The continental extravaganza is back for the second half of its season.
The recent draw of Round of 16 revealed eight mouthwatering clashes between some of the continent’s best football clubs, all of whom have spent the last three months fighting for the right to continue in this competition. For the first time in history of UEFA Champions League(UCL), all 16 teams entering the knockout stage come from one of Europe’s top-five leagues as there will be no minnows taking part in march to the final in Istanbul.
Let’s have a look at the top teams and what they have in store for us this week.
1. Atletico Madrid vs Liverpool FC
Liverpool FC will visit the scene of their latest conquest, Metropolitano, where they won their 6th UEFA Champions League title, in the first leg of their last-16 clash against the defensive powerhouse Atletico Madrid. While they both play at seemingly opposite ends of the footballing-style spectrum, i.e. “heavy metal scoring” vs “defend defend defend”, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid share some similarities as they both play with an intensity that is hard to match.
The teams have not met since the 2009-10 UEFA Europa League semi-finals but a lot has changed in the past decade.
2. Borussia Dortmund vs Paris Saint Germain
Borussia Dortmund are one of the most exciting teams in European football right now, with a crop of talented youngsters driving their pursuit of a place in the latter stages of the Champions League. On the other side, PSG are a group of hyper-focused players who will go leaps and bounds to secure the one piece of silverware that has long eluded them.
PSG come into this tie having won all but one of their six games in this season’s group stage while Dortmund has surprisingly steered through the group of death having picked up ten points in this season’s group stage to finish second behind Barcelona FC and eliminating Inter Milan.
This clash truly paves way for the future stars like Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Achraf Hakimi, and Kylian Mbappe to mark their stamp in this prestigious competition and take over the mantle from Messi and Ronaldo in the decade to come.
3. Tottenham Hotspur vs RB Leipzig
Both these teams have undergone managerial changes this season as Julian Nagelsmann took charge of the German club last July and is in midst of propelling them to their first league title while Jose Mourinho arrived at Spurs in November and has propelled them from 14th in the League to their current fifth-place position.
This match may lack the star power of Dortmund vs. PSG or Real Madrid vs. Manchester City, but will be intriguing in its own quirky ways. The German outfit are mobile, dynamic, unpredictable and extremely confident but Mourinho is well versed in tough Champions League clashes and is a tactician of the highest order.
All eyes will be on Timo Werner as the German has already expressed his desire to play in the top flight of the English division while Tottenham Hotspur will miss their talisman, Harry Kane, due to the hamstring injury he suffered early this year.
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