Now it is time to get down to business. The UEFA Champions League is down to the final 16 and the pretenders of the group stage are gone. Now we have 16 of the best teams playing against each other and it’ll be a gut check until we get to Berlin in May. Here are the Round of 16 matchups and predictions on who moves on to the Quarterfinals.
PSG vs. Chelsea
Currently 2nd in Ligue 1 (10-7-1) 37 Points
Top Scorer: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Finished 2nd in Group F to Barcelona, Ajax and APOEL
Currently 1st in EPL (12-3-1) 39 Points
Top Scorer: Diego Costa
Finished 1st in Group G to Schalke, Sporting CP and Maribor
Jose Mourinho wanted PSG and he’s going to get PSG. Chelsea advanced past PSG in the Quarterfinals last year. I expect to see more of the same. There’s not much stopping Chelsea and I see them powering past PSG easily.
Manchester City vs. Barcelona
Currently 2nd in EPL (11-3-2) 36 Points
Top Scorer: Sergio Aguero
Finished 2nd in Group E to Bayern Munich, Roma and CSKA Moscow
Currently 2nd in La Liga (11-2-2) 35 Points
Top Scorer: Lionel Messi
Finished 1st in Group F to PSG, Ajax and APOEL
WOW! Can Manchester City ever catch a break in the Champions League? They always seem to get into the “Group of Death” and always seem to get the toughest teams in the knockout stages. Manchester City gets Barcelona in the Round of 16 for the second year in a row. Just like Chelsea/PSG, it’s more of the same. Barcelona doesn’t lose in the Round of 16 and easily beats Manchester City.
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Atletico Madrid
Currently 3rd in Bundesliga (6-6-3) 24 Points
Top Scorer: Karim Bellarabi
Finished 2nd in Group C to Monaco, Zenit and Benfica
Currently 3rd in La Liga (10-2-3) 32 Points
Top Scorer: Mario Mandzukic
Finished 1st in Group A to Juventus, Olympiakos and Malmo
Well we finally have a matchup that isn’t a rematch. Unfortunately, the end result is just as predictable. Atletico easily beats out Leverkusen.
Juventus vs. Borussia Dortmund
Currently 1st in Serie A (11-3-1) 36 Points
Top Scorer: Carlos Tevez
Finished 2nd in Group A to Atletico Madrid, Olympiakos and Malmo
Currently 16th in Bundesliga (4-2-9) 14 Points
Top Scorer: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Finished 1st in Group D to Arsenal, Anderlecht and Galatasaray
This is going to be a great matchup. Going off of their league records, it would look like Juventus should walk away with the win. Dortmund however has concentrated their efforts on the Champions League and it showed as they won their group. I have Juventus winning because Dortmund’s injuries are catching up to them. Injuries to Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan among others are going to give Juventus the edge.
Schalke vs. Real Madrid
Currently 6th in Bundesliga (7-2-6) 23 Points
Top Scorer: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
Finished 2nd in Group G to Chelsea, Sporting CP and Maribor
Currently 1st in La Liga (13-0-2) 39 Points
Top Scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo
Finished 1st in Group B to Basel, Liverpool and Ludogorets
Not much to say about this game, Real Madrid advances.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Bayern Munich
Currently 2nd in Ukrainian Premier League (10-1-3) 31 Points
Top Scorer: Oleksandr Gladky
Finished 2nd in Group H to Porto, Athletic Bilbao and BATE Boris
Currently 1st in Bundesliga (12-3-0) 39 Points
Top Scorer: Arjen Robben
Finished 1st in Group E to Manchester City, Roma and CSKA Moscow
Yeah, just like with Real Madrid, no chance Bayern Munich gets eliminated.
Arsenal vs. Monaco
Currently 6th in EPL (7-5-4) 26 Points
Top Scorer: Alexis Sanchez
Finished 2nd in Group D to Borussia Dortmund, Anderlecht and Galatasaray
Currently 6th in Ligue 1 (8-5-5) 29 Points
Top Scorer: Dimitar Berbatov
Finished 1st in Group C to Bayer Leverkusen, Zenit and Benfica
Arsenal gets one of the easier draws for being a Group Stage runner up. Though Monaco upset Ligue 1 leaders Marseille, they have had a scoring problem all season. While Arsenal have their own injury issues, they have no issues when it comes to scoring and I have Arsenal advancing.
Basel vs. Porto
Currently 1st in Swiss Super League (13-2-3) 41 Points
Top Scorer: Shkelzen Gashi
Finished 2nd in Group B to Real Madrid, Liverpool and Ludogorets
Currently 2nd in Portuguese Primera Liga (8-4-1) 28 Points
Top Scorer: Jackson Martinez
Finished 1st in Group H to Shakhtar Donetsk, Athletic Bilbao and BATE Boris
While this is the easiest matchup, this is the most competitive matchup. It’s honestly tough to decide who wins this game. If I was forced to make a decision, I’m going Porto but I guarantee that whoever wins this, that the other seven winners will be desperate to want to play this team in the Quarterfinals.