BAYERN Munich host Arsenal and Napoli travel to Real Madrid as UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg action continues on Thursday (AEDT).
Bayern are heavily favoured to continue Arsenal’s miserable recent record at this stage of the competition.
Under fire Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed he will pick David Ospina in goal ahead of Peter Cech. He faces big calls in the make up of his team, especially in attack, with Mesut Ozil out of form.
“I will pick the team in the morning but Ozil is German and will be highly focused to have a good performance here,” Wenger said.
Bayern are top of the Bundesliga and have won their last 15 Champions League home games. They will be without Franck Ribery and Jerome Boateng.
Gareth Bale will miss Real’s match against Napoli.
Bale returned to full training on Sunday for the first time since damaging ankle ligaments against Sporting Lisbon on November 22, but Zinedine Zidane said the last 16 tie against the Serie A outfit had come too soon.
“This is the first week he has trained with us and he’s doing well. He’s recovered, he’s not feeling any discomfort and you’ll see if he makes it to the squad on the weekend” Zidane said.
“He’s had almost three months out, we have to take things very slowly with him.”
Zidane also lavished praise on opposite coach Maurizio Sarri, whose Napoli side head to the Spanish capital on an 18-game unbeaten run, bidding to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time.
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DESPITE half-centuries from Adam Voges and Sam Heazlett, the Prime Minister’s XI has lost against an impressive Sri Lankan outfit in Canberra.
Set 170 to win, the Sri Lankan openers came out all guns blazing and put 69 on the board in the first six overs in Wednesday night’s tour match at Manuka Oval.
Chief destroyer Niroshan Dickwella smashed eight fours and an audacious six scooped over third man on his way to 47 off 26 deliveries as he and stand-in skipper Upul Tharanga dominated the powerplay.
An attempted paddle sweep brought about Dickwella’s demise and he was caught behind off 18-year-old offspinner Arjun Nair.
STEVE Smith has given his players the freedom to sledge Virat Kohli, but having spent much of his career taking on the Indian superstar, Glenn Maxwell has other plans.
Australia are desperate to create doubt in Kohli’s masterful mind during the four-Test series that starts in India next Thursday, but wickets will be far more effective than words.
Smith’s side, who start a tour game in Mumbai on Friday before travelling to Pune for the first Test, have no shortage of plans to ponder as they seek to snap a nine-Test losing streak in Asia.
Coach Darren Lehmann recently admitted if they’re going to improve Australia’s terrible record in India, which stands at one Test series win in the past 47 years, then everything is going to have to go right.