The Champions League draw has been brutal producing plenty of mouth-watering ties we are all very much looking forward to seeing in February. There were five or six overwhelming favourites at this stage of the competition following the draws in the last couple of years. The situation is different as it is very hard to name more than one or two genuine favourites going into the last 16 round affairs. The best betting sites have already produced the odds for all those highly anticipated matches. Let’s go one by one:
Borussia Dortmund v PSG
Borussia and PSG will hit the pitch of Signal-Iduna-Park on Tuesday, February 18th. The 5-time successive Ligue 1 champions were expected to go all the way in the most elite continental competition in the last few years, but they constantly failed to impress in the knockout phase. We can all remember painful eliminations to the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United. Thomas Tuchel’s men were more than impressive in the group phase, claiming 16 out of 18 possible points and keeping five clean sheets in six matches in the process. Dortmund are struggling for consistency in the Bundesliga, but they could cause damage in a double-header against any opposition in the world.
Atletico Madrid v Liverpool
The defending champions have good memories of Estadio Wanda Metropolitano as it is the place where they won the title last year against Tottenham Hotspur. Interestingly, this term’s final will be played at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul where the Reds have won the title in an anthological final against Milan back in 2005. Steven Gerrard & company came back from a three-goal deficit to win on penalties on the occasion. Anyhow, the team led by Jurgen Klopp is much closer to advancing to the quarter-final from this match-up. They are the dominant force in the English Premier League with a double-digit advantage on the rest of the division, while their rivals are struggling to score goals in La Liga.
Atalanta v Valencia
This is probably the least attractive clash. Both teams caught the last train to go beyond the group stage and advanced only thanks to wins in the last round. They both have to be delighted with such a draw. In terms of chances for progression, we fancy Los Che because of their greater experience in the continental competitions.
Tottenham Hotspur v RB Leipzig
Jose Mourinho could have hardly asked for a better draw given the Spurs ended their respective group in the second position. Nevertheless, the Special One and his men will have anything but an easy task against Leipzig who enjoyed an extraordinary spell of form in both Bundesliga and Champions League thus far. However, Mourinho knows how to win this competition as he has two Champions League trophies (Porto in 2004 and Inter in 2010).
Chelsea v Bayern Munich
The Blues will bring positive memories from 2012 final and a victory over the Bavarian giants. However, we have to say that five-time champions Bayern Munich are the favourites going into this double-header in spite of their shaky form in this term of Bundesliga. They stormed past all three rivals (including Tottenham Hotspur) to win each of six matches in the group phase.
Napoli v Barcelona
With Lionel Messi in their ranks, Barcelona are always contenders. Napoli have had a roller-coaster campaign in the first half of the season. Gennaro Gattuso took over Carlo Ancelotti on the bench in December as a consequence of the team’s disastrous spell of form. Barcelona should not have too many problems advancing from this tie.
Real Madrid v Manchester City
Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola have five Champions League trophies between them. The Frenchman took the competition three years in a row with Los Blancos, while Pep did it two times with Barcelona back in 2009 and 2011. The Citizens look to have the stronger squad, but their counterparts have been much more successful (13-time champions) historically in this competition. Who can underestimate Madrid here?
Olympique Lyon v Juventus
Finally, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus take on Lyon in what should be a one-way street, especially since the Ligue 1 outfit will reportedly be without their best player Memphis Depay. Anyways, Bianconeri are enormous favourites, they desperately want this trophy, and we would be shocked to see them slipping up at this hurdle.