The Champions League Round of 16 is upon us. It’s still early in the tournament but that’s not going to stop us from making bold predictions. There are definitely some good matches to look forward to so early in the knockout stages. The most interesting one seems to be Real Madrid vs. Manchester City so let’s break the match down.
Manchester City vs Real Madrid
Currently, Manchester is about 25 points off from Liverpool in the Premier League which sounds like the team is doing terrible but in reality, that point differential speaks more to how good Liverpool are. Manchester are a squad with tremendous talent and have their struggles just like any other team. But now that they are banned from the competition for the next 2 years, maybe that will be the extra motivation they need to win the Champions League. Real Madrid will definitely put up a tough fight now that Hazard has returned from his injury. Both teams are doing good, not great. So we think that this tie will be decided on who gets lucky at the right time. But we’ll choose Manchester City to advance simply because their squad seems to have more depth at the moment.
Chelsea vs Bayern Munich
Next up we have Chelsea vs Bayern Munich. The champions of Germany vs the strong young english side. Chelsea haven’t been able to find their sweet spot this season and Bayern haven’t been their usual dominant self in the German league. Even though Bayern Munich is at the top of the league, usually by now, they should have a double digit lead but they only lead by 4. Both teams don’t seem to be a lock to advance but here we’ll with experience and choose Bayern Munich to advance.
Borussia Dortmund vs PSG
Then we have Borussia Dortmund vs PSG. Both teams are sitting in very different areas in their domestic leagues. Borussia Dortmund seem to be fading out of contention in their league. They are currently sitting 4 points behind table leader, Bayern Munich. I know it’s not a lot of points but that seems like an uphill battle with only ⅓ of the season left and Bayern Munich looking like they might be finding their stride. PSG have a curse when it comes to the Round of 16 in the Champions League. Their last three appearances have ended with them exiting in dramatic fashion such as a late winner last year from Manchester United or ‘La Remontada’ from FC Barcelona. They have been criticized for underperforming in big competitions and rightfully so.
This time around it feels different but we’re not buying it just yet. We’re choosing Borussia Dortmund and expect a lot of action in this game. But even if PSG loses, they will be the best dressed. Their recent Jordan x PSG collaboration has turned them into best looking team out there (in terms of style not play). But still looks aren’t everything so we’re standing with our Dortmund decision.
Tottenham vs RB Leipzig
Tottenham and RB Leipzig seems as though it could be an entertaining matchup but we just don’t see any scenario where Tottenham advances. RB Leipzig are exceeding expectations this year in the German league while Tottenham have underperformed in their domestic league. Expect RB Leipzig to advance rather easily.
Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool
Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool seemed like it could have been the matchup to watch but Madrid has been plagued with injuries lately to key players so don’t expect them to put up much of a fight. In all honesty, I feel as though they could have put up a tough fight against the champions of europe but I don’t see how they can without their key difference makers. Liverpool will go through and continue to defend their title.
Lyon vs Juventus
Lyon vs Juventus. I don’t like to bet against Ronaldo so I won’t. Juventus are a team with incredible talent. They are serious contenders to win the Champions League not just the Round of 16. Lyon are a decent side but the talent and experience from Juventus should take care of business easily. Ronaldo looks to take back the trophy he’s held so many times before.
Napoli vs FC Barcelona
Napoli vs Barcelona could be interesting especially given FC Barcelona’s previous Champions League exits. But I will never bet against Messi, even though he’s been shying away in previous knockout stage appearances. FC Barcelona should advance just because of Messi, the greatest soccer player to ever live, but we’ve seen FC Barcelona lose to less talented squads.
Atalanta vs Valencia
Atalanta vs Valencia rounds out the Round of 16. Even though many are bypassing this matchup, it could very well be one of the more interesting ties. Both teams come in fairly even. None of them are a great team but they are both decent. The matchup should be close but it’s just not that interesting because the talent seems to be missing. We’re picking Valencia to go through.
Early Prediction for Final
So there you have it. Those are the 8 teams that will advance from the Champions League Round of 16. Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Liverpool, RB Leipzig, Juventus, FC Barcelona, and Valencia are all looking good to advance into the quarter-finals. Right now, we have no reason to believe that Liverpool won’t win it all again. Once we see how the teams play this round then we might have a better idea as to who might actually contend against Liverpool. But if I had to make the prediction today I would choose Juventus as the frontrunners to beat out Liverpool just because they’ve seemed the most consistent compared to the others not named Liverpool.
The first leg games will be played 2/18, 2/19, 2/25, & 2/26 at Noon PT. The second leg games will be played 3/10, 3/11, 3/17, & 3/18 at 1 PM PT.