Champions League Draw: Round Of 16 Matchups, Schedule, Predictions


The UEFA Champions League will reach a higher gear in 2017, and now we know why.

UEFA conducted the Champions League round of 16 draw on Monday at its headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, sorting the remaining 16 teams into eight matchups. The two-legged series will take place between mid-February and mid-March, giving fans a healthy helping of thrills, tension and goals.

Let’s look at the matchups and schedule, and we’ll offer some quick analysis and predictions (subject, of course, to change):

Benfica vs. Borussia Dortmund
Feb. 14 and March 8
Analysis: Dortmund surprisingly finished ahead of Real Madrid in Group F and scored the most goals in the history of the group stage. The German club’s reward is a matchup against Group B runner-up Benfica, which narrowly backed its way into the knockout round.
Prediction: Dortmund will earn a road draw against Benfica and win at home, advancing comfortably.

Paris Saint-German vs. Barcelona
Feb. 14 and March 8
Analysis: One of the two feature matchups in the round of 16 pits familiar foes against each other in Group C winner Barcelona and Group A runner-up PSG. Barcelona eliminated PSG in the quarterfinals in 2013 and 2015 and beat them twice in the group stage earlier in the 2014-15 season.

Prediction: Barcelona will continue to inflict misery on PSG, winning both games. But they’ll be close.

Real Madrid vs. Napoli
Feb. 15 and March 7
Analysis: Real Madrid, the defending Champions League winner and Group F runner-up, will face Group B winner Napoli. Real Madrid is better equipped to handle the simultaneous demands of domestic and continental pursuits, so its title defense should continue into the next round.

Prediction: Napoli will put up a fight at home, but Real Madrid will sweep the Italian club aside when the series comes to Spain.

Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal
Feb. 15 and March 7
Analysis: This one’s the other can’t-miss matchup, but if you do, just wait until next year. They’ll probably play again.

Bayern Munich eliminated Arsenal in the round of 16 in 2013 and 2014, and the teams split their group-stage meetings last season. Pep Guardiola was in charge of Bayern Munich last season, but Carlo Ancelotti now occupies the hot seat. Group D runner-up Bayern Munich is slightly weaker than in recent seasons, and Group A winner Arsenal is a bit stronger.
Prediction: Arsenal will finally overcome Bayern Munich — on away goals — and end its six-year streak of round of 16 eliminations.

Manchester City vs. Monaco
Feb. 21 and March 15
Analysis: Group C runner-up Manchester City probably is breathing a sigh of relief, having drawn Group E winner Monaco.

Guardiola should have a better feel for his squad in two months’ time. Like City, Monaco also is in a domestic title race but the French club lacks the depth of its English opponent.
Prediction: Manchester City will win both games and advance comfortably.

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Atletico Madrid
Feb. 21 and March 15
Analysis: Group E runner-up Bayer Leverkusen will take on Group D winner Atletico Madrid in a rematch of their 2015 round of 16 encounter. Atletico Madrid won on penalty kicks two seasons ago.

Prediction: Atletico Madrid will hold Bayer Leverkusen to a goal-less draw in Germany and win by two goals in Spain.

Porto vs. Juventus
Feb. 22 and March 14
Analysis: Group H winner Juventus and Group G runner-up Porto compete in the Champions League almost every season but rarely cross paths. They’ll face off with Juventus the heavy favorite to advance, based on past and present results.

Prediction: Porto will beat Juventus in Portugal but lose heavily in the return leg in Italy.

Sevilla vs. Leicester City
Feb. 22 and March 14
Analysis: Group H runner-up Sevilla has more European pedigree and better domestic form than Group G winner Leicester City, but we’ve a funny feeling that Leicester will manage to prolong its European adventure.

Prediction: Leicester will earn a surprise win in Spain and hold Sevilla to a wild draw at home in the return leg.

UEFA will hold the quarterfinal draw on March 17.

The Champions League final will take place in Cardiff, Wales, on June 3, 2017.

Thumbnail photo via YouTube/

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