As the Champions League moves out of the group stages and into the round of 16 things are set to come alive with some titan clashes.
This year sees another strong showing from the English clubs as their current top four teams qualified (Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham). After a strong showing last year, the English clubs will hope to put a champions league drought behind them and clench the silverware in a year where they could very likely prevail.
Spain’s three top placed sides (Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona) will be looking to add to their Champions League Pedigree and with the current strength of Barcelona and Atletico along with the resurgence of Real Madrid another year could be beckoning for Spain.
Germany’s top two sides (Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich) are accompanied by struggling Schalke who sit in 14th. The league leaders Dortmund have taken the season by storm as they currently sit 5 points clear of Bayern and have only lost one game along the way. Bayern have experience that will persuade them to keep composed despite their league position.
Italian giants and table toppers in Serie A Juventus are joined by Roma who sit in 6th place 25 points off Juve. The acquisition of the king of the Champions League (Cristiano Ronaldo) and an unbeaten League record will put Juventus as favourites alongside Barcelona. Roma will hope to put their league woes behind them and repeat or better their stunning Champions League performance last year.
French Champions PSG are still in search of Champions League glory and are accompanied by 3rd placed Lyon. PSG will be without their star man Neymar and Edinson Cavani for the early games as they recover from injuries. This may push Kylian Mbappe to new heights as he may be set to lead to line and will want to perform in the absence of his fellow strikers.
Table toppers Porto feature from the Primeira Liga and Ajax are sitting in second in the Dutch Eredivisie.
Being the Champions League, one cannot say that there are easy clashes, but four huge clashes leave the other eight teams with draws that one might deem more favourable to a certain club or more winnable for both clubs. Today’s fixtures see Porto take on Roma and PSG take on Manchester United in the first of the big four! On Wednesday Injury riddled Tottenham will then take on league leaders Dortmund who will be without the services of star man Marco Reus in the second big clash, Ajax will play Champions Real Madrid at the same time and Madrid will be looking to show that they are still the team to beat in the Champions League without Ronaldo.
Through to the following week Tuesday, Barcelona will take on Lyon and will hope that Lionel Messi’s consistent niggles may subside by then. Another colossal clash in the round of 16 sees last year’s finalists and in form Liverpool take on Bayern who will hope to put their league struggles behind them and draw on their Champions League pedigree. The following Wednesday will see Juventus take on Atletico Madrid in another huge clash. Manchester City will hope to capitalise on their favourable draw when they take on Schalke.
Across the board there is a general look of good form in the last 16 with teams like Manchester United and Real Madrid finding a resurgence at the correct time. Barcelona and Juventus will count themselves favourites this year with teams such as Liverpool, Manchester City, Atletico, Dortmund, Bayern and PSG hot at their heels.