The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League round of 16 draw has pitted some European heavyweights together. It is the competition that excites the most and showcases the best of European club football. Here are the ties for the round of 16 and our initial thought.
Borussia Dortmund v Paris Saint-Germain
Initial thought – This tie sees current PSG boss Thomas Tuchel facing his former club for a place in the last eight. Conquering Europe is an obsession for the Qatari-owned French club but will need to overcome the German club as they have failed to progress beyond this stage in the last three seasons.
Real Madrid v Manchester City
Initial thought – Manchester City is another fixated club with eyes on the big prize. Having conquered all domestic honors, the Citizens are aiming to become a powerhouse on the continent. Real Madrid are rediscovering their old self under Zidane after his return. They crashed out at the stage last season therefore this makes for colossal battle between two excellent teams.
Atalanta v Valencia
Initial thought – Debutant Atalanta rose like a phoenix from the ash in the group stage to secure their place here. On the other hand, Valencia had a slow start to the season under Albert Celades but gradually, the former Real Madrid assistant coach is building Los Che into a competitive unit. Both teams will fancy their chances of progressing to the last eight
Atlético Madrid v Liverpool
Initial thought – This is another massive tie in this round; Atletico have struggled for goals lately but they are more than capable to take down any team. The defending champions return the venue of their 2019 final triumph. They will have their hands full against a strong rival. The tactical battle between Diego Simeone and Jürgen Klopp press and counter-press will be fascinating.
Chelsea v Bayern Munich
Initial thought – Chelsea coach and legend Frank Lampard has wonderful memories of Bayern and the Allianz Arena. Can he lead his Blues Army past the Bavarian giants? Robert Lewandowski will definitely give Chelsea defense and goalkeeper sleepless night before the two meetings.
Olympique Lyon v Juventus
Initial thought – Rudi Garcia has his hands full against the Bianconeri. Cristiano Ronaldo and co are amongst the contenders in the competition and have shown their intentions during the group stage. The inventor of Sarri-ball led Chelsea to Europa League glory last season. Can he take the Old Lady to the summit of European football?
Tottenham Hotspur v RB Leipzig
Initial thought – Jose Mourinho’s arrival on the scene changes the dynamics for last season finalist. Over the next few months, the Portuguese tactician will try to mold his new club into a very competitive team that will aim to go one better than last season. Leipzig are good hands under Julian Nagelsmann, the 32 year-old German is earning his stripes as one of the finest young coaches in Europe. Harry Kane v Timo Werner; let the games begin.
Napoli v Barcelona
Initial thought – Last season collapse at Anfield still hurts the Catalan club but they are prepared to go at it again. 2015 was the last time Los Cules won this competition and they are itching to conquer Europe again having seen eternal rivals Real Madrid dominate in recent years. New Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso will need to produce something special over two legs if he aims to triumph.
Did you know?
Most Round of 16 goals in the competition has been scored by Lionel Messi (Barcelona). He has 26 goals and he is followed closely by Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus) with 23. Thomas Müller (Bayern München) is next with 12, Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund, Bayern München) and Karim Benzema (Lyon, Real Madrid) both have 9 goals each. Sergio Agüero (Atlético Madrid, Manchester City) has 8 goals.
The Round of 16 matches starts in February but we are already excited. We shall provide proper preview and mouthwatering offers for these matches on our blog and Sport shop Babaijebu.ng.