With the UEFA Champions League group stage complete, the Round of 16 is on the horizon as a handful of top-flight clubs prepare for the knockout stage.
Monday's draw set the stage for several intriguing matchups, but only two stand out above all the rest.
Manchester City vs. Barcelona and Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich are both guaranteed to produce plenty of fireworks. What's more, two contenders are sure to be heading home before the quarterfinal draw in March as a result.
With the Round of 16 matchups set, here we'll take a closer look at the upcoming fixtures as well as my early predictions for which eight squads will advance to the next round.
|Champions League Round of 16 Fixtures|
|Feb. 18||Bayer Leverkusen||Paris Saint-Germain||BayArena|
|Feb. 18||Manchester City||Barcelona||Etihad Stadium|
|Feb. 19||AC Milan||Atletico Madrid||San Siro|
|Feb. 19||Arsenal||Bayern Munich||Emirates Stadium|
|Feb. 25||Zenit St. Petersburg||Borussia Dortmund||Petrovski Stadium|
|Feb. 25||Olympiakos||Manchester United||Karaiskakis Stadium|
|Feb. 26||Galatasaray||Chelsea||Turk Telekom Arena|
|Feb. 26||Schalke 04||Real Madrid||Veltins Arena|
|March 11||Atletico Madrid||AC Milan||Vicente Calderon|
|March 11||Bayern Munich||Arsenal||Allianz Arena|
|March 12||Barcelona||Manchester City||Camp Nou|
|March 12||Paris Saint-Germain||Bayer Leverkusen||Parc des Princes|
|March 18||Chelsea||Galatasaray||Stamford Bridge|
|March 18||Real Madrid||Schalke 04||Santiago Bernabeu|
|March 19||Borussia Dortmund||Zenit St. Petersburg||Signal Iduna Park|
|March 19||Manchester United||Olympiakos||Old Trafford|
|Round of 16 Predictions|
|Paris Saint-Germain||Bayer Leverkusen||7-3|
|Atletico Madrid||AC Milan||4-1|
|Borussia Dortmund||Zenit St. Petersburg||5-2|
|Real Madrid||Schalke 04||6-2|
Barcelona Over Manchester City
While Manchester City have been one of the world's most explosive squads this season, the Citizens are sure to cool off against Barcelona, who are renowned for their ability to dominate possession and dictate tempo regardless of where they play.
Plus, with Lionel Messi set to return to the lineup early next year, Barca boast the firepower to finish in the final third and expose City's many flaws at the back.
Watch for Barca to dominate the ball, create high-percentage scoring chances and neutralize City's attack in both legs en route to another quarterfinal berth. Neymar is the X-factor for the reigning Spanish champions, and assuming he continues to take on a larger role, Gerardo Martino's squad is sure to be marching on to the last eight.
Bayern Munich Over Arsenal
In what's sure to be another thrilling and hard-fought matchup, Bayern Munich will battle Arsenal, who have been surprising thus far as the Premier League leaders through 16 matches.
But while the Gunners have played well over the first few months of the season, capitalizing on their chances and playing sound in front of goal, they lack the weapons Bayern boast. The reigning Champions League winners possess a wealth of individual talent, especially up front where Arsenal are lacking.
With FIFA Ballon d'Or finalist Franck Ribery leading the way, Bayern will likely be too explosive for Arsenal, who will be at a disadvantage playing the all-important second leg on the road in Munich.
Advancing certainly won't be easy for the German giants, but Arsenal's loss to Napoli, which cost them the top spot in Group F, is likely to haunt them until next year.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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