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Champions League rolling blog

Quarter-finalists will be decided tonight in Barcelona and Donetsk while the build-up has begun to Wednesday's matches. We have updates from all four cities and you can have your say.
Champions League rolling blog

Have your say on all this week's UEFA Champions League round of 16 deciders as tonight FC Barcelona welcome Arsenal FC trying to overturn a 2-1 deficit while FC Shakhtar Donetsk defend a 3-2 lead against AS Roma. Then tomorrow AC Milan are looking to overcome a 1-0 first-leg home defeat at Tottenham Hotspur FC while, in Germany, FC Schalke 04 host Valencia CF with the tie poised at 1-1.'s team of reporters will bring you all the latest news throughout the week in this rolling UEFA Champions League blog.

Tuesday 11.21, Madrid
Valencia midfielder Tino Costa is raring to go after their final training session before travelling to Germany. "We know it's going to be difficult but we are fully focused and desperate to get going," he told reporters. "We will be looking to achieve victory over there and for that reason our self-belief will play a big part in the outcome of this eliminator."

Tuesday 11.03, Viktor Sharafudinov in Donetsk
Due to national holidays in Ukraine there are no newspapers but the websites are hard at work. is speculating about the tactics Mircea Lucescu and Montella nwill use. "A 3-2 away victory allows to [Shaktar] to approach the match in Donetsk with optimism. It will be much easier for the Pitmen to choose proper tactics, as Roma must score at least two goals. Usually Roma attack very well, but they had problems with defensive organisation in even though most of their defenders are very experiences." analyses the coaching changes at Roma since the first leg. "The Donetsk match will not give a definitive answer about Montella's ability to return to Spalletti-style football. Vincenzo hasn't had time for this. Roma can rely only on willpower and the character of their players. That is why Francesco Totti has spoken about "champions' spirit" before the match. There are no doubts that the experienced Roma players will do their best to reach the quarterfinals. They would do so in Donetsk even without a coach or with Totti in charge. The game will be very difficult for Shakhtar in any case."

Tuesday 10.15, Milan
In Italy, La Gazzetta dello Sport asked the three Serie A teams in the last 16 to "come to the rescue" after first-leg home defeats (something examined in our blog) starting with Roma tonight. However, the newspaper believes that a desire for "revenge" could motivate the visitors to a history-defying comeback.

Rome-based Il Corriere dello Sport-Stadio underlines that the real danger for the Giallorossi in Ukraine will be the ice-cold weather, but explains that a win in Donetsk should be not only a valuable thing in itself, but also the best way to approach the weekend derby against S.S. Lazio, quoting Francesco Totti as saying: "We are facing two crucial games and I'm sure we can win both of them. We'll give Shakhtar a scare at their place, for sure, and after that we'll start thinking about the Lazio match."

Tuesday 10.05, Madrid
Over in Spain, El Mundo Deportivo declares: "Messi is ready to lead a vital comeback." The publication goes on to explain that Los Azulgrana – "ahead of their biggest game of the season to date" – may line up with Eric Abidal and Sergio Busquets in central defence due to the absences of suspended Gerard Piqué and the injured Carles Puyol.

El Pais, meanwhile, explains that Barça have overturned 2-1 deficits in European competition three times in the past but warned that Arsenal "with their attractive footballing style and dangerous counterattacks" are more than good enough to reach the quarter-finals at the expense of the Liga leaders. The national daily says that the Iniesta-Xavi-Messi triumvirate will be crucial to the home team's hopes this evening.

Tuesday 09.55, London
The question of how Arsenal can avoid a repeat of their Lionel Messi-inspired 4-1 Camp Nou loss in last year's quarter-finals. The Daily Telegraph remembers Sir Alex Ferguson's inspirational team talk before Manchester United FC's crucial 3-3 draw there in the 1998/99 group stage, talking of realising his dream of bringing a team to Barcelona that could match the home side's attacking prowess."This evening Arsène Wenger will doubtless follow the Ferguson line," the newspaper argues. "For a football aesthete like him the Nou Camp should represent not so much his greatest challenge as the ultimate opportunity. Overcome Barcelona in their extraordinary headquarters and you really have arrived."

The Daily Mirror, meanwhile, looks at the possible surprise selection of Robin van Persie. "Arsène Wenger is ready to take the biggest gamble of his career on striker Robin van Persie's fitness tonight. Wenger – boosted by captain Cesc Fabregas being fit to play – even had to book Van Persie onto their private charter flight to Barcelona yesterday following the Dutch forward's miraculous recovery from a knee injury. Van Persie was expected to be out for up to six weeks after suffering the injury in the [League] Cup final nine days ago. But he trained yesterday and pleaded with Wenger to be given a chance in the Nou Camp tonight."

Tuesday 09.30, London
Previews are now available for both of Tuesday's fixtures, Barcelona v Arsenal and Shakhtar v Roma, while you can also read what Cesc Fàbregas feels about his return to Camp Nou. As for Wednesday's games, Tottenham give their press conference at 16.00, followed three hours later by Milan. Schalke meet the media at 17.30 followed an hour hence by Valencia.

Our Predictor competition gives you the chance to forecast this week's scores – and win semi-final tickets. During Tuesday and Wednesday's matches, tickets are on offer in our Player Rater feature while there are also prizes to be won in Play of the Day, which reviews the top action from the last round of 16 games.

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