The UEFA Champions League returns with the undiluted action of the round of 16 stages in February as all teams now know the foe they’ll have to beat to get to the last 8 of the competition.
The UCL round of 16 draws brought further league competition for the Premier League sides. It can be recalled that the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester United had to come up against Serie A sides who stood on their paths to qualification in one way or the other in the group stages of the UCL.
Well, the UCL round of 16 stage is perfectly set for a rivalry between the Premier League and the Bundesliga as three clubs each, from the two leagues will have to battle each other come February and March 2019 for a place in the quarter-finals of the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League.
The major fixture from the three is obviously Liverpool versus Bayern Munich, followed by Tottenham Hotspur versus Borussia Dortmund, and then Manchester City vs Schalke 04. Manchester United, on the other hand, will have to come up against an unfamiliar foe in PSG.
1. Liverpool vs Bayern Munich
Jurgen Klopp will be coming up against familiar foes in Bayern Munich considering how he battled against the Bundesliga giants in his time at Borussia Dortmund.
Bayern Munich have struggled in the Bundesliga this season while Liverpool are on fire in the Premier League. Regardless, February is still far, and a lot could happen before then. This is obviously one of the best clashes of the UCL round of 16 stages.
The two sides have met 7 times in European competitions. In those meetings, Bayern have won twice, Liverpool once, while the rest have ended in draws.
We look forward to a cracking game. Liverpool appear as favorites on paper with the high pressing game, speed, and energy in their ranks. However, experience could count for Bayern Munich who also have their array of stars. Our verdict is 50:50. Virgil Van Dijk’s absence in the first leg will be a big miss for the Reds and could count against them.
2. Tottenham Hotspur vs Borussia Dortmund
This could be described as a game of equals. Both sides are enjoying a good run of form presently, with Dortmund topping the Bundesliga while Spurs are third in the Premier League.
Both sides have met four times recently in European competitions with 2 wins apiece. Tottenham were the in-form side in last season’s UCL encounters as they won home and away.
However, Dortmund are in a better run of form thus making this game another very close one to call. We’ll go for a 50:50.
3. Manchester City vs Schalke 04
Schalke 04 have been struggling this season but still managed to seal a place in the UCL round of 16. However, the draw has not favored them as they’ll have to eliminate Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City to stand a chance of making it into the last 8.
Manchester City are the overwhelming favorites on paper and form and they could be described as one of the sides that were favored by the UEFA Champions League round of 16 draws.
Regardless, they still have some work to do here. Meanwhile, Schalke 04 can draw inspiration from how Lyon hassled Man City in the group stages of the competition.
Schalke 04 will be coming up against former player Leroy Sane. This is seemingly the easiest of the 3 games to call but anything can still happen in February. We’ll go for a 70-30 in Manchester City’s favor.
It’s majorly the Premier League versus the Bundesliga in the 2018/19 UCL round of 16. We wait to see the league sides that come out tops from all 3 games.