All four English teams present in the group stages of the Champions League- Man City, Tottenham, Liverpool and Man Utd, progressed to the Round of 16 of the competition. Three of the four qualified as runners up and have been handed tough fixtures in the Round of 16. Man City, who won Group F, have been handed what fans and pundits would consider an easy draw, in the form of Schalke 04. The Royal Blues have been in terrible form domestically and are currently 14th in the Bundesliga, just a point above the drop zone and a whopping 24 behind leaders Dortmund.
The Round of 16 could also be seen as a battle between the Premier League and the Bundesliga. City, Spurs and Liverpool have all drawn German opponents. Spurs’ “reward” for qualifying from the group of death is a tough fixture against BVB, while Liverpool have been given a mouth watering tie against Bayern Munich. All in all, this is a pretty good, competitive set of fixtures for the knockout stages of the competition. Some great games for neutral footy fans!
Spurs v Dortmund: Spurs did the double over Dortmund when the two sides were grouped together in the CL last season, but BVB are in better form this year, and have the advantage of having beaten Spurs the last time the two met in European knockout competition (the 2015/16 Europa League)
Liverpool v Bayern: Surprisingly, the two European heavyweights haven’t been paired together in recent years, and last met in the Super Cup back in 2001. Reds gaffer Jurgen Klopp was Dortmund manager when they lost to Bayern in the 2013 final, and that adds to the anticipation surrounding this clash. Bayern are rebuilding over Niko Kovac, but remain a formidable force in Europe- this tie should be a cracker.
PSG v Man Utd: United are the only English team not to draw German opposition. They could’ve even finished top of their group but a poor result in the Mestalla against struggling Valencia on Match Day 6 put paid to their hopes of winning the group.
Brazilian star Neymar has been one of the in form strikers this year in the Champions League (5 goals and 2 assists in 6 games), and will be eager to square off against a Man Utd defence that’s currently the fifth worst in the Premier League, having shipped in 29 goals in 17 games. Here are some little known facts about the 26 year old, courtesy BettingSites.me.uk
The thought of PSG’s in form trio of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani against Smalling, Jones and co. is something that will give Red Devils fans countless sleepless nights ahead of this clash.
Look at it this way- PSG beat Liverpool in the CL, and Liverpool comfortably beat United 3-1 over the weekend. Caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has his work cut out! Can he do a Di Matteo and guide them to the title? A lot could potentially change between December and February, but for now, it’s hard to see PSG failing to progress.
Schalke v Man City: City are probably 99% sure to progress here. However while Schalke have been pushovers in the BuLi, they did well to qualify from a group that included Porto and Galatasaray, and will give it their all against Pep Guardiola’s side. Lyon showed that City can be troubled, and Schalke will look to take inspiration from that.