The Champions League Round of 16 matchups are just around the corner. The first legs of this knockout round will start up next week with some high-profile games.
Let’s take a look at the pairings for this year’s edition of the Round of 16 and predict a winner for each one.
Atletico Madrid vs. Liverpool
The reigning champions of the tournament certainly didn’t get an easy draw here, as Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid are always up for a good battle.
However, with Los Colchoneros floundering without Diego Costa and Joao Felix and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool dominating any team that happens to wind up in front of them throughout this entire season, we think Liverpool will move on.
Borussia Dortmund vs. Paris Saint-Germain
One of the most promising Round of 16 matchups comes between Borussia Dortmund and PSG, two teams full of young stars.
Borussia Dortmund could end up escaping through if Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho give them an edge after the matchup’s first leg in Germany, but I ultimately think that the combination of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, who has never played as well as he is now, will be too much for the Dortmund defense.
Atalanta vs. Valencia
Who would have ever expected a Round of 16 tie between these two teams?
Valencia, who shocked many by winning their group in the group stage of the tournament, got a favorable draw against Atalanta in the first knockout round. Los Che have been inconsistent under Albert Celades, but we think that their quality is a bit too much for Atalanta to handle.
Tottenham Hotspur vs. RB Leipzig
Perhaps the biggest “pick ’em” of the Round of 16 is this clash between last year’s finalists in Tottenham against RB Leipzig.
The German side might surprise many who aren’t familiar with their quality. Dani Olmo and Timo Werner will have a big chance to shine on a world stage in this tie, and we think that they will pull off the upset against a disheveled Spurs side.
Pick: RB Leipzig
Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich
Two European giants meet up in this juicy Round of 16 matchup, as Bayern will look to solidify its status as one of the tournament favorites.
Chelsea barely escaped from the group stage, and the uber-talented German champions will be out for blood. While Frank Lampard’s tenure at the Blues might be off to a promising start, we think that Bayern’s quality and experience are too much for them to handle.
Pick: Bayern Munich
Napoli vs. FC Barcelona
Barcelona meets up against Napoli in this Round of 16 matchup with some genuine upset potential.
The Catalans are still getting used to playing under new manager Quique Setien, but have shown signs of improvement lately. Leo Messi is still Leo Messi, and we think that they will move on to the next round with the help of a little bit of magic from the diminutive Argentinian.
Olympique Lyon vs. Juventus
After last year’s disappointing early exit at the hands of upstart Ajax, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus will look to avoid another upset at the hands of Lyon.
The Old Lady has one of world soccer’s best collections of talent, and it seems inevitable that they will cruise past their Ligue 1 opposition. Could a huge upset be in the cards, though? We doubt it.
Real Madrid vs. Manchester City
Arguably the most intriguing Round of 16 matchup is this one between Champions League giants Real Madrid and Manchester City, the team that has been chasing this title for the better part of the past decade.
Zinedine Zidane’s Blancos got off to a slow start this season, but have taken flight over the past couple of months. Leading La Liga and getting outstanding performances from Karim Benzema and the ageless Sergio Ramos, we think that they will pull off the upset against Pep Guardiola’s Man City, which isn’t the squad it once was.