Champions League football is back after a couple of months break. The last time we heard the legendary Champions League anthem was back in 2015. It was the final round of group stage matches, and we found out who was going through to the knock-out stage. Now, it’s a new year and a new stage in the tournament. We’ve reached the round of 16, and the games will only get tougher.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at who’s made it to this round, and who are the favourites to progress.
PSG v Chelsea
Paris Saint-Germain will entertain Chelsea for the second year in a row. Back in 2015, they knocked the blues out with a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge in the round of 16. This year, PSG are flying in Ligue 1 and Chelsea is struggling in the Prem. All signs point to a PSG win over two legs.
Benfica – Zenit
This matchup is hardly going to get you salivating at the mouth. However, the two teams look fairly evenly matched on paper. Both are lingering at the top of their domestic leagues. If I had to pick a favourite, I’d go with Benfica. They have Brazilian striker, Jonas, up front who loves banging in the goals.
Gent – Wolfsburg
Although they’ve not been playing well in the Bundesliga this season, I can’t see passed a Wolfsburg win here. Their squad is far stronger and they’ve saved their best performances for the Champions League. I expect them to win this tie with relative ease.
Roma – Real Madrid
Roma has not been good this year, despite making the knock-out stages of the Champions League. While Real Madrid has a lethal attack that can score past anyone. It may be close, in Rome, but over two legs Madrid will stroll through.
Arsenal – Barcelona
You never know what you’ll get with Arsenal, which can be good or bad. Barca is in fine form and possesses the best strikeforce in world football. Everything tells you that Barcelona should walk away victorious, but you just don’t know.
Juventus – Bayern Munich
Juve started the season poorly but have since improved with every game. Bayern, however, has been imperious throughout. They’re such an efficient team and I fully expect them to win over two legs in this tie.
PSV – Atletico Madrid
Despite beating Manchester United in the group stage, no one gives PSV much of a chance in this tie. And, for good reason. Atletico is a force nowadays and can tear the Dutch side apart. I think they’ll come through comfortably here.
Dynamo Kiev – Manchester City
It’s been an up and down season for City so far. But, they’ll want to make the most of a very easy draw in the round of 16. It’s tough to see any way that Dynamo Kiev can win this one. City should breeze through.
Those are the teams and ties for the first round of knock-out fixtures in the Champions League. It’s hard to see any of the big teams falling in this round. If you’re looking for an underdog, I’d say keep an eye on Arsenal. They just might surprise the champions.