Champions League is taking a break until February now that the group stage is complete. But before it does, they needed to determine the pairings for the next round of matches.
The draw took place this morning at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. As a reminder, here’s how the eight groups were settled during group play:
|Winners (seeded in draw)||Runners-up (unseeded in draw)|
|Borussia Dortmund (GER)||Atlético Madrid (ESP)|
|Barcelona (ESP)||Tottenham Hotspur (ENG)|
|Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)||Liverpool (ENG)|
|Porto (POR)||Schalke 04 (GER)|
|Bayern Munich (GER)||Ajax (NED)|
|Manchester City (ENG)||Lyon (FRA)|
|Real Madrid (ESP)||Roma (ITA)|
|Juventus (ITA)||Manchester United (ENG)|
This will be the final round of the tournament where clubs from the same association cannot be drawn against each other. Likewise, if they played in the same group during the last round, they also cannot meet again until the quarterfinals. The seeded clubs will host the second match of the upcoming two-leg Round of 16, and the first leg will begin on 12 February 2019.
England leads all associations with four clubs, though three advanced as runners-up and were unseeded. Manchester City – who remains the overall favorite according to FiveThirtyEight (19%) – got perhaps the most favorable draw of all. They face off against Schalke 04, a German club that lucked out with an easy group draw and whose success in Europe has not been reflected in their Bundesliga performance.
After finishing a distant second in the league last season, a season in which they missed all European competition, Schalke is currently mired in 13th place, closer to relegation in the 18-team league than the top. They’ve averaged 1 point per match thus far through 15 matches, compared to current Bundesliga leader Borussia Dortmund, who has 39 points (2.6 per match) through the same 15 matches.
Speaking of Dortmund, they’ve drawn one of the unseeded clubs from England, and will kick off against Tottenham Hotspur – potentially from the Spurs new stadium – on 13 February. The Spurs have played well enough, only struggling in league play against the top clubs in the Premier League. But they needed a late goal in a Matchday 6 draw against Barcelona to even advance to this stage, and I anticipate that their stay will be a short one.
Joining the aforementioned Manchester City at the top of the favorites pile are the clubs you would expect: Barcelona (14%), Paris Saint-Germain (11%), Bayern Munich (10%) and Juventus (10%) are the four other clubs with at least a 10% chance of winning the tournament, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Bayern has perhaps the toughest draw of the four, facing off against a very hot Liverpool (how did all the German clubs draw English ones?). Liverpool may have come through the group stage as a runner-up; a Matchday 4 loss to SportMuse favorite Red Star Belgrade made their road to the knockout stage a little tough, but they ultimately came through, defeating Napoli 1-0 on Matchday 6 to clinch a spot. Combined with their undefeated start to their Premier League season – 17 matches and counting (14-3-0) – it’s no wonder that their Round of 16 matchup against Bayern is roughly a toss-up (FiveThirtyEight has Bayern as the 52% favorite), so we’ll have to see if hosting the second match will be an advantage in this matchup.
Juventus could also find some trouble in the round of 16. Though Atlético Madrid came through as a qualifier, they were tied with Dortmund during the group stage. They also made it to the group stage this year after capturing Europa League last season (they also finished second in La Liga), and should be a formidable opponent for Cristiano Renaldo’s new club.
Beyond Schalke 04, there are two other clubs whose long odds to win were impacted by tough draws this round. French club Lyon needed a solid performance against Shakhtar Donetsk during Matchday 6 to even make it this far, and they were rewarded with a matchup against Barcelona. Barca advanced to the quarterfinals of Champions League last season, and won the competition as recently as 2015.
The final English club, and the only one not to face off against a German opponent, is Manchester United. They drew against Paris Saint-Germain, and unless they can find some help during the upcoming transfer window, they will enter the knockout stage a depleted club. While they are currently in 6th place in the Premier League, they are eight points behind Arsenal for even fifth place (which would result in a trip to next year’s Europa League, and 19! points behind Liverpool at the top of the table.
To say that they’ve struggled this season is an understatement, and we have spilled gallons of digital inks on this very site talking about these travails. FiveThirtyEight gives them a 25% chance against PSG, and that might be a little high.
The tournament remains Manchester City’s to lose, and with some of the top clubs facing off this round, they could possible end up with a favorable draw in the quarterfinals as well. We’ll be back with more in-depth analysis of the individual matchups when we get a little closer to the actual matches, so please feel free to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to stay in the loop.
Here’s the complete draw match dates. Team 1 will host the 1st leg, with Team 2 hosting the other:
|Team 1||Team 2||1st leg||2nd leg|
|Schalke 04||Manchester City||20 February 2019||12 March 2019|
|Atlético Madrid||Juventus||20 February 2019||12 March 2019|
|Manchester United||Paris Saint-Germain||12 February 2019||6 March 2019|
|Tottenham Hotspur||Borussia Dortmund||13 February 2019||5 March 2019|
|Lyon||Barcelona||19 February 2019||13 March 2019|
|Roma||Porto||12 February 2019||6 March 2019|
|Ajax||Real Madrid||13 February 2019||5 March 2019|
|Liverpool||Bayern Munich||19 February 2019||13 March 2019|
Until next time…