There was a lot of anticipation when it came to the Round of 16 draws for the UEFA Champions League and once it was announced that old mates, Neymar and Lionel Messi will meet again on the field, the internet went into an overdrive. The road to Istanbul has opened a fascinating chapter in its journey and there are many subplots which have come out from the draw.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have been handed a stern task against Borussia Monchengladbach who surprised many by their performances in the group stage of the Champions League. Both teams have struggled in their domestic competition and City should be able to knick this one.
Defending champions Bayern Munich have an exciting Italian team Lazio between them and a seat in the quarter-finals. Bayern are favourites to retain the title and should prove too strong for Lazio.
Frank Lampard would feel disappointed with the way the draw has panned out for his side, Chelsea FC. They have a tough test in front of them in the form of Atletico Madrid. Last season, Diego Simeone’s men knocked out yet another English team in Liverpool at the same stage of the competition and would love to repeat the same. Luis Suarez loves playing against English teams and that’ll be a battle to look out for.
It’ll be another homecoming for Jurgen Klopp as his Liverpool team will face up German side RB Leipzig. Liverpool are currently dealing with a mountain of injuries but hopefully by the time this match comes up in February, things would become better for the English champions. Leipzig are no pushovers under Julian Nagelsmann who has talked about his admiration for Jurgen Klopp as his managerial inspiration.
Italian champions Juventus will go up against Portuguese side FC Porto for a place in the next stage of the Champions League. The Turin based club would be hoping that this doesn’t prove to be another banana slip in the Round of 16 stage and they progress to the next round.
Barcelona take on Paris Saint-Germain in what is undoubtedly THE tie of the Round of 16. It means that former Barcelona player Neymar comes back to Camp Nou, to a club where he won the Champions League with his dear friend Lionel Messi. The current Barcelona team is in a perpetual cycle of misery under manager Ronald Koeman with a very unhappy Messi and an ineffective Antoine Griezmann. On the other hand, PSG have had their fair share of problems under Thomas Tuchel. The way things have been shaping up, a Neymar-inspired performance should take PSG to the next stage of the competition.
Sevilla FC and Borussia Dortmund aren’t exactly the ones who would grab the headlines always but football-wise, they are two teams who can create a lot of excitement. The Spanish side are lethal on the counter-attack under Julen Lopetegui and play some good attacking football. Dortmund would be without Lucien Favre and it’ll be interesting to see whether they’ll have a permanent manager by then.
Lastly, we have the most successful team in the Champions League, Real Madrid going head-to-head against the most inexperienced side in the competition Atalanta. Madrid are considered as favourites to go through but they don’t seem to have the air of invincibility about them this season in the Champions League. Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta would be licking their lips on the prospects of upsetting the Spanish giants.
Here are the final draws from the UEFA Champions League Round-of-16:
Borussia Monchengladbach vs Manchester City
Lazio vs Bayern Munich
Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea
RB Leipzig vs Liverpool
Porto vs Juventus
Barcelona vs PSG
Sevilla vs Borussia Dortmund
Atalanta vs Real Madrid
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT FOOTBALL NEWS STORIES & FEATURES