Champions league holders – Real Madrid will have the battle of their lives as they have been paired with Paris Saint-Germain in the Round of 16 of the 2017/2018 UEFA Champions League competition.
The draw made based on two pots comprising eights teams each. Pot 1 was made up of the eight group winners and pot 2 the eight group runners-up.
Pot 1: Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Roma, Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester City, Besiktas, Tottenham
Pot 2: Basle, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus, Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk, Porto, Real Madrid
No two teams who played each other in the group stage could be drawn to play each other and teams from the same country were kept apart.
With the Premier League providing four group winners and Chelsea as a runner-up the permutations of possible opponent shrank considerably.
For example, we knew that Chelsea was going to draw one of Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, or Besiktas.
Juventus vs. Tottenham
This tie was one of the most likely outcomes.
There is a hard run of games coming Spurs’ way in the two weeks up to the middle of February – Manchester United (h), Liverpool (a), Arsenal (h), Juventus (a).
Basel vs. Manchester City
Along with Besiktas, Basel will be the biggest underdogs in the round of 16.
Porto vs. Liverpool
Liverpool fans will probably be pleased with the draw but Porto should not be taken for granted.
The Portuguese team finished second in a very competitive Champions League group with three wins, a draw and two losses.
Porto is also unbeaten in the domestic league play so far this season. The second leg at Anfield offers Liverpool a significant edge.
Sevilla vs. Manchester United
Jose Mourinho takes Manchester United to the city where he won his first European trophy in 2003 with Porto. Celtic was beaten 3-2 after extra time in the UEFA Cup Final.
Real Madrid vs. Paris Saint-Germain
This one is a meeting of soccer aristocracy and the nouveau riche. Look for the “Neymar-to-Real Madrid” to escalate over the next two months as Real Madrid launch a subversive media campaign to unsettle PSG.
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Roma
Roma dodged a bullet. There were 2 in 3 chances that it would be Bayern or Real.
As it is this pairing is one that both teams will be happy with and both will feel confident of a place in the last 8.
It is one of the situations where a possible path opens up for a team to fly under the radar and to eventually make it to the last 4.
Chelsea vs. Barcelona
Of all the possible pairings this was the most likely of all of them. There have been some classic matches between these two teams since the turn of the century and ten times they have played each other in the knock out stage.
The last meeting was in 2012 and Chelsea beat Barcelona and the odds in the semi-final and went on to win the Champions League.
Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas
Bayern Munich finished as runners-up to PSG in group play but received a more favorable draw.
What comes next?
The round of 16 first-leg games are scheduled for February 13/14 and 20/21. The return leg will be played at the home of the pot 1 teams on March 6/7 and 13/14.
Source: Bobby McMahon|| Forbes