With the UEFA Champions League group stage in the books, only 16 clubs remain alive in the pursuit of the European Cup.
After Monday's draw, we now know the eight matchups that will kick off the knockout stage in February. The two most intriguing matchups will pit high-powered Manchester City up against Spanish giants Barcelona and Premier League-leading Arsenal against defending Champions League winners Bayern Munich.
Therefore, two world-class squads are guaranteed to be going home prior to the quarter-finals.
Without further ado, here's a look at the eight Round of 16 matchups, per UEFA.com:
|Home||Away||Leg No. 1||Leg No. 2|
|Bayer Leverkusen||Paris Saint-Germain||Feb. 18||March 12|
|Manchester City||Barcelona||Feb. 18||March 12|
|AC Milan||Atletico Madrid||Feb. 19||March 11|
|Arsenal||Bayern Munich||Feb. 19||March 11|
|Zenit St. Petersburg||Borussia Dortmund||Feb. 25||March 19|
|Olympiakos||Manchester United||Feb. 25||March 19|
|Galatasaray||Chelsea||Feb. 26||March 18|
|Schalke 04||Real Madrid||Feb. 26||March 18|
Manchester City vs. Barcelona
It doesn't get much better than this in the Round of 16. Both City and Barca are among the top offensive clubs on the planet and play an exciting brand of football that fans won't want to miss.
In addition to the quality and laundry list of individual talent on display, the high stakes will make for an unrivalled atmosphere. It will be very interesting to see how Barcelona fare right off the bat at Etihad Stadium in the first leg. City have played lights-out football there since the season began and have netted 35 goals there in eight league victories this season.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini has already fired the first shots in the wake of Monday's draw, per The Guardian's Jamie Jackson:
I think they will be very concerned. Not only because we beat Bayern Munich. They know Manchester City is a strong team and it will be difficult for them. Barcelona is not the team it was two years ago. We will see how they arrive in February.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi should be back in the Barca line-up by then, providing the Catalan powerhouse with a much-needed boost offensively.
Losing at this stage will be a major disappointment for either side, which only adds to the drama.
Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich
If there's a Round of 16 matchup with as much or more potential than City vs. Barca it's Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich.
Which marquee Round of 16 matchup are you most looking forward to?
The Gunners lead the Premier League through 16 weeks and boast tremendous talent across the pitch with Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud and Mesut Ozil combining with the sometimes forgotten Theo Walcott to create a formidable attack.
On the other side, Bayern boast a wealth of stars, including Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Mario Goetze. The German juggernaut won it all last year and are playing superb football again this season, leading the Bundesliga and winning five of six Champions League group matches to beat out Manchester City in Group D.
Neither side are strangers to the Champions League Round of 16 either, which should make for a riveting matchup.
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