UEFA has announced fixtures for the Champions League Round of 16 and Europa League Knockout Round. Both tournaments feature major storylines in this stage of the competitions.
Champions League Draw
This year’s Champions League draw features many major matchups and storylines.
Liverpool versus Real Madrid is one of the main matchups this round. The two clubs met in the Champions League final last season, where Madrid’s Vinicius Jr. rocketed in a Federico Valverde cross in the 58th minute to beat the English Club 1-0.
Liverpool will be seeking revenge and pride. The Reds have had an incredibly disappointing season thus far, as they currently sit in eighth place in the Premier League, having only won 19 points from 13 matches. Beating Madrid would be a statement for the club and something to hang their hats on for the rest of the season even if they are unable to finish in England’s top-4.
Speaking of European superpowers, AC Milan will play Tottenham in the Round of 16. AC Milan is one of the most dominant Italian clubs, having won the Scudetto last season. However, high expectations led to major disappointments, as the club barely scraped through the group stage, finishing second behind a lackluster Chelsea. Milan will look to have a bounce-back campaign against the London club.
Meanwhile, Tottenham did relatively well in its group, capturing 11 points in the group stage. Tottenham currently sits in fourth place in the Premier League and has looked strong under manager Antonio Conte. The English club would normally be the favorites to beat Milan, but the Scudetto winners are a strong team. This should be a high-octane matchup between two major clubs.
Maybe the most intriguing draw of all is Paris Saint-Germain against Bayern Munich. Much of the allure surrounds superstar Lionel Messi. This will be Messi’s first time taking on Bayern since he played for Barcelona, where the Spanish club lost 8-2. The Argentine forward will be seeking revenge and his first trophy for PSG. This will also likely be his last season in the European competition, so the stakes are high.
Europa League Draw
While the Europa League draw is not as action-packed, it does feature maybe the most alluring matchup of this round of European Competition.
Barcelona versus Manchester United is one of the most intriguing matchups this season. The two giants rarely play each other: much less in the Europa League. These two squads might be the most evenly matched in all of Europe. United currently sits in No. 5 in the Premier League, only three points back from a top-4 spot despite having started the season poorly.
Barcelona, meanwhile, sits atop La Liga. Xavi’s side looks dominant, with 34 points from 13 matches. The Catalans were knocked out of the Champions League after a difficult group stage draw against Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. Xavi v. Ten Hag figures to be an exciting matchup that will have soccer fans on the edge of their seats.
Stadio listeners will be intrigued by Ajax’s draw against Union Berlin. Ajax sits in second place in Eredivisie, which is somewhat disappointing for the Dutch juggernauts. In contrast, Berlin is having a massive season. The German club currently sits third in Bundesliga, and was atop the league for much of the early season.