be the slightly understated tie of the round, but with two sides that love to get forward it might also be the surprise package.

When: Wednesday February 19, Tuesday March 10

UEFA Europa League

Wolves vs Espanyol

The next stop on Wolves’ European adventure will be in Spain, having already travelled to Portugal, Turkey and Slovakia. Espanyol made serene progress in the groups stages but are having a troublesome season in La Liga. The adventure may well continue for the Molineux men.

When: Thursday February 20, Thursday February 27 (5.55pm)
Copenhagen vs Celtic

The last time Celtic played Copenhagen Neil Lennon was in midfield. Now he’s on the bench hoping to see his side get past the stage they have fallen at in both of the last two seasons. The Glasgow side should be quietly confident.

When: Thursday February 20 (5.55pm), Thursday February 27
Olympiacos vs Arsenal

The Europa League is looking like the only hope for Arsenal in what is fast becoming a dismal top flight season. They face a club they know well from previous adventures in the Champions League. Here’s a couple of pub quiz questions for you. Who scored a hat-trick the last time these sides met in 2015 and which familiar face was the boss of the Greek side?*

When:Thursday February 20, Thursday February 27
Club Brugge vs Manchester United

The bookies have Man Utd as the favourites to repeat their 2017 success and win the Europa League this season. Brugge are outsiders at 100-1, so surely the Red Devils will progress serenely, right? Find out on BT Sport…

When: Thursday February 20 (5.55pm), Thursday February 27
Rangers vs Braga

This is the first season in the best part of a decade that Rangers will be playing European football after Christmas. What will be even more unfamiliar is their Portuguese opponents who they have never faced before.

When: Thursday February 20, Wednesday February 26 (5pm)

*Olivier Giroud and Marco Silva

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