New York, Feb. 11 -- Three-time defending champion Real Madrid appears to have hit its stride again just in time for the return of the Champions League.

The knockout stages begin Tuesday with Manchester United hosting Paris Saint-Germain and Porto going to Roma in the first leg of the round of 16 games.

Madrid, confident after six wins and one draw from its last seven games across all competitions, visits Ajax on Wednesday, when the Spanish side will hope to record its seventh successive win over the Dutch club.

Also Wednesday, Tottenham hosts Bundesliga leader Borussia Dortmund.

Madrid's hopes of claiming a record-extending fourth straight Champions League title appeared fanciful earlier this season after a run of five losses in seve...