Jose Mourinho makes an emotional return to Stamford Bridge while Barcelona aim to stay on course towards back-to-back titles in the European Champions League in midweek.
Mourinho’s Inter Milan take a slender 2-1 lead into their round of 16 return leg on Tuesday at England’s Chelsea, the club Mourinho formerly coached to two Premier League crowns.
The same day, Seville seek a first quarterfinal berth in the elite event, hosting CSKA Moscow after getting a 1-1 draw in Russia.
Barcelona are in exactly the same situation against the German underdogs — VfB Stuttgart — on Wednesday while Girondins Bordeaux take a 1-0 lead into their home game with Greek side Olympiakos Piraeus.
Already through to the final eight are Arsenal, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Olympique Lyon.
Chelsea would like to join the two English rivals in their latest quest for the elusive Champions League crown. Chelsea geared up in style to welcome their former boss — a thumping 4-1 against West Ham United at the weekend.
The Blues need to score but a 1-0 would be sufficient and manager Carlo Ancelotti doesn’t mind when the goal will come.
“We need to play well ... We can still score in the last minute,” said Ancelotti. “I think if Chelsea play at their best we win.” Third choice Ross Turnbull is likely continue in goal for Chelsea, with Petr Cech still out with a calf injury and Hilario still nursing a groin problem.
Centre-back Ricardo Carvalho has a hamstring problem and will again be replaced by Alex, with full-backs Jose Bosingwa and Ashley Cole, and midfielder Michael Essien also missing.
Mourinho did not hide that the game will be emotional for him, with Chelsea “a very important part of my life” even though he will be fully professional during the 90 or more minutes.
“The good thing is that I don’t have far to walk,” he told uefa.com. “From the dressing room to the bench is five metres.
“I don’t have to cross the stadium, I don’t have to feel the emotions and reactions from the crowd. I will just sit there and play my game. The players play on the pitch, I play outside. They are much more important than me, because on the pitch you win matches, not on the bench.” Inter come to London off a 3-1 defeat at lowly Catania which saw their once big Serie A lead shrink to just a point.
Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder is to join the group despite a lingering fever, while youngsters Davide Santon in defence and striker Mario Balotelli should be fit after injury lay-offs. However, Diego Milito and Samuel Eto’o are to man the Inter attack.
Barcelona are keen to be the first club to win successive titles since the Champions League format was introduced in the early 1990s.
They warmed up for Stuttgart with a 3-0 thrashing of Valencia on Sunday, with Lionel Messi banging in a second-half hat-trick.
They have no injuries and suspensions now that Eric Abidal and Seydou Keita are fit again. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be raring to go after sitting out the Valencia romp through suspension.
Stuttgart have little illusions after the 1-1 first leg result.
“We need the perfect match,” said coach Christian Gross. Sports director Horst Heldt said: “We are playing against the best team in the word — and have a minimal chance.” Sevilla hope that history won’t repeat itself against CSKA after their first trip to the round of 16 in 2007 ended in a penalty shootout defeat against Turkey’s Fenerbahce.
“It was painful to lose on penalties two years ago, this time we want to go through without any problems,” said influential Brazilian forward Luis Fabiano, who returns from injury.