Champions League predictions – Round of 16

We have reached that awkward lull in the season in which there will be numerous transfers and trivial cup ties whilst waiting for the round of 16 in the champions league which start of the 12th of February, here are my predictions for the results and reasons why…

Schalke vs Man City

Schalke.jpg

Schalke are currently situated in a lowly 13th place out of 18 in the Bundesliga whilst Manchester City have just routed Burton Albion 9-0 in the semi-final of the Carabao cup. This alone should send the standard football fan into City’s arms and believing that another high scoring and easy route to the quarter final is a certainty. Schalke are undoubtedly the underdogs for this tie given how City are aiming for their first European trophy since 1969-70 where they won the European Cup Winner’s cup. City are also currently situated in 2nd place in the Premier League; they’re behind Liverpool whilst scoring a total of 91 goals this season, the highest across the top five leagues. Schalke need to reach an unfathomable level to even get a point from these two legs. I see City winning 7-1 on aggregate with Leroy Sane devastating his former team with 2 MOTM performances.

Conclusion – Man City Progression

Atletico vs Juventus 

Atletico.jpg

If you saw this match two years ago, you’d be well forgiven for assuming it was a semi-final fixture or potentially even a final. However over the last two years both clubs have dramatically changed. Atletico have faded since their Champions League final appearance against Real Madrid in which they won La Decima, compared to Juventus who are current favourites to win the competition. This is down to one man: Cristiano Ronaldo. Arguably the greatest player to be currently playing the beautiful game, Ronaldo has only achieved a poultry 14 goals and 5 assists in 19 games; he’s directly involved in a measly one goal per game. Unacceptable really.  In all seriousness, though, Juventus appear to have finally reached the level expected of them and they are looking terrifying to all those they come up against. With Juventus having their strongest team to date albeit without Buffon, they are my favourites to win the tournament and although this will be a heavy weight clash, I see them getting through following a stellar performance from both Ronaldo and Dybala to carry them through to the next round.

Conclusion – Juventus progression

Man United vs Paris

utd

The second of the three heavy weight clashes, this game is shaping up to be one that is talked about for years. United appear rejuvenated under Ole Gunnar whilst PSG have just lost to FC Guingamp the cup showing they are not as invincible as initially perceived.  This will be a battle of the 2 superstars of each team respectively. Pogba vs Neymar. Whichever one is firing on 110% will carry the team and I am ecstatic for this fixture. Both teams when performing are unplayable and boast the biggest names in football and players in each position worthy of battle. De Gea vs Buffon. Valenica vs Alves. Pogba vs Veratti. Martial vs Neymar, and Lukaku vs Cavani provided Lukaku starts. It is a battle that will set my decision for underdogs of the tournament. Both teams are both considered potential winners admittedly with United only considered as of late due to recent form. I see this as a very close affair throughout with both teams showcasing the best football they have played all season, however I see United taking this due to the new found hunger they have shown but this will only be on penalties following a 2-2 draw on aggregate.

Conclusion – United Progression

Tottenham vs Borussia Dortmund 

dortmund

Both teams are currently challenging for titles in their leagues and both are almost the hipster pick for the titles respectively.  With Spurs long being the outsider and team you can never count out due to stars such as Kane, Son and Eriksen all able to produce wonders whilst defensive rocks of Vertonghen and Alderweireld seeming to cause miraculous tackles that seem impossible. Combat this with the electric attacking force of Reus and Alcalcer who appear to walk the league and you have the new boys in the current meta in European football. This is going to be a match in which an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. Kane vs Rues. Son vs Alcalcer, Sancho vs Moura and Gotze vs Eriksen. Both teams are threatening to any team due to either being deemed as easier or their ability to turn matches on their head and control it all. I am gutted this game is occurring so early similar to Utd vs Paris and Atletico vs Juve but I do believe this will be a Dortmund win, again, on penalties.

Conclusion – Dortmund Progression.

Lyon vs Barcelona

Olympique Lyon vs F.C. Barcelona

OL are currently sat in 3rd place in Ligue 1 and a whopping 17 points behind PSG who have a game in hand as well. Whilst the league is a foregone conclusion, Lyon are hoping to cause an upset and advance past a seemingly resurgent Barcelona who are sat firmly atop La Liga with Messi having both the most goals and assists thus far this season. However thus far in the Champions League, Lyon are unbeaten with 5 draws and a win which shows they have got the steel to face anyone and have even beaten Man City. Whilst Lyon are undoubtedly underdogs for this, I can see a shock on the cards and I see OL progressing after a defensive showing in both ties.

Conclussion – OL Progression

Roma vs Porto

Roma.jpg

Both Roma and Porto were seen as favourable draws this year but both are still very large threats to any team they face. Roma knocked out Barcelona last after a late Kostas Manolas goal sank the Spanish giants and will be hoping to reach the semi-finals again at this point. Roma finished surprisingly close to being eliminated with three losses in the group and only 9 points, compare this to Porto who dominated and got 16 points and remained unbeaten.  Porto have began to look like  a dominant side with stars such as Casillas and Telles showing signs that the underdogs since 2004 are starting to stir and contest again.

Conclusion – Porto progression

Ajax vs Real Madrid

madrid

Last year, if you saw this fixture, you would have been a fool for not betting a house on Madrid to progress. Fast-forward to the current day and the odds are not so sure anymore. Madrid are languishing in 5th place and 10 points behind Barcelona. Not only this but Alaves are currently ahead of them, something that a few years ago would have been treason to discuss to the Los Blancos faithful’s. Yet now, since Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo have left the Bernabeu they have sunk to rock bottom with the only way to sort this seeming like a megastar signing to leave the largest hole a man can leave. A CR7 sized hole. Whilst Ajax have got the current crème de la crème of youth players with De Ligt and De Jong looking like future world beaters worth their weight in gold. With Madrid’s current standing it is a very hard one to call as Ajax are looking ferocious whilst Madrid look as threatening as a wet paper towel. Ajax to take this.

Conclusion – Ajax Progression

Liverpool vs Bayern

Bayern.jpg

A final in the round of 16. We have been thoroughly treated this year with clashes of titans. Both teams are absolutely terrifying on their day and appear the most matched out of all teams. Van Djik vs Lewandowski, Salah vs Hummels, Henderson vs Gotze and Allison vs Neuer. I am salivating at the thought of this as it can honestly go either way. A Liverpool win will surely seal the fate of Niko Kovac whilst a Bayern win will mean Klopp has to win the league or the season will be a failure of unimaginable proportions when considering their current trajectory. Liverpool will take hope in the fact Muller has since been banned for both fixtures in this tie but will need to be on their best to get past a side well traveled and experienced in this field. One where in recent years, with the exception of last years final run, Liverpool haven’t performed.   I can see Salah again showing he is the main man and getting the win for the Klopp.

Conclusion – Liverpool progression

What are your thoughts?


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