The Champions League resumes this week with four of the eight Last 16-ties taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday. How have the teams fared during the competition's winter break, who have they signed and what's the injury situation? Find out here …
Lyon v Apoel
Odds (William Hill) Lyon 4-9. Draw 3-1. Apoel 11-4.
Prediction Lyon to win 3-1 on aggregate
Lyon are no longer the dominant force of a few years ago and needed a 7-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb to overhaul Ajax in the last Group D game to qualify for the last 16. Now they meet the tournament's surprise package, Cypriot side Apoel, who were winners of Group G and have an eclectic group of players. There are Cypriots, Greeks, Brazilians, Portuguese, Macedonians, Bosnians, Argentinians, Tunisians, Portuguese and Spanish players at coach Ivan Jovanovic's disposal.
They have a Kaká – though he is sadly not of the same calibre as the Real Madrid player – and they have an Aílton – though thankfully not the overweight former Schalke player. The latter, who has just returned from a hernia problem, is the key up front for the Cypriots, having scored three goals already this Champions League campaign, and leads the line in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Apoel have, however, scored the fewest goals of all teams left in the competition and have had trouble creating chances domestically in 2012 as well. In addition, Jovanovic has problems in defence, with Marcelo Oliveira and Paulo Jorge struggling with injuries so the former Chelsea midfielder Nuno Morais has been playing at centre-back recently.
Not that Lyon have had an easy time either. Rémi Garde took over from the strict Claude Puel in the summer and was told he had no money to spend. The former Arsenal player has been forced to introduce several youngsters this season and, although they are still in four competitions, they lost at home to lowly Caen at the weekend. Players such as Alexandre Lacazette, Clément Grenier, and Samuel Umtiti have emerged while Garde has run out of patience with the underperforming Yoann Gourcuff. The Croatia centre-back Dejan Lovren is still struggling with injury, but his defensive colleague Cris could return.
Bayer Leverkusen v Barcelona
Odds Leverkusen 7-1. Draw 3-1. Barcelona 4-9
Prediction Barcelona to win 4-1 on aggregate
"I have enjoyed preparing for this game. I have watched a lot of good football," joked the Bayer Leverkusen coach, Robin Dutt, at the press conference on Monday. He wasn't joking, however, when he said that he thinks Barça are a better team than Spain and that he believes his team will have 30 or 35% possession on Tuesday night. Injuries have not helped. Sidney Sam, Michael Ballack, René Adler, Eren Derdiyok and Tranquillo Barnetta are all out, although Renato Augusto returned at the weekend and Michal Kadlec is back after missing the defeat against Borussia Dortmund through suspension.
Dutt could try a 4-2-3-1 formation with Augusto the central of the three attacking midfielders, the wonderfully talented André Schürrle on the left and Castro on the right. Vedran Corluka, on loan from Spurs, could start in defence.
Barcelona had their 18-match unbeaten run ended on Saturday, losing 3-2 to Osasuna. However, it was only a second defeat in 47 games for Barça and Xavi, Andrés Iniesta and Cesc Fábregas should return after being rested or on the bench at Osasuna. Sergio Busquets has returned to training following a knee injury and Gerard Piqué should also be able to play after reportedly escaping unhurt from a car crash on Monday.
Zenit St Petersburg v Benfica
Odds Zenit 8-5. Draw 21-10. Benfica 9-5
Prediction Benfica to win 3-2 on aggregate
A tricky tie for Zenit who have not played a competitive game since November because of the Russian winter break. They have been in training since 12 January, however, and spent a week and a half at the Italian national team base in Florence at the end of January and the beginning of February.
Their Italian coach, Luciano Spalletti, has had Domenico Criscito ruled out with food poisoning, the Portuguese international midfielder Danny sidelined with torn knee ligaments while Roman Shirokov (calf) and Aleksandr Bukharov (hamstring) both missed training the last week. Any good news? The defender Tomas Hubocan and the goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev have recovered from knocks.
Benfica will aim to become the first side to have beaten Zenit at Stadion Petrovskiy in 20 games and have added Yannick Djaló, the experienced Joan Capdevila and André Almeida to their Champions League squad over the winter. Benfica, who eliminated Manchester United at the group stage, are unbeaten in the Portuguese league this season and have scored in all their 34 competitive games this season. The midfielder Javi García is the coach Jesus Jorge's only injury problem.
Milan v Arsenal
Odds Milan 11-10. Draw 21-10. Arsenal 11-4
Prediction Arsenal to win 2-1 on aggregate
Arsenal will fancy their chances against a Milan side who are running out of steam amid all the injuries. Antonio Cassano, who had heart surgery in November, and Gennaro Gattuso, who has been diagnosed with a disorder associated with the nerve that controls eye movement, will not play again this season. Further injury worries include Mario Yepes, Alberto Aquilani (no surprise there), Kevin-Prince Boateng, Alexandre Pato, Alexander Merkel, Alessandro Nesta as well as the goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.
Abbiati, Boateng, Nesta and Pato could still feature against the Gunners. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who often struggles in the knockout stages of the Champions League but who scored twice against Arsenal for Barcelona two seasons ago, is available despite serving a domestic ban for slapping a Napoli player. He is likely to play up front with the former Manchester City striker Robinho with Boateng, if fit, in a free role behind them.
Stephan El Shaarawy, the talented 19-year-old of Italian-Egyptian descent, is likely to be on the bench, as is Maxi López, the striker they signed from Catania when the Carlos Tevez deal broke down. He scored one and set up one as Milan beat Udinese on Saturday. Thiago Silva has been superb in central defence and his contest with Robin van Persie should be fascinating.
Arsenal have no new injury worries apart from Per Mertesacker, who injured his ankle ligaments against Sunderland. Gervinho is not expected to play despite the Africa Cup of Nations finishing on Sunday. He should, however, be in the squad to face Sunderland in the FA Cup on Saturday.