Group play had some thrilling finishes but now we wait until February to see which teams will continue their quest for a title. We figured we could check in for some quick previews, knowing full well that the January transfer window and injuries and form will be different by the time the matches roll around.
Round of 16 draw:
17 February & 11 March
Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) v Chelsea FC (ENG)
FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) v FC Bayern München (GER)
PSG and Chelsea are a high profile matchup with the odds being fairly even for the first match in Paris. PSG will almost certainly have to win at home to put the pressure on Chelsea.
Shakhtar were unlikely to be favourites no matter whom they were drawn to face, but Bayern is just about the worst matchup they could have gotten. It is difficult to travel to the Ukraine but Bayern has depth and quality at every position and should be able to advance comfortably.
18 February & 10 March
FC Schalke 04 (GER) v Real Madrid CF (ESP)
FC Basel 1893 (SUI) v FC Porto (POR)
Schalke are currently 6th in the Bundesliga and were not particularly impressive in group play. And now they face Real. Good luck!
Basel and Porto are a lower tier matchup but one of them will get through. Porto have played well in Europe and are currently 2nd in Liga Sagres (the Portuguese league). Basel could certainly steal the first one in Switzerland though and make this matchup very interesting.
24 February & 18 March
Manchester City FC (ENG) v FC Barcelona (ESP)
Juventus (ITA) v Borussia Dortmund (GER)
Another heavyweight battle takes place with City and Barcelona. City were a bit fortunate to get this far but will have their star striker Aguero back, and hopefully in form, by February. Barcelona will be the favourites but City are playing better and should be able to hang around.
Juventus and Dortmund are fairly evenly matched teams and should make for an exciting pair of games. Dortmund are shockingly facing relegation according to the current table in Bundesliga and will be without Marco Reus. Juventus, on the other hand, lead Serie A. This matchup will be difficult to predict and should be exciting.
25 February & 17 March
Bayer 04 Leverkusen (GER) v Club Atlético de Madrid (ESP)
Arsenal FC (ENG) v AS Monaco FC (FRA)
Leverkusen and Atletico are an interesting matchup as they each play a completely different brand of football. Atletico may not repeat their run to the La Liga title or the finals of Champions League as they did last year, but they look very strong. Leverkusen can score but may lack the quality to score on Atletico. Though they’ll have a chance to get off on the right foot in Germany.
Arsenal draw Monaco in what is a fortunate matchup for Wenger against his former club. Monaco had incredible difficulty scoring but they were stout in defence as well. Arsenal still have some health issues and some questions in defence, but appear to be the much stronger of the two teams.
Each set of opponents will play home and home to determine which team advances. We’ll check back in January after the transfer window to see how we think that should affect these matchups.