The pandemic has meant the overwhelming majority of the video games have been performed behind closed doorways, however the depth and high quality has remained excessive regardless of the absence of followers.
Defending champion Bayern Munich is undoubtedly the overwhelming favourite to as soon as once more carry the trophy, although — as we have seen across the European home leagues — this season is prone to throw up a couple of shock.
Choose of the bunch
In what is definitely the blockbuster tie of the spherical of 16, disaster membership Barcelona will face final season’s crushed finalist Paris Saint-Germain.
Either side have struggled for kind domestically because the starting of the season, with Barcelona, underneath new coach Ronald Koeman, sitting in a lowly eighth place in La Liga, already 9 factors off leaders Actual Sociedad and Atletico Madrid.
The Champions League had offered some respite for Barca, which received its opening 5 group stage video games. Nonetheless, a heavy 3-0 defeat to Juventus within the last match day meant Barca turned the primary group in Champions League historical past to win its opening 5 matches and never end prime of the group.
PSG, in the meantime, was crushed by Lyon on Sunday to go away the highest of Ligue 1 wanting very congested. Defeat leaves PSG in third and only one level off chief Lille, however simply six factors separates first and seventh.
Nonetheless, extra worryingly than its patchy kind, PSG star ahead Neymar was stretchered off in tears with what seems to be a left ankle damage sustained after a heavy problem from Lyon’s Thiago Mendes.
PSG now faces an anxious wait to seek out out the extent of the harm and whether or not Neymar shall be slot in time to face his former membership when the Champions League resumes in February.
Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid and Chelsea present an intriguing match up of these two golf equipment’ respective coaches, with the wily, battle-hardened Diego Simeone going up in opposition to the extra inexperienced Frank Lampard.
The London membership have at occasions seemed exhilarating in assault underneath Lampard, however have to date failed to seek out consistency. After solely simply scraping via final season’s group phases, Chelsea progressed at a canter this time spherical, firing 14 objectives and conceding simply two to impressively prime Group E.
Conversely, Atletico has struggled to seek out kind within the Champions League and wanted to keep away from defeat in opposition to RB Salzburg within the last group stage sport to ensure a spot within the final 16.
Whereas home kind, regardless of defeat to Actual Madrid on Saturday, has seen Simeone’s facet set the early tempo in La Liga, Atleti has to date failed to seek out its ft in Europe. Might this season see the Argentine coach prioritize attempting to win a primary league title since 2014 over European glory?
Defending champion Bayern Munich has been handed a tough tie in opposition to an thrilling Lazio facet.
Bayern, like many of the groups within the knockout phases, has struggled to seek out home consistency in latest weeks — in truth, not one of the 16 groups remaining within the Champions League are at the moment prime of their respective leagues.
Nonetheless, Hansi Flick’s facet stay a frightening opponent for any group and are rightfully the bookmakers’ favourite to win back-to-back titles. In striker Robert Lewandowski, a Ballon d’Or contender, it boasts the perfect striker in Europe, with the Pole already netting 13 objectives this season.
Maybe most concerningly for Bayern’s European rivals is that the Bavarian membership arguably solely obtained stronger following final season’s triumph.
Regardless of shedding midfield maestro Thiago to Liverpool and Philippe Coutinho returning to Barcelona, Bayern has bolstered its ranks with the additions of Leroy Sane from Manchester Metropolis and highly-rated Spanish teen Marc Roca, in addition to the return of winger Douglas Costa.
Intriguingly, Lazio boasts the one man that was capable of surpass Lewandowski’s objective tally final season. In Ciro Motionless, the Italian facet possesses considered one of Europe’s most harmful marksmen.
Bayern followers will keep in mind the Italian for a lower than spectacular stint whereas at German rival Borussia Dortmund in 2014-15, however Motionless has discovered a cheerful dwelling within the Italian capital as the focus of Simone Inzaghi’s forward-thinking facet.
It would actually be a tall order to get previous the juggernaut that’s Bayern, however Lazio possesses the instruments to trigger an upset.
- Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Manchester Metropolis
- Lazio vs. Bayern Munich
- Atletico Madrid vs. Chelsea
- RB Leipzig vs. Liverpool
- Porto vs. Juventus
- Barcelona vs. PSG
- Sevilla vs. Borussia Dortmund
- Atalanta vs. Actual Madrid
The primary legs of the spherical of 16 will happen on 16-17 February and the second legs on 9-10 March.
Europa League draw
- Wolfsberger AC vs. Tottenham Hotspur
- FC Dynamo Kyiv vs. Membership Brugge
- Actual Sociedad vs. Manchester United
- Benfica vs. Arsenal
- Purple Star Belgrade vs. AC Milan
- Royal Antwerp vs. Rangers
- Slavia Prague vs. Leicester Metropolis
- FC Salzburg vs. Villarreal
- FC Braga vs. AS Roma
- FC Krasnodar vs. Dinamo Zagreb
- Younger Boys vs. Bayer Leverkusen
- Molde vs. TSG Hoffenheim
- Granada vs. SSC Napoli
- Maccabi Tel-Aviv vs. FC Shakhtar Donetsk
- LOSC Lille vs. Ajax
- Olympiakos vs. PSV Eindhoven
The primary legs will happen on Thursday 18 February, with the second legs on Thursday 25 February.
Nonetheless, Tottenham Hotspur’s dwelling sport in opposition to Wolfsberger AC shall be on Wednesday 24 February as a result of UEFA Europa League conflict with Arsenal, who’re additionally seeded. Arsenal’s sport shall be performed on Thursday.