Europe gets treated to two draws in three days, as the UEFA Champions League will have it’s first of three draws in the Knockout Stage. 16 teams will be drawn today into the Round of 16, where they’ll play home and away games in February and March.
There are stipulations in Champions League which prevent certain teams from being paired together today. Two teams from the same association cannot be paired up, meaning we won’t be seeing another El Clasico in this round. Also due to a decision from the UEFA Executive Committee, teams from Russia and Ukraine cannot be paired.
Who is the favorite in this tournament? Barring injuries, it’s Barcelona vs. the world. The Catalans went unbeaten in their group, and were mostly unchallenged save a last-minute push from Leverkusen. Until a team proves they can stop the attack of Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez it’d be foolish to pick anyone else.
Three English teams have reached the Knockout Stage including Chelsea, who won Group G despite struggling in the Premier League. Chelsea only lost once during group play, but they’ve lost four of their last six BPL fixtures.
The first legs of these matchups will be on February 16, 17, 23 and 24. The round will conclude with the second legs on March 8, 9, 15 and 16.
Here are the pairings as they are released at the draw:
KAA Gent (BEL) vs. VFL Wolfsburg (GER)
AS Roma (ITA) vs. Real Madrid (ESP)
Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) vs. Chelsea (ENG)
Arsenal (ENG) vs. FC Barcelona (SPA)
Juventus (ITA) vs. Bayern Munich (GER)
PSV Eindhoven (NED) vs. Atletico Madrid (SPA)
Benfica (POR) vs. Zenit (RUS)
Dynamo Kyiv (UKR) vs. Manchester City (ENG)