The UEFA Champions League last 16 has been full of drama. Villareal and Chelsea, after beating both Juventus and Lille respectively, join the six others in the next round of Europe’s elite competition.
Bayern Munich: The Bundesliga champions remain as one of the favourites for the competition after they thrash RB Salzburg in the second leg 7-1. The Austrian side somehow managed a draw in the first meeting, but an inspired Robert Lewandowski led a mauling to send Bayern through.
Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp’s men got through a tough Inter Milan side, despite the late scare at Anfield. The Reds are still battling in every trophy, but have a heritage in the Champions League and will be one of the teams to beat, if you want to win this.
Manchester City: The favourites for the trophy, despite not ever having won it. Pep Guardiola will be desperate to make last season’s final loss a thing of the past and finally win the cup the whole club wants the most.
Real Madrid: The Spanish giants hold the record for the most European Cups and not many will like to write them off after a sensational comeback against PSG in the last 16. Karim Benzema is on the form of his life and he doesn’t look like he is stopping anytime soon.
Benfica: Unfancied Benfica are on an upward curve under caretaker boss Nélson Veríssimo. Drawing on homegrown players, the Eagles have had their wings clipped in the league but, in Europe, they are capable of making the most of the extra space they get in the attacking third, particularly Darwin Nuñez. Of course, there are big hurdles to negotiate but the dream is alive. Benfica have lost five finals since last winning the competition in 1962, when Eusébio struck twice in a 5-3 triumph against Real Madrid.
Atletico Madrid: Diego Simeone’s team did what they do best against Manchester United and that is to frustrate their opponents and get a smash and grab. A 1-0 win at Old Trafford saw the Spanish side go through.
Villareal: Not many saw these getting through Juventus in the last 16, especially following the first leg, which they drew at home 2-2. However the Europa League champions shocked the Italian side with a 3-0 win tonight in Turin.
Chelsea: The Champions League holders are rightly among the favourites, however, their form has been up and down in recent months. The Blues have conceded just seven goals in 15 Champions League games since Tuchel’s arrival, three of them in their 3-3 draw with Zenit on Matchday 6.Will they save their best performances for Europe like they did last year?
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