What You Can Expect from the Champions League Draw

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What You Can Expect from the Champions League Draw
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Now that the Champions League Group Stage has ended, there are 16 sides remaining who are each looking to become the champions of Europe.

In case you are unaware of how the eight matchups look, here is a list of what's in store for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

Lyon vs. Real Madrid

Manchester United vs. AC Milan

FC Porto vs. Arsenal

Bayern Munich vs. Fiorentina

VfB Stuttgart vs. FC Barcelona

Olympiacos vs. Bordeaux

Inter Milan vs. Chelsea

CSKA Moscow vs. Sevilla

Now that you have seen the list of the matchups in the Round of 16 in the Champions League, here is my take on what are the most compelling matchups, what potential upsets could exist, and who will advance onto the quarterfinals.

 

Lyon vs. Real Madrid

After getting their way through Group C, Real Madrid will go against French giant Lyon in their Round of 16 matchup.

Everything has gone according to plan in the Champions League this year for Real Madrid, who, after dishing out record amounts of cash at players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaká this summer, they will look to advance further in the Champions League.

Meanwhile for Lyon, they finished second in Group E and have faced the winners of the Champions League in the Round of 16 for two straight seasons in Manchester United and Barcelona going into this matchup, and they will have to do well against Real Madrid, who are hosting the final this year in the Bernabéu.

This matchup is a compelling matchup between two quality sides, and Lyon will look to advance out of the Round of 16 for the first time since 2006.

Finally, Lyon will try to advance, but Real Madrid will be determined to win, and they will advance due to their strong play at the Bernabéu in the second leg.

 

Manchester United vs. AC Milan

After winning Group B with ease, Manchester United will play against Champions League rival AC Milan in an extremely compelling matchup.

United will face Milan in the Champions League for the fifth time in the knockout round in their history but have yet to advance against the Italian giants.

United's latest failure was in the 2007 Champions League semifinals, where Milan were able to advance 5-3 after a 3-0 win at the San Siro, despite United winning the first leg by a 3-2 score at Old Trafford.

Meanwhile for Milan, they will continue to build upon what has been a good Champions League campaign so far, as Milan were able to beat Real Madrid in the Bernabéu and Marseille in the Velodrome.

Milan will also have former Manchester United legend David Beckham on their side due to Beckham's loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy, and this matchup will be Beckham's first return to the Theatre of Dreams since he left to Real Madrid in 2003.

Finally, history might not be on their side, but I see Manchester United advancing due to strong play in the second leg at Old Trafford, and AC Milan will be eliminated from the Champions League.

 

FC Porto vs. Arsenal

After both sides easily advanced in Groups D and H, respectively, Porto and Arsenal will meet again after facing each other in Group Stage of last season's Champions League.

During the Champions League last season, both sides won at their home stadiums, and Porto won Group G by one point over the Gunners.

Anyway, this matchup will be very interesting to watch due to each side's record in the Champions League at their home stadium as it will be interesting to see if Arsenal will become the second ever English side to win in Porto's Estádio do Dragão, or if Porto will be able to make up from their 4-0 humiliating loss in London.

In this matchup, I expect Arsenal to get through as they will be able to get a key away goal in the first leg, and they will wrap it up back in the Arsenal Stadium during the second leg.

 

Bayern Munich vs. Fiorentina

After getting through Group A with a win in Juventus during Matchday Six, Bayern Munich will look to advance over Fiorentina, who were able to end Liverpool's dreams of advancing with a 1-0 win at home over Lyon in Matchday Five.

In this matchup, Bayern will look to get ahead in Munich during the first leg, and they will need a crucial away goal in the second leg if they are to advance onto the quarterfinals.

Meanwhile for Fiorentina, they will need to continue to play strong football and have a great game in the second leg if they are to advance.

Ultimately, I feel Bayern will advance due the skill of their squad and the fact that they have already had prior Champions League success in Italy against Juventus.

 

 

VfB Stuttgart vs. FC Barcelona

In one of the most one-sided matchups in memory of the Round of 16 in the Champions League, Spanish giants Barcelona will play against Stuttgart, who sneaked their way into the knockout stage by one point over Unirea Urziceni in Group G, and currently find themselves just one place away from the Bundesliga's relegation zone.

Despite having some problems with Russian Premier League champions Rubin Kazan in the Group Stage, they have an incredibly easy draw here, and it is almost certain that Barcelona will once again find their way into the quarterfinals in what could be a terrible beatdown.

 

Olympiacos vs. Bordeaux

In one of the better matchups of the Round of 16, Olympiacos will play against French and Group A Champion Bordeaux.

Olympiacos had a solid qualifying campaign in Group H, and due to their home stadium being the always intimidating Karaiskakis Stadium.

Meanwhile for Bordeaux, they have looked great so far in the Champions League this season, as they were able to make great work of Bayern Munich and Juventus in the group stage and appear to be a side that could make a deep run in the Champions League.

Due to this, Bordeaux should be able to advance to the quarterfinals despite losing in the Karaiskakis Stadium by playing well in the second leg at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.

 

Inter Milan vs. Chelsea

In another English vs. Italian matchup in the Champions League, Serie A champions Inter Milan will play against Chelsea, who were able to make great work of their opposition in Group D.

Inter had a tough time advancing in Group F, but by beating Rubin Kazan by a 2-0 score at the San Siro during Matchday Six, they were able to advance.

This matchup will also return former Chelsea manager José Mourinho to Stamford Bridge after he led Chelsea to two trips to the Champions League semifinal during his time at the Bridge and also won two Premier League titles for the Blues.

In the matchup, Chelsea will be able to get an away goal at the San Siro (where Milan have won once in the Champions League in the last year) and should take care of Inter at Stamford Bridge in the second leg as Chelsea should advance onto the quarterfinals.

 

CSKA Moscow vs. Sevilla

In the final matchup of the Champions League Round of 16, CSKA Moscow will play against Sevilla in a matchup of two sides that took completely separate roads on their way to this matchup.

For CSKA, it appeared it would be a stretch to advance to the knockout stage, but after two inspired performances against Manchester United, CSKA Moscow were able to beat Wolfsburg and Beşiktaş in their final two matchups to advance.

Meanwhile for Sevilla, they had an extremely easy group in Group G and will now have to face their first truly big test in the Champions League this season.

I think that an upset here will get CSKA Moscow onto the quarterfinal for the first time in their history, as their home advantage in the Luzhniki Stadium during the first leg will be enough for the Russian side to advance onto the quarterfinal, despite the suspensions to Alexei Berezutsky and Sergei Ignashevich due to taking a banned supplement in the Group Stage.

 

Finally, I will want to wish all 16 sides best of luck, as they have been able to get to this stage due to hard work and dedication; for each of these sides, it could be the year to win the Champions League final.

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