The central event in the world of sports today was the Champions League draw for the Round of 16.
The most prominent European soccer competition finished its group stage last Wednesday, with 16 teams progressing to the knockout phase.
Luis Garcia, the guy who was playing for Liverpool in that epic 2005 finals in Istanbul, put together eight pairs today, for the first eliminating stage in this year’s edition of the Champions League.
All the matchups are in the picture below.
Spectacular. The round of 16 draw 😍
— #UCLdraw (@ChampionsLeague) December 17, 2018
No need to point out that the biggest hype is around Liverpool’s and Bayern’s meeting. The two sides who have five Euro titles each will play their first match at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp has a long history against the Bavarians, as the former Borussia Dortmund coach fought numerous battles against them, most notably in the finals of this competition back in 2013. Arjen Robben’s last minute goal took the title away from Dortmund, and there is no doubt that the “Normal one” as the fans like to call him, is eager to get even with his German archenemy.
On the other side, we have pale Bayern, with Niko Kovac in charge. The Croatian coach is not very popular among the players, and when comparing the last and this season, the quality of Bayern’s game deteriorated significantly. Still they have many fantastic individuals, who can decide the game with one move.
United and Jose Mourinho will have to face probably the most efficient trio in the world of football, Mbappe, Cavani, and Neymar. Having in mind the recent performances of Manchester’s back line, some might say that the French champion has an easy task in front of him. But what separates Mourinho from other coaches is his stubbornness and excellent motivation. Simply, United can’t be ruled out, under no circumstances. He has more than two months at his disposal, to improve all the critical areas, and to create suitable tactics for the Saints. His unpredictability is the crucial ingredient which makes this matchup so interesting.
Another close clash should be seen between Atletico Madrid and Juventus. The Italians and Simeone’s boys have almost an identical style of play, meaning though, with a lot of tactics involved which slows down the pace on the pitch. Cristiano Ronaldo is looking forward to facing his regular victim from the time he wore Real Madrid’s shirt.
🌟 This is the Champions League draw 🌟 pic.twitter.com/Cr9cUTyul0
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 17, 2018
Since we mentioned Real Madrid, who is utterly bad this season, they will play against Ajax Amsterdam. The Dutch team had a chance to secure the first place in their group but missed it against Bayern in one crazy game which ended 3-3. The way Real plays this year, they might have a nice prospect to make a surprise.
Barcelona has an interesting opponent, Lyon, whose football philosophy is to attack no matter what happens. This promises a lot of goals, and all the true fans look forward to seeing this one.
Now, the pair which should bring even more goals than the previous is Tottenham vs Borussia Dortmund. The Spurs are lethal in recent times, recovering from many injury problems at the beginning of the campaign. Their form is going up, and as for the opponent on the other side, there is not much to say really, everybody knows how Borussia plays. Since Klopp left the Millionaires, we haven’t seen a team with such a precise and stunning attack. Their only problem is inexperience. Borussia has the youngest lineup of all at this stage.
Schalke plays against Man City, who is an absolute favorite here. Citizens are, in fact, the biggest favorites for winning the whole competition, and there shouldn’t be too many troubles for them to eliminate the Germans.
Porto and Roma are the last two teams, and they will be taking one another in the quest for the quarterfinals.
Now, Roma looks much worse than last year when they reached the semifinals, while Porto played very convincingly in the group stage. This doesn’t have to mean anything, but it seems that the Portuguese Dragons might have an excellent opportunity to eliminate their rivals.
The first legs are scheduled for 12th/13th of February and 19th/20th of the same, while the rematches are three weeks later.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.