Champions League 2012-13: Potential Second-Round Pairings Sure to Thrill Fans

Daine PavloskiAnalyst IIDecember 6, 2012

Arsenal could possibly be paired with Málaga in the Knockout stage, which would be great for fans.
Arsenal could possibly be paired with Málaga in the Knockout stage, which would be great for fans.Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The group stage is over after a few big surprises, including Celtic advancing to the knockout phase and Chelsea being eliminated. 

The way that teams pair in the knockout stage can be a little confusing for fans who aren't familiar with the Champions League. Teams at the top of their group have to play a team that was a runner-up. The teams can't be from the same group or the same country.

The puzzle that is the pairings for the knockout phase won't be made until December 20, but there are definitely a few matchups that fans are pulling for. Here are a few:


Málaga vs. Arsenal

Málaga made it through the group stage without suffering a loss. It finished its group play with a record of three wins, three draws and zero losses. It dominated its group scoring 12 goals while allowing just five, the fourth best plus-minus in the entire group-stage round. 

Arsenal hasn't had it as easy. It nabbed the second spot in Group B, finishing with three wins, one draw and two losses. 

This matchup would be great for fans as the two clubs have never met before. Another reason fans want this pairing is that even though teams from the same country can't play each other, Málaga vs. Arsenal is pretty close. 

According to, Arsenal is moving away from its French flavor into a more Spanish feel. Arsenal players Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta have been huge reasons for Arsenal's success. 

To add a little fuel to the fire, Santi Cazorla was recruited from Málaga last summer. 


Bayern München vs. Real Madrid

A pairing of Bayern and Real Madrid would be great, not only for the fans, but also for soccer overall. These two have had some classic matchups in the past, including an epic clash decided by penalty kicks in the UEFA semifinals. 

These teams being paired up in the knockout stage would be great for the fans, as these two teams have put on great matches in the past. 


Manchester United vs. Celtic FC

Celtic sneaking its way into the knockout stage was a surprise to everyone. It placed second in Group G winning three, losing two and drawing one time. Celtic played some very close matches, ending the group stage with a plus-one scoring differential over its opponents. 

Manchester United clinching the top spot in Group H wasn't as surprising. It won four games and lost two in the group stage, and scored three more goals than it allowed. 

The English Manchester club taking on the Scottish Celtic club would be a great matchup for Champions League fans. The surprise Celtic club taking on the powerhouse of Manchester United has great potential for an excellent match. 

Who doesn't like a David and Goliath matchup every once in a while? 


What matches are you hoping to see in the knockout stage?