With the Champions League round of 16 draw completed on Monday, here’s a ranking of the matches that will be played in February.
The 16 clubs who survived the group stage of the Champions League discovered on Monday who they would play in the round of 16.
The draw, held at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, produced eight very appealing matches.
All the games will be competitive, but the two that stick out most are Bayern Munich against PSG and Liverpool taking on Real Madrid in a rematch of last season’s final won by the Spanish giants.
These giant continental fixtures will take place in a post-World Cup world. The two-legged round of 16, which kicks off the knockout stage, will be contested on Feb. 14-15 and Feb. 21-22.
Here’s how the fixtures rank and who’s favored to win.
8. Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Napoli
Napoli, surprise Group A winners over Liverpool, earned the most favorable matchup of any team. The Italian side, playing some of the best soccer in Europe at the moment, is favored to advance against Group D runners-up Eintracht Frankfurt, a club that reached the knockout stage of the UCL for the first time in their history.
Favored to win: Napoli
7. Inter Milan vs. Porto
Porto, winners of Group B, are evenly matched against Inter Milan, Group C runners-up. The match also pits the defending league champions of both Italy and Portugal, a fact that points to the quality we may see in this fixture.
Favored to win: Inter Milan
6. RB Leipzig vs. Manchester City
Man City, on a mission to win their first Champions League trophy, earned a favorable draw after getting RB Leipzig. Manchester City, winners of Group G, are favored to advance against a German side, runners-up in Group F, given the scoring power they have up front spearheaded by Erling Haaland.
Favored to win: Manchester City
5. Club Brugge vs. Benfica
This is a match-up of Cinderella sides. Both Club Brugge, runners-up in Group B, and Benfica, shock winners of Group H at the expense of PSG, are evenly matched.
Benfica did manage to score 16 goals in six group-stage games, while Brugge only gave up four in the same number of matches. It will be offense versus defense in what’s expected to be a tight two-legged affair.
Favored to win: Benfica
4. AC Milan vs. Tottenham
The Italian club, Group B runners-up, is back in the UCL knockout stage where they have historically dominated. But Tottenham are a formidable side. The Group D winners are managed by former Italy manager Antonio Conte, who has turned the Spurs around over the past year.
Favored to win: Tottenham
3. Borussia Dortmund vs. Chelsea
This is where the fixtures get really competitive. Dortmund, runners-up in Group G, face off against Chelsea, who topped Group E. Again, these are two evenly-matched sides that should produce two quality games.
Favored to win: Chelsea
2. PSG vs. Bayern Munich
PSG, after losing out on winning Group H, are pitted against the Bavarian giants, who cruised to the top of Group C after winning all six of their matches. Nonetheless, it will be a clash of titans as PSG, featuring Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, face off against a Bayern side with offensive firepower of their own with Sadio Mane, Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane.
Favored to win: Bayern Munich
1. Liverpool vs. Real Madrid
It’s the round of 16 everyone was hoping would happen. In a rematch of last season’s final, Liverpool will take on Real Madrid. The draw gave us this matchup after Liverpool finished second in Group A, while Real Madrid won Group F. Like Man City, PSG has never won the UCL.
If history is any guide, expect a competitive matchup, but one that Real Madrid will ultimately win. Jurgen Klopp‘s side faced the Spaniards in 2021, during the pandemic, in a quarterfinal game that ended in a 3-1 victory for Real Madrid. Prior to that, there was the 2018 UCL final between the two sides, also won by Real by a score of 3-1.
Favored to win: Real Madrid