If you are not familiar with the Champions League then you are in the perfect place. UEFA’s Champions League or UCL is one of the best competitions ever! It consists of all the top club teams in all leagues and has a distinct set of rules:
Each league gets a certain number of entries into the group stage depending on their stature and funds generated. Before the tournament begins there are 20 teams that must play in the knockout round while the remaining 22 wait. Then all 32 teams are randomly placed in groups of four and must play each team in their group twice. After all, points are accumulated the final eight face-offs in a playoff type bracket but with a twist. Each team is randomly matched against an opponent and must play that team twice with the total scores combined at the end. After each win, the opponents are randomly drawn again until we are down to two teams. Like most Finals, they play one 90 minute match for the title.
Match 1: Paris SG vs Barcelona
This match has the potential to be the best one of the entire competition. Paris Saint Germain vs FC Barcelona will be one of the more exciting games. We have stars at every level from the strikers to the defense. The forwards of Barcelona take the advantage over PSG and that’s an easy decision to make. Luis Suarez, Neymar, and Lionel Messi are the best attacking trio in the world. Angel Di Maria, Lucas, and Cavani are great as well but don’t match up to FCB’s lineup. In the midfield, Busquets is the best #6 in the world and Iniesta is the best #8 so I would also take FCB’s there as well. In defense, with Thiago Silva injured, PSG defenses takes a major hit. Barca’s defense still has the masterclass that is Pique with upcoming Umtiti to help, I would take them in a clean sweep.
This match up will be fun but Barcelona will win 5-2 on aggregate. FCB hasn’t been playing their best as of late but PSG seems to struggle against teams with equal or more talent.
Match 2: Benfica vs Dortmund
The Champions League produces another game of quality. Benfica vs Borussia Dortmund could be the most underrated matchup of the Round of 16. Dortmund has been struggling lately only winning two games in their last nine. But on the other hand, Benfica has struggled in European competitions. They haven’t won a game against German clubs in Europe since 1998. Dortmund will need their stable of stars to be in top form. Look for Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang to produce per usual for Dortmund. He has blazing speed to makes runs past the defense to get one-on-one’s with the keeper and get in easier scoring positions. Opposite of him is Benfica forward Jonas. Even at 32 he still is a major scoring threat scoring seven goals in his last 10 appearances.
This game will be close but Dortmund will pull it out against Benfica 3-1 on aggregate. Dortmund just has too much quality and pace for Benfica to defend.
Match 3: Real Madrid vs Napoli
Real Madrid are the defending League Champions and will look to advance against Italian-side Napoli. Madrid star forward Gareth Bale will not be fit for the first match on February 15th with his ankle injury. But other playmakers like Isco, Marco Asensio, and Alvaro Morata will need to step up big. Ronaldo and Karim Benzema must also score their chances in from of goal and be clinical. On the other hand, Napoli also has players of quality that can compete. Milik will look to continue his goal-scoring form. Hamsik and Dries Mertens must deliver serviceable balls to Milik and Kalidou Koulibaly needs to keep leading their back line.
Real Madrid will be to too dominant for Napoli and will win 6-3 on aggregate. Napoli defense will fall apart trying to contain all options at Real Madrid’s disposal.
Match 4: Arsenal vs Bayern Munich
Match 4 will feature the two biggest names. Arsenal has been around since 1886 while Bayern Munich was established in 1900. Each have proven players that will surely be in form on the biggest stage. Bayern defender Phillip Lahm is retiring at season’s end and would surely love end his career winning the coveted Champions League trophy. Also, forwards like Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski will look score from great service by elite midfielders like Thiago and Arturo Vidal. Munich have a balanced team which means it will be tough for Arsenal to get through their back line. Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil will be the two most watched players for Arsenal as they need to rekindle their partnership up front. Newly acquired defender Shkodran Mustafi must communicate and keep their back line intact to avoid long balls from the startling Bayern midfielders.
Bayern Munich are too loaded with talent for Arsenal to compete with and will win 4-1 on aggregate.
Predictions for remaining Champions League matches
Atlético Madrid vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen:
Atlético Madrid is a strong club and can handle the toughness from the german-side Bayer Leverkusen. And with this in mind, Atlético will win by an aggregate score of 2-0.
Manchester City vs AS Monaco:
Manchester City is on of the top clubs and been performing well but has shown a leaky defense. Meanwhile, AS Monaco has been the top scoring club in Europe’s Top 5 with 75 team goals this year. Monaco will upset Man. City by a score of 4-2 on aggregate.
FC Porto vs Juventus:
Juventus always are a tough out in a competition like this and this year is no different. Porto does have a talented team but will lose on aggregate 4-1.
Leicester City vs Sevilla
Leicester City hasn’t been looking like returning Premier League champions so far this season. Meanwhile, Sevilla has been on top form and will look to showcase it to the world. Sevilla will defeat Leicester 3-1 on aggregate.