Champions League: What awaits each team in the Round of 16?
The iconic Champions League anthem roars again to welcome the best of the best. The Round of 16 draws promise an avalanche of drama, heartbreak, and top-level football prowess on display.
Let’s take you through our thoughts on the fixtures.
Tough ties were handed to English sides in particular, where Chelsea will be facing high flying Atletico Madrid and Liverpool will go up against an offensive RB Leipzig. Manchester City on the other hand were given a much easier task of Borussia Monchengladbach.
Real Madrid have also been handed a tricky tie in the form of Atalanta, whose attack first philosophy might be a cause for concern for Zidane’s men who are struggling to find their effortless flow.
Meanwhile Juventus and Bayern Munich have landed easy ties for themselves in the form of Porto and Lazio respectively.
1. Borussia Monchengladbach VS Manchester City
Pep Guardiola’s side will take on the German outfit in their first knockout round. The Sky Blues could not have asked for a more favourable draw.
City breezed past their opponents in the group stages where they ultimately finished top of the group winning 5 and drawing 1 out of their 6 matches.
Borussia Monchengladbach on the other hand were top of their group until the final matchday, where they lost to eventual group winners Real Madrid and finished second.
Marco Rose’s men have qualified for the knockout stages for the first time in their history so it’s kind of an unknown territory for them and will totally fancy their chances of a traditional giant killing, particularly after City lost to Lyon 3-1 in last season’s Champions League
We will take on Borussia Mönchengladbach in the #UCL Round of 16! ⚽️
𝑯𝒂𝒑𝒑𝒚 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒅𝒓𝒂𝒘?
The away leg will take place on one of 16/17/23/24 February.
The second leg at the Etihad Stadium will be played on one of 9/10/16/17 March.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 14, 2020
2. Lazio VS Bayern Munich
The defending champions got a decent draw for their round of 16 fixture who will travel to Rome to face Lazio.
The Bavarians destroyed every team that came its way last season in the UCL and this season could be no different. Simone Inzaghi’s men won’t be such pushovers though who consist of players like Ciro Immobile in their ranks, who ended up beating Robert Lewandowski to the European Golden Boot.
Hansi Flick’s men will be licking their lips at the news that they would be facing Lazio, but would need to be in peak condition if they are to get a result both in Rome and at the Allianz.
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) December 14, 2020
3. Atletico Madrid VS Chelsea
Chelsea have arguably got the toughest possible fixture available to them.
Even Barcelona seemed like an easier fixture as compared to high flying Atletico Madrid at the moment.
The Blues were undefeated in the group stages, defeating the likes of Sevilla 4-0 away from home. Frank Lampard’s men were equally lethal at both ends of the pitch scoring 14 and conceding just 2 from their 6 outings.
Atletico Madrid on the other hand won just 2 of their 6 matches, finishing second in their group behind defending champions Bayern Munich.
From Chelsea’s point of view, this matchup is no doubt a tricky one. They are well aware of the threat Los Rojiblancos can pose on the counter, where last season they knocked out an in-from Liverpool side out of the tournament.
Atletico on the other hand will fancy their chances against yet another English side and try upsetting their season.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 14, 2020
4. RB Leipzig VS Liverpool
Last season’s surprise semi-finalists RB Leipzig will go up against English giants Liverpool in the round of 16.
RB Leipzig were in the so called ‘Group of death’ in this year’s UCL edition, where they were thrown alongside Manchester United and PSG, losing 5-0 to the former in the group stages. They got their revenge eventually against United winning 3-2 on the final matchday where they qualified at their opponents expense.
Liverpool on the other hand had a much easier route to the knockout stage as compared to Julian Nagelsmann’s men, where they only lost that one game against and eventually finishing top of the group.
Jurgen Klopp would be optimistic of not repeating last year’s upset against a similarly tricky opponent, where they remarkably crashed out in the round of 16 against Atletico Madrid.
🗓️ 16th February
🕘 21:00 CET
🏟️ RB Arena
We can’t wait 🔥
— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) December 14, 2020
5. Porto VS Juventus
Juventus have been riding their luck once again in this season’s UCL Round of 16 draw. They have been paired against Porto , who let’s be honest were the easiest of opponents available to them.
Bianconeri were decent enough in the group stages winning 5 and losing 1 which was at home against Barcelona. They did leapfrog their rivals on the final matchday winning 3-0 and ended up finishing top of the group.
Porto were quite impressive themselves in the group stages winning 4 of their 6 matches, which also included a draw against Manchester City.
Andrea Pirlo though would be wary of the so called ‘easier opponents’ after being eliminated by Ajax and Lyon in 2 consecutive seasons.
6. Barcelona VS PSG
Arguably the tie of the round, Barcelona vs PSG is a repeat of their 2017 classic.
The Parisian’s on that occasion had won the first leg 4-0, only to crash out of the tournament in the second leg after losing 6-1 to Barcelona. Neymar scored twice in that dramatic comeback, who recently suggested he wants to play with Messi again.
PSG, just like RB Leipzig came unscathed in their ‘group of death’ and finished top of the group; albeit putting on some inconsistent performances.
Barcelona are well aware of the threat their former talisman can pose for them, alongside one of Europe’s most feared forwards in Kylian Mbappe.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 14, 2020
7. Sevilla VS Borussia Dortmund
Sevilla progressed through the knockout stages after finishing second in their group, behind Chelsea.
Meanwhile, Dortmund finished top of the group losing just 1 of their 6 games.
Sevilla have become somewhat of a notorious side under former Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui and should not be taken lightly, especially for a team who has recently won the Europa League.
Dortmund on the other hand have just sacked their head coach Lucien Favre after the humiliating 5-1 loss to Stuttgart and would be eager to give themselves a fresh start to their season.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) December 14, 2020
8. Atalanta VS Real Madrid
Real Madrid would be considered heavy favourites to progress to the next round, although considering their recent form you cannot bet on that.
Atalanta are a very offensive minded team and under Gasperini were one of the surprise inclusions in last season’s UCL knockouts.
Los Blancos made work tough for themselves in the group stages where they ended up in a must win situation on the final matchday and any such approach over here would see their time cut short in UCL for yet another season.
Gasperini knows he and his men have nothing to lose and that would put an even added shift to an already attack minded side, which could make life tough for Zidane’s men.
— Atalanta B.C. (@Atalanta_BC) December 14, 2020