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Europa League round of 16 first legs: Game-by-game preview

Get the lowdown on the UEFA Europa League round of 16 first legs.

Atalanta take on Leverkusen in the round of 16
Atalanta take on Leverkusen in the round of 16 Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In the UEFA Europa League round of 16, group stage winners take on the sides that made it through the knockout round play-offs. And remember, the away-goals rule has been abolished so what you see is what you get!

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Thursday 10 March

Sevilla vs West Ham

Sevilla vs English clubs
Sevilla vs English clubs

One English tabloid described West Ham's draw against the six-time winners and final hosts as "a nightmare", but David Moyes' side may not be quite so intimidated by history as they continue to upset the old order at the top end of the Premier League. "I wanted a big game and I want the big teams and I want us to challenge them and really go for it," said the former Manchester United and Everton boss, who has his eyes on a return for the final. "It would be good to go there twice, so it would be good to get used to the stadium!"

Did you know?
The last English side to visit Sevilla were West Ham's London rivals Chelsea, who won 4-0 in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League group stage, Olivier Giroud scoring all four goals.

What next?

Winners of the ties earn a place in the quarter-final draw on Friday 18 March. There will also be draws for the semi-finals and, for procedural purposes, the final which takes place at Seville's Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium on 18 May.

Rangers vs Crvena zvezda

Highlights: Dortmund 2-4 Rangers
Highlights: Dortmund 2-4 Rangers

Rangers won two of these famous sides previous three ties, but if the Light Blues have had slightly the better of past fixtures in terms of individual games (W3 D2 D2), manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst – flush from eliminating Borussia Dortmund – knows not to be overconfident: "They finished top of their group so we know they will be a tough team." Dejan Stanković feels his 'Red Star' side will appreciate the opportunity to shine. "Europe is always magical for Crvena zvezda. No one can stop us from dreaming and looking ahead."

Did you know?
Rangers are unbeaten at home against Crvena zvezda (W2 D1), but have not won in three games in Belgrade (D1 L2).

Braga vs Monaco

Highlights: Braga 2-0 Sheriff (3-2 pens)
Highlights: Braga 2-0 Sheriff (3-2 pens)

Monaco topped a brutally hard Group B, finishing unbeaten ahead of Real Sociedad and PSV Eindhoven as well as Sturm Graz, but if Braga look less daunting on paper, coach Philippe Clement is not writing off the 2011 UEFA Europa League runners-up. "We are entering the knockout phase, so all the teams still involved have qualities," the Belgian said. "There is not much difference in standard." Braga have been punching above their weight, their youthful side lifted by the goals of Ricardo Horta and the creativity of Iuri Medeiros.

Did you know?
Braga lost both of their previous two-legged ties against French sides, going out to Paris Saint-Germain in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup round of 16 and Marseille in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League last 32.

Atalanta vs Leverkusen

Highlights: Olympiacos 0-3 Atalanta
Highlights: Olympiacos 0-3 Atalanta

Eliminated by Köln in the 1990/91 UEFA Cup and Dortmund in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League, Atalanta have not always thrived against German sides, but have taken a step up since as they meet the 2002 UEFA Champions League finalists Leverkusen. After the draw, Werkself boss Gerardo Soane gushed over Gian Piero Gasperini's "Champions League-quality" side and their "sexy style of play". The Italian club's president Antonio Percassi added: "Atalanta will give everything on the pitch as always: it's in our DNA."

Did you know?
Atalanta have hit 17 goals in UEFA club competition this season, only once failing to score two or more in a game, when they beat Young Boys 1-0 at home.

Barcelona vs Galatasaray 

Highlights: Napoli 2-4 Barcelona
Highlights: Napoli 2-4 Barcelona

If Barcelona's season has been turbulent, Galatasaray's has been even more so, the Istanbul giants mired in mid-table with no obvious route into Europe for next season barring winning the UEFA Europa League. Xavi Hernández seems to have turned a corner since taking over as Barcelona coach, while newly-appointed Domenèc Torrent (once Pep Guardiola's assistant at the Camp Nou) has been getting encouraging results with Cimbom, thanks in part to on-loan Barcelona goalkeeper Iñaki Peña.

Did you know?
Barcelona's record in eight previous European meetings with Galatasaray is W5 D2 L1.

Following the decision by the UEFA Executive Committee, the fixture between Leipzig and Spartak Moskva will no longer take place as scheduled. Leipzig qualify directly for the quarter-finals.

No away goals rule

Following the recommendation of the UEFA Club Competitions Committee and the UEFA Women's Football Committee, the UEFA Executive Committee approved in June a proposal to remove the so-called away goals rule from all UEFA club competitions.

With the decision to remove this rule, ties in which the two teams score the same number of goals over the two legs are no longer decided on the number of goals scored away but by two 15-minute periods of extra time and, if necessary, a penalty shoot-out.