The 2013 UEFA Champions League is down to the final matches of the Round of 16 and all of next week's contests will determine who advances to the quarterfinals.
Barcelona will look to avenge their 2-0 loss at the hands of Milan and have quite the hill to climb if they would like to advance.
Shalke and Galatasaray played an extremely close match that ended in a 1-1 tie. It appears these are two of the more evenly matched sides in this tourney.
Bayern and Arsenal finished with the German side completing a 3-1 win, but Arsenal could erase that deficit if they start capitalizing on all the chances they couldn't last match.
Finally, Malaga will take on Porto who had an incredible amount of shots on net and still won 1-0. Thankfully for Malaga, they only have a one-goal deficit to overcome despite what the first match looked like.
Let's take a look at each of these matchups before they happen.
Barcelona vs. Milan
Despite the fact that Barcelona dominated possession of the ball in their last match with Milan the Italian side was still able to hold Messi and Barcelona scoreless.
On top of that, Milan was much more efficient after taking eight total shots with six finding their mark while Barcelona would only muster up six shots with two of them landing on net.
But Milan can't expect Messi to continue to be so quiet this time around and must expect the greatest player on the planet to break loose and score a goal or two in this one. Milan's goalkeeper must be ready to face some extra shots in this contest.
Sure, defense will still be important for Milan, but the offense must be able to get going or else Barcelona could very well make up the two-goal deficit they currently face rather quickly. Not to mention that controlling possession time should be paramount because the more Barcelona has the ball, the more Messi has the opportunity to do damage.
Schalke vs. Galatasaray
These two squads battled to a 1-1 tie in their last meeting on Feb. 20, so it all comes down to who walks out of this match ahead in the goal department.
Schalke and Galatasaray were evenly matched the first time around. The German side barely edged Didier Drogba and co. in time of possession (52-48), but Galatasaray took more total shots (13-12) and had more of those shots find the net (7-5).
The biggest advantage for the German side is their goalkeeper, Timo Hildebrand. This talented netminder notched a total of six saves, so clearly Schalke has a great insurance policy behind their defense.
Galatasaray's Burak Yilmaz is about as talented a goal scorer as you'll find and he showed that against Schalke back in February. However, the German side didn't get a contribution from arguably their best scorer, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who attempted just one shot (off target) and that simply isn't enough if Schalke wants to top Galatasaray.
Bayern vs. Arsenal
Bayern scored three goals to Arsenal's one in the pair's last meeting, but Arsenal certainly had plenty of chances to score more and even this match up.
Arsenal had the edge in time of possession (55-45), but also had more shots on target than Bayern (9-8). Jupp Heynckes' side may have been able to escape with just one goal surrendered last time around, but they shouldn't be so confident that can happen again.
Bayern must bring a better defensive effort against Arsenal and limit their chances otherwise the two-goal advantage the Bundesliga leaders have built could be erased in the first half of this match.
The Gunners weren't able to get Theo Walcott or Olivier Giroud going, so it's vital for the English side that these two have big games in order to open things up and erase the deficit. Goalkeeping and defense will also be important because Arsenal cannot afford to give up a single goal or else their semifinal hopes could be over before this match gets off the ground.
Malaga vs. Porto
Quite frankly, Malaga was fortunate to lose 1-0 in the last match as Porto bombarded their goalkeeper with 17 shots, 10 of which landed on the net. Also, the Portuguese side controlled possession time (61-39) and largely kept their opponents at bay, allowing just one shot.
It took a brilliant performance by Malaga's goalkeeper and a little bit of luck in order to stave off what should have been a blowout. It's doubtful Porto will come out any less aggressive in the next match, so that same goalkeeping and better defense will be necessary to survive the onslaught.
More importantly, Malaga must get on the scoreboard if they want to have a chance of advancing. I mentioned Malaga only mustered up one shot in the first leg and this club must be more aggressive in order to create more chances on net.
Manuel Pellegrini's leading scorer, Isco, went scoreless in the last showdown but is a key man if his team hopes to progress to the next round. At this point, Malaga must try whatever it can to get some kind of offense going.