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The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 is set with two huge matchups to look forward to in 2023. Last year’s final of Liverpool vs. Real Madrid will be replayed while the 2020 COVID-19 pairing of Paris Saint-Germain vs. Bayern Munich will renew their rivalry after their 2021 quarterfinal meeting. Elsewhere, Manchester City go to RB Leipzig first, Tottenham Hotspur have drawn AC Milan, SSC Napoli go to Eintracht Frankfurt and Chelsea get a Borussia Dortmund test. When Champions League action resumes you’ll be able to catch all the action on Paramount+. Use offer code ALLYEAR now to get 50% off the annual plan.
Liverpool are up against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 after Monday’s draw saw the two sides come out together.
One of the two runners-up along with Paris Saint-Germain that none of the group winners will have wanted to fall on, Jurgen Klopp’s beaten finalists from last year showed against Napoli that they could turn it on against the best although it was not enough to pip the Italians to top spot.
Ajax also emerged from the group, but it was really the Reds who felt most underwhelming given how the first half of their season has gone overall with the team 10th in the Premier League at present.
It could be that they are a team transformed after the FIFA World Cup break and in any case, Mo Salah still managed to joint-top score along with Kylian Mbappe in the group stage with seven goals.
So far so good for the defending titleholders who sit atop La Liga and edged RB Leipzig to top Group F ahead of the Germans and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Although they have been temporarily displaced by Barcelona at the Spanish summit and they did lose to Leipzig, Carlo Ancelotti’s side are among the favorites heading into this knockout phase despite Ballon d’Or holder Karim Benzema’s increasing fragility of late.
The first leg will take place at Anfield with the second leg due to be played at Santiago Bernabeu.
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Paris Saint-Germain will face Bayern in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 after the two sides landed each other in Monday’s draw.
It offers us a rematch of their 2020 UCL final which was won by the Germans and also their 2021 quarterfinal which saw PSG advance to the semifinals before losing out to Manchester City.
Along with Liverpool, Christophe Galtier’s unbeaten side were the team no group winner wanted to land on straight after winning their group, but a freak second place finish to SL Benfica on an obscure away goals scored tiebreak rule meant second place in Group H for Les Parisiens.
The French giants lead the way in Ligue 1 at present and are likely to end the first part of the campaign unbeaten across all competitions and star man Kylian Mbappe is tied with Liverpool’s Mo Salah on seven goals at the top of the scoring charts for now.
The German juggernaut made light of Group C to finish with maximum points ahead of Inter Milan and Barcelona.
Despite hitting a bumpy patch in the Bundesliga, Bayern are now back on top of the domestic tree after Julian Nagelsmann rode out some speculation over his future once Thomas Tuchel was dismissed by Chelsea.
The Bavarians are latter stage regulars so will be expected to advance at least to the quarterfinals here.
Leg one will be played at Parc des Princes with the second instalment slated for Allianz Arena.
Napoli will take on Frankfurt in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 after Monday’s draw paired the two sides together. The Serie A leaders topped Group A ahead of Liverpool and AFC Ajax and they have also been one of Europe’s most in-form sides so far this season. Luciano Spalletti’s men are fortunate enough that star men Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia will not be at the FIFA World Cup this winter too, so should be fresh coming back into the knockout phase of this year’s UCL edition. As far as daunting away days go, the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona is one of the most difficult places to go.
Chelsea are up against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 after Monday’s draw paired these two together. Graham Potter’s men have started to wobble of late in the Premier League but were convincing enough to lead Group E ahead of AC Milan and Red Bull Salzburg despite a poor start away at Dinamo Zagreb which cost Thomas Tuchel his job. Outside of the European places after their 1-0 loss at home to Arsenal over the weekend, the Blues need this FIFA World Cup break for Potter to get to grips with the enormity of the challenge he is faced with at Stamford Bridge. Given Tuchel’s impressive European record with Chelsea, advancing to at least the quarterfinals is arguably expected.
Manchester City have drawn RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 after the two sides were paired together in Monday’s event in Nyon. Pep Guardiola’s men continue to trail Arsenal in the Premier League title race and were a little clunky towards the end of Group G with consecutive 0-0 draws before beating Sevilla to ensure that they finished ahead of Borussia Dortmund and the Spaniards. Erling Haaland’s stunning start to the season has been derailed slightly of late due to some unavailability through injury, but the Norwegian machine will be able to rest up during the FIFA World Cup with the Scandinavians absent from the competition. Having scored five times already this edition, Haaland is also only two goals behind PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Mo Salah of Liverpool on seven.
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