Klopp on verge of joining exclusive club, Salzburg out to shock Bayern on last-16 bow – Champions League in Opta numbers

By Sports Desk February 16, 2022

Four more teams begin their Champions League knockout-stage campaigns on Wednesday when Inter host Liverpool and Bayern Munich travel to Salzburg for the first leg of their last-16 ties.

The clash between European heavyweights Inter and Liverpool at San Siro could potentially be a landmark one for Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, who is one short of becoming the eighth coach – and the first German – to reach 50 wins in the competition.

Salzburg's meeting with Bayern will be a special occasion regardless as the Austrian Bundesliga champions are competing at this stage of the competition for the first time ever.

Bayern are unbeaten in their last 21 away games in the Champions League since September 2017 – the longest-such run in European Cup history – and they beat Salzburg by a combined 9-3 scoreline in last term's group-stage meetings.

With the help of Opta, Stats Perform picks out some of the best of the numbers ahead of Wednesday's pair of last-16 ties.

Inter v Liverpool

Each of the four previous encounters between Inter and Liverpool have come in the knockout rounds of the European Cup and Champions League. Inter advanced over two legs in the 1964-65 semi-finals en route to being crowned the kings of Europe, while Liverpool emerged victorious at this very stage in 2007-08.

Liverpool have won their last two away games against Italian opposition in European competition – just one win fewer than they managed in their previous 14 such encounters – after beating Atalanta in 2020-21 and Milan earlier this season 

Inter have been eliminated from two of their three two-legged knockout ties against English opponents since the Champions League changed format in 2003-04, losing to Liverpool in 2007-08 and Manchester United in 2008-09, before eliminating Chelsea in 2009-10.

The Nerazzurri have won their last two Champions League home matches, which is one more than they managed in their previous nine between November 2018 and September 2021. However, not since between December 2009 and November 2010 – a run of seven victories – have they won three in a row in San Siro in the competition.

Mohamed Salah is in line to make his 50th Champions League appearance for Liverpool. The Egypt international has scored 32 goals in 49 games to date – only Cristiano Ronaldo (51 for Real Madrid) and Robert Lewandowski (36 for Bayern Munich) have ever netted more as of their 50th game for a single club.

Inter will hope Edin Dzeko can continue his good record against Liverpool, having netted in each of his past three meetings with them, scoring once for Manchester City in 2015 and twice for Roma in the semi-finals of this competition in 2017-18. 

Salzburg v Bayern Munich

Bayern are facing Austrian opposition in the knockout stages of a European competition for the fourth time. The German giants have advanced on each of the previous three occasions – against Rapid Vienna in the 1966-67 Cup Winners' Cup and Austria Vienna in successive European Cup campaigns in 1985-86 and 1986-87.

That does not bode well for Salzburg, who have won only one of their last six games against German teams in European competition, conceding 18 goals at an average of three per match. However, that solitary win did come in their most-recent home match – a 3-1 win over Wolfsburg in the group stage.

Julian Nagelsmann's side are one of only three teams with a 100 per cent record in the Champions League this term, along with Liverpool and Ajax. Only three sides prior to this campaign have ever won their first seven games of a Champions League campaign, with Bayern the most recent to do so three seasons ago.

Salzburg will be hoping to follow Atalanta, RB Leipzig (both in 2019-20) and Wolfsburg (2015-16) as only the fourth team to win their first game in the knockout stage of the Champions League.

Robert Lewandowski is set to make his 50th away appearance in UEFA's showpiece competition. The Bayern striker has scored 37 goals to date in those games, which is already the most of any player to have reached that landmark, three more than next-best Lionel Messi.

Lewandowski's 11 direct goal involvements in the group stage were the second-most of any player, behind Ajax's Sebastien Haller (12). Next on the list is team-mate Leroy Sane, who scored five and assisted four more in six appearances.

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