Big Games to Watch on UEFA Champions League Round of 16
It’s amazing how only a few months can change a football club’s fortunes.
The Champions League returns with its last 16 teams. The round finds familiar favorites scrambling to rebuild and outsiders riding a wave of confidence. Here’s what to expect from the hottest action.
Ajax vs. Real Madrid
Real Madrid with Cristiano Ronaldo was a team capable of winning four Champions League trophies in five years.
Without Ronaldo, Real is a club adrift. Los Blancos keep hoping against hope for a suitable replacement.
At first glance, their opponents are one of the tournament’s minions. But don’t mistake Ajax’s status for lack of quality.
The Dutch side reached the Europa League final two years ago. That squad is mostly intact and contains some of the most talented youngsters across Europe.
Despite their lack of form, Real are favorites not having lost a two-legged tie since 2015. Their mission is unlikely to be easy, but we can still see Solari’s side slipping through to the next round.
How will Real Madrid perform this time without Ronaldo in Champions League’s last 16 will be a treat to watch, especially with Ajax being their first matchup.
Tottenham vs. Borussia Dortmund
Spurs and Dortmund are two of the most popular teams in Europe for neutral supporters. Where their rivals have invested hundreds of millions of Euros, these two clubs have had to rely on good scouting and sensible politics.
Tottenham will be without their talismanic number 10, Harry Kane. His injury keeps him sidelined until March. It could be enough to give Dortmund the edge.
The Germans have had an exciting season. They lead the Bundesliga, in front of perennial rivals, Bayern. Each of the members of their offensive trio of Sancho, Alcacer, and Reus have played great.
With or without Kane, both teams are evenly matched, with Dortmund emerging as slight favorites.
Liverpool vs. Bayern Munchen
In UEFA Champions League last 16, we have Liverpool facing Bayern. Their first match in this stage will be on February 19.
Last season, Liverpool were forced to settle for a runners-up medal. This season they take on the challenge with an improved squad and augmented morale.
Bayern’s men are no slouches themselves, of course. But with a squad getting on in age and lacking their famous single-mindedness desire to win, they could well be in trouble.
Liverpool is the front-runner provided they remain injury free. Bayern’s players are experts of the Champions League, but we cannot ignore their recent dip in form.
There’s one thing that we can always bank on the Champions League to provide, and that’s excitement.
As things stand, 2019 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 is unlikely to disappoint.
Do you think you have an idea which teams will make it to the top? Check out our UEFA Champions League December Rankings to see if you’re on the right track!
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