The group stages of the UEFA Champions League are over and on December 14, the teams that made it into the last 16 of the tournament learned who their opponents will be. We’re going to take a look at the draw, how it works, all the exciting games, and Champions League odds to look forward to.
How does the draw work?
The draw for the games in the last 16 puts the eight group winners (seeded) up against the eight group runners-up (unseeded). This is how the teams looked at the end of the group stage:
- Bayern (GER, Group A)
- Real Madrid (ESP, Group B)
- Manchester City (ENG, Group C)
- Liverpool (ENG, Group D)
- Chelsea (ENG, Group E)
- Borussia Dortmund (GER, Group F)
- Juventus (ITA, Group G)
- Paris (FRA, Group H)
- Atlético (ESP, Group A)
- Borussia Mönchengladbach (GER, Group B)
- Porto (POR, Group C)
- Atalanta (ITA, Group D)
- Sevilla (ESP, Group E)
- Lazio (ITA, Group F)
- Barcelona (ESP, Group G)
- Leipzig (GER, Group H)
Teams from the same league, such as the Premier League or La Liga, could not be drawn against each other. Teams from the same group from the group stage are also unable to play each other. The seeded teams will play the second game at their home ground.
What happened in the draw?
The first leg will be played the week of February 16, 2021 and the return leg will be played the week of March 9, 2021.
The results of the draw are as follows:
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Man City
Man City fans will agree that they probably got the kindest draw of the last 16 in Borussia Mönchengladbach. However, Pep Guardiola knows that the Bundesliga team is not to be underestimated. They did beat Shakhtar Donetsk and Inter Milan to qualify after all.
The Citizens were knocked out by Lyon in the quarter-finals last season and Guardiola will hope this is the season that his team go all the way. The betting odds for this game are undoubtedly in City’s favor.
Lazio vs. Bayern Munich
The defending champions Bayern avoided the likes of Sevilla and Barcelona to draw Italian outfit Lazio. Although this could be seen as a relatively easy draw for the German team, Lazio are no push over, having won and drawn against a strong Borussia Dortmund side in the group stages.
Their main threat comes from Ciro Immobile and he’s the man Simone Inzaghi will be relying on the most. All in all though, this should be a draw that Hans-Dieter Flick’s team overcomes with relative ease, as the betting odds show.
Atlético Madrid vs. Chelsea
Atlético Madrid were the team that knocked Liverpool out of the competition at this stage last season and Chelsea are the unfortunate team that are going to face a well-drilled Diego Simeone side. That being said, Chelsea are also a side that is in the best form in many years and Simeone won’t relish drawing the Blues in this round.
Frank Lampard’s young, but expensively built team will have to be at their best to knockout a team that is currently sitting second in La Liga and that is known for being difficult to break down. This is going to be a tight match with the betting odds reflecting as much.
RB Leipzig vs. Liverpool
Another tantalizing match to look forward to is when the Reds take on Julian Nagelsmann’s dynamic RB Leipzig. It’s unlikely that the German’s will be intimidated by Liverpool’s current form. They absolutely thumped Tottenham last season and outwitted Manchester United to make it through the group stages.
Jürgen Klopp’s side are undoubtedly more experienced in the Champions League, having won the competition six times. It’s going to be interesting to see how the two German managers square up when the time comes. Betting odds on this one are going Liverpool’s way.
FC Porto vs. Juventus
Juventus stormed through the group stages and easily topped their group to get the seeded spot. Andrea Pirlo’s team won’t be too cautious ahead of their game against Porto, but Sérgio Conceição’s team is certainly not to be underestimated.
Of course, any team that has the unstoppable Cristiano Ronaldo on their books will feel confident going into a match and the betting odds are certainly in favor of Juventus making it through to the next round.
Sevilla vs. Borussia Dortmund
This is going to be another tight match to keep an eye on. Julen Lopetegui is getting the best out of his team, and they are playing better soccer than they have in years, with players like Jesús Navas and Ivan Rakitić on their books.
Dortmund, on the other hand, is in a bit of a slump after being beaten 5-0 by newly promoted Stuttgart in the Bundesliga to leave them fifth in the table. The board sacked the manager Lucien Favre as a result and are yet to name their new leader. This could make all the difference in this game and the betting odds show just how close this one is expected to be.
Barcelona vs. PSG
This is the blockbuster match that everyone is looking forward to. Barcelona are having a torrid time in La Liga and Ronald Koeman will be hoping that the Champions League will offer his demoralized team a bit of respite from the unrelenting pressure they find themselves under. They are currently in eighth place in the league. PSG have slipped off the top of the Ligue 1 table after going down 1-0 to Lyon and losing Neymar to a nasty ankle injury. It does look like PSG's star player will recover in time for these games, however.
Of course, putting Neymar up against his old club and friend-turned-foe Lionel Messi is what everyone is waiting to see. The betting odds are tight for this one, but they are currently leaning toward last year’s runner-ups PSG to go through to the next round.
Atalanta vs. Real Madrid
On paper, Atalanta might seem like a favorable draw for Spanish giants Real Madrid, but the unpredictability and rapid attack of Gian Piero Gasperini's team makes them a tough draw. Zinedane Zidane was under incredible pressure after losing to Cádiz, Alavés and Valencia, and being defeated twice by Shakhtar Donetsk in the space of a few short weeks. However, the win over league leaders Atlético Madrid will have given Madrid some confidence and breathing room.
Atalanta is a team that is built around attack, if Zidane finds a way to blunt this, then chances are that his team could sneak in a few goals past a shaky defense. It’s not going to be an easy game for Real Madrid and the betting odds reflect that.
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