THE SOCCER REPORT

Chelsea-Bayern, Napoli-Barcelona, Lyon-Juve, Real Madrid-Man City on UCL menu, El Clasico on Sunday

Finale Istanbul is the Official Match Ball for the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League knockout stages. Photo: adidas

Plenty of big name clubs will highlight this week's action in the UEFA Champions League, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona face off in the sport's premier rivalry and the 25th season of Major League Soccer gets underway. In the Serie A, matches were postponed over the weekend due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in Italy.

Here is the week in soccer:

International Club competitions

UEFA Champions League

Round of 16 - First Leg

  • Atletico Madrid 1-0 Liverpool
  • Dortmund 2-1 PSG
  • Atalanta 4-1 Valencia
  • Tottenham 0-1 RB Leipzig

Concacaf Champions League

Round of 16 - First Leg

  • Portmore United 1-2 Cruz Azul
  • Motagua 1-1 Atlanta United
  • Leon 2-0 LAFC
  • Deportivo Saprissa 2-2 Montreal Impact
  • Alianza 2-1 Tigres UANL
  • Communicaciones 1-1 Club America
  • AD San Carlos 3-5 NYCFC
  • Olimpia 2-2 Seattle Sounders FC

English Premier League

Top six: 1. Liverpool (79), 2. Man City (57), 3. Leicester City (50), 4. Chelsea (44), 5. Manchester United (41), 6. Tottenham (40)

Bottom three (relegation): 18. West Ham (24), 19. Watford (24), 20. Norwich City (18)

Scoring leader: 17 - Jamie Vardy (Leicester City) / Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

Assists leader: 16 - Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

Spanish La Liga

Top six: 1. FC Barcelona (55), 2. Real Madrid (53), 3. Atletico Madrid (43), 4. Sevilla (43), 5. Getafe (42), 6. Real Sociedad (40)

Bottom three: 18. Mallorca (22), 19. Leganes (19), 20. Espanyol (19)

Scoring leader: 18 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

Assists leader: 12 - Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)

German Bundesliga

Top six: 1. Bayern Munich (49), 2. RB Leipzig (48), 3. Dortmund (45), 4. Monchengladbach (43), 5. Bayer Leverkusen (43), 6. Schalke 04 (36)

Bottom three: 16. Fortuna (20), 17. Werder Bremen (17), 18. Paderborn (16)

Scoring leader: 25 - Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Assists leader: 14 - Jadon Sancho (Dortmund) / Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)

Italian Serie A

Top six: 1. Juventus (60), 2. Lazio (59), 3. Inter Milan (54), 4. Atalanta (45), 5. Roma (42), 6. Napoli (36)

Bottom three: 18. Genoa (22), 19. Brescia (16), 20. SPAL (15)

Scoring leader: 27 - Ciro Immobile (Lazio)

Assists leader: 11 - Luis Alberto (Lazio)

French Ligue 1

Top four: 1. PSG (65), 2. Marseille (52), 3. Rennes (44), 4. Lille (43)

Bottom three: 18. Nimes (27), 19. Amiens (22), 20. Toulouse (13)

Scoring leader: 16 - Kylian Mbappe (PSG) / Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco)

Assists leader: 14 - Angel Di Maria (PSG)

Liga MX

Clausura 2020

Top eight: 1. Club America (16), 2. Leon (15), 3. Pumas UNAM (14), 4. Cruz Azul (13), 5. Queretaro (12), 6. Atletico San Luis (12), 7. Juarez (11), 8. Santos Laguna (11)

Scoring leader: 5 - Angel Mena (Leon) / Ariel Nahuelpan (Queretaro) / Jonathan Rodriguez (Cruz Azul)

Assists leader: 5 - Pablo Barrera (Pumas)

TV listings (All Times CT):

For full info on soccer TV listings and streaming services in the United States, visit worldsoccertalk.com

Tuesday, February 25

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich (TNT, Galavision)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Napoli vs. FC Barcelona (UniMas / TUDN, B/R Live)

6:30 p.m. - [Copa Sudamericana] River Plate vs. Deportivo Cali (beIN Sports)

7:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Atlanta United vs. Motagua (FS1, TUDN)

9:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Cruz Azul vs. Portmore United (FS2, TUDN)

Wednesday, February 26

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Real Madrid vs. Manchester City (TNT, UniMas, TUDN)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Champions League] Lyon vs. Juventus (Galavision, B/R Live)

5:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] NYCFC vs. AD San Carlos (FS2, TUDN)

7:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Montreal lmpact vs. Deportivo Saprissa (FS2)

7:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Tigres UANL vs. Alianza (TUDN)

Thursday, February 27

12:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Espanyol vs. Wolves (UniMas, B/R Live)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Manchester United vs. Brugge (UniMas, B/R Live)

2:00 p.m. - [UEFA Europa League] Arsenal vs. Olympiakos (TUDN, B/R Live)

9:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] LAFC vs. Club Leon (FS1, TUDN)

9:00 p.m. - [Concacaf Champions League] Seattle Sounders FC vs. Olimpia (FS2)

Friday, February 28

1:30 p.m. - [Bundesliga] Dusseldorf vs. Hertha Berlin (FS2, FOX Deportes)

2:00 p.m. - [Premier League] Norwich vs. Leicester City (NBC Sports)

2:00 p.m. - [La Liga] Real Sociedad vs. Valladolid (beIN Sports)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Monarcas Morelia vs. Cruz Azul (TUDN)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Club Tijuana vs. Puebla (FOX Deportes)

Saturday, February 29

6:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Brighton vs. Crystal Palace (NBC Sports)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Hoffenheim vs. Bayern Munich, (FS1, UniMas, TUDN)

8:30 a.m. - [Bundesliga] Dortmund vs. Freiburg (FS2, FOX Deportes)

9:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Bournemouth vs. Chelsea (NBC Sports)

9:00 a.m. - [La Liga] Valencia vs. Real Betis (beIN Sports)

11:30 a.m. - [Premier League] Watford vs. Liverpool (NBC Sports)

2:30 p.m. - [MLS] Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy (Univision)

5:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Pachuca vs. Queretaro (TUDN, ESPN Deportes)

7:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] America vs. Necaxa (Univision)

9:00 p.m. - [Liga MX] Tigres UANL vs. Pumas UNAM (Univision)

Sunday, March 1

8:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Everton vs. Man United(NBC Sports)

8:00 a.m. - [Premier League] Tottenham vs. Wovles (NBC Sports Gold)

10:30 a.m. - [English League Cup Final] Manchester City vs. Aston Villa (NBC Sports)

2:00 p.m. - [La Liga] Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona (beIN Sports)

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Here's the bottom line. Composite photo by Brandon Strange.

Houston sports have taken several big hits over the last year or so. The Rockets have traded James Harden and Russell Westbrook. The Texans have released J.J. Watt, traded DeAndre Hopkins for pennies, and may be trading Deshaun Watson. The Astros lost George Springer on the heels of losing Gerrit Cole in free agency, as well as Justin Verlander to injury. We don't even need to bring into the conversation the front office and coaching changes that have taken place. Uggghhh!

When we look at the Rockets, they're not going to return to contender or playoff status any time soon. The roster and salary cap are in bad enough conditions to the point where they'll need a couple of seasons to rebuild. The Texans are in a similar situation. They may be able to rebuild faster if they do trade Watson instead of keeping him. The Rockets are trying to tank to get a top four pick in order to speed up their rebuild. The Texans are contemplating trading Watson in order to acquire top picks and talent to hasten a rebuild. That, or they're playing the long game to convince Watson they have a plan and that he should stay.

Enter the Astros. They're the 2017 World Series champions, unapologetically. No matter what the haters and doubters say, that can't be taken away. This team has lost several key pieces over the last few years, but their window is still wide open. While Verlander isn't available this season, Zack Greinke, Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, Jose Urquidy, and Lance McCullers Jr. are all capable of carrying the load. The bullpen has always been a concern, but this year, it may have been shored up.

Losing Springer will definitely hurt. However, bringing back Michael Brantley will help offset that some. Yordan Alvarez is back, so that's a welcomed sight. He adds a much-needed deep threat to the lineup. If Kyle Tucker, Myles Straw, or any of the other new regular contributors can add anything of significance, the lineup shouldn't lose very much potency. Combine that with the potential in the pitching staff, and I can see this team winning the AL West again and making some noise in the playoffs.

One of these moves must happen

While some could see their championship window as closed, I don't. If Carlos Correa can be re-signed soon, that'll go a long way to keeping said window open beyond this season. If Verlander chooses to re-up with the team following successful recovery from Tommy John surgery after this season, that'll add a veteran to a young pitching staff that can help the youngsters grow beyond 2021. If neither of these moves happen, the window is nearly closed.

Bottom line: this season could be the last season the window is open for the Astros. However, if the young guys they've brought in can step up, and they bring back some key pieces, that window can stay open a little longer.

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