The wait is over. The most coveted competition in World football, the richest prize in football resumes in February as 16 of the best teams in the world face each other in the Round of 16 Champions League fixtures for direct elimination of the UEFA Champions League.
Going by the form of teams of late, it would be pretty easy to expect Liverpool to progress in the competition and be the clear favourites to retain the Cup in June. Their form in the English Premier League is nothing short of spectacular. The current European Champions, led by Jürgen Klopp are breaking all imaginable records, having dropped just 2 points in the domestic campaign after more than 20 matches played. In the Group stages the Reds did falter against Napoli and were less impressive than the form they’ve shown in the Premier League, yet one cannot bet against them this season.
Their Round of 16 Champions League fixtures against Spanish team Atletico Club de Madrid, is considered as one of the most intriguing matches at this stage of the competition and one of 2 Anglo-Spanish clashes. In the other clash, English Champions face 13-time Champions League winners, Real Madrid. This is the most enticing and tough to call fixture in the Round of 16. Manchester City, have not hit top form in the English Premier League having lost touch with Liverpool at the top of the standings. Their ability to make positive runs in the Champions League fixtures has also been tested many times in the past, having been able to make the Champions League fixtures semi-final only once. On their end Real Madrid feel at home in this competition, being the only team to win the Champions League more than 10 times and the last team to have won the competition 3 times in succession, after Bayern Munich had done the same way back in the mid-1970’s. This clash is too close to call, but pundits are placing Manchester City as favourites to go through to the next KO stage.
For the first time in years, Italy will be represented by 3 teams in the Round of 16 of the competition. Italian Champions, Juventus have had their best run at the Group Stage winning 5 out of 6 matches, having drawn only away to Atletico Club the Madrid, when they lost a 2 goal winning margin at the very end. The Cinderella team in the Group stages is definitely Atalanta, the Italian team from Bergamo who are the first team in the story of the competition to go into the Knock-Out stage after having lost the 3 opening matches in their group. The Italian contingent can also rely on Napoli, who managed to secure second spot in their Group after having beaten European Champions Liverpool with a score of 2-0. The only Italian team to narrowly miss qualification are 3 time European Champions, Inter Milan who only managed a 1-1 draw against a depleted Barcellona side in the last encounter of the Group stages.
In the knock-out stages, Juventus will meet Olympic Lyon of France in a match that sees the Italian giants as firm favourites to go through to the Quarter Final stage. The team led by Maurizio Sarri will be trying to bring back the Champions League trophy to Turin after an absence of 24 years. Napoli on their part will face the mighty team from Barcellona, while Atalanta were handed a relatively favourable draw as they face Spanish team Valencia.
RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich will be representing Germany in the Knock-Out stages of this year’s competition. Leipzig, who have been the surprise leaders of the Bundesliga since being taken over by Bayern Munich have surprisingly won their group and will be facing Tottenham Hotspur. Borussia Dortmund, who last won the Cup in 1997, will be facing the might of Paris Saint Germain, while the German power house Bayern Munich will be travelling to London to face Chelsea as part of the Champions League fixtures.
The ‘Road to Istanbul’ starts here. On February 18th all eyes will be on the Champions League with the first 2 encounters of the Champions League Fixtures Knock-Out stages. The stage is set and there will be no looking back. IZISPORTS will bring you betting tips for all the fixtures. Manchester City, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, FC Barcellona and PSG are the top favourites to come on top in June. One cannot discard Real Madrid however as the Spanish giants have a knack of progressing into the competition and lifting the trophy when it matters. IZIBET is placing Manchester City as the outright favourite to lift the trophy with an odd set at 4.75, but things could change quickly in a competition where teams have won qualifications in the dying minutes of thrilling Champions League Fixtures. Whatever the outcome, we are preparing for an action-packed Champions League Fixtures programme.
The full list of Champions League fixtures for the Round of 16 can be found hereunder:
First Leg Return Leg
Borussia Dortmund v PSG 18/02/2020 11/03/2020
Atletico de Madrid v Liverpool 18/02/2020 11/03/2020
Atalanta v Valencia 19/02/2020 10/03/2020
Tottenham Hotspur v RB Leipzeg 19/02/2020 10/03/2020
Chelsea v Bayern Munich 25/02/2020 18/03/2020
Napoli v Barcellona 25/02/2020 18/03/2020
Real Madrid v Manchester City 26/02/2020 17/03/2020
Olympic de Lyon v Juventus 26/02/2020 17/03/2020
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