Paris Saint-Germain – Barcelona
Listen, I’ll level with you – I did get pretty drunk this weekend. A trade-my-mate’s-watch-for-a-falafel kind of drunk. But even I’m pretty sure I didn’t drink enough to fall asleep for a month. I mean, seriously, how is this a round of sixteen fixture? Are you really telling me that one of PSG and Barça are going home before the quarters? All while Porto, Leverkusen and Sevilla have a decent chance of going through?
Benfica – Borussia Dortmund
There’s been a lot of talk about how Thomas Tuchel might just be the perfect replacement for Arsene Wenger at the Emirates. If you ignore the obvious flaw – i.e. why would he want to do that?! – it’s actually a pretty solid theory. Likes overstocking his side with young wingers? Check. Sells the few youngsters that do come good? Check. Unnecessarily throws away points at midtable sides? Check. All he needs to do now is lose a round of sixteen match in the Champions League, and he can waltz into Wenger’s office.
Real Madrid – Napoli
Jose Callejon has been in the news recently, since his current club takes on the European champions in the first knockout round. Last week he claimed that while Madrid were a big club, Napoli were on a good run and had a great chance to win the tie. It’s great to see this kind of story in the news, the returning striker coming to show his old club what they’re missing. It’s what makes football so great, and I’m sure Napoli will give Madrid a real game. No, I really do believe this will be an even match. No, of course I’m not being patronizing Jose. I’m sure you can win this match.
Prediction: 3-1 (No, Callejon won’t be the one that gets the consolation)
Bayern Munich – Arsenal
The world is such an uncertain place today. Wars in the Middle East and Africa, a drug-hating despot in the Philippines and Agent Orange in charge of the Greatest Country in the World™ – it’s a scary, messed-up world out there. Luckily, we will always have the comfort of Arsenal drawing Bayern Munich in the first knockout round. Ok, that’s an easy joke, but it’s getting to be so ridiculous that even Arsenal’s official social media accounts went for it!
Bayer Leverkusen – Atletico Madrid
Leverkusen really are an odd team. My German buddies tell me that they are good and deserve to be in the Champions League. Then again, they also think beer is a good substitute for milk – with cereal. Despite this glowing endorsement, Leverkusen in Europe conjures up just one memory for me. They lost 5-0 against a David Moyes-led Manchester United. At home. Against a midfield of Ryan Giggs and Phil Jones. Don’t tell me that it was years ago, no one gets over mental scarring like that.
Manchester City – Monaco
Ah, the battle of the billionaires. Although, while Sheikh Mansour is living it up in UAE, Dmitry Rybolovlev was to forced to pay out half his wealth a couple of years ago, in what was termed the most expensive divorce in the world. She got out just in time too, considering Russia just decriminalized domestic abuse. I wonder what Sheikh Mansour’s wives think about that. I guess what I’m saying is that the only way FIFA could’ve screwed up more, was by giving the 2022 World Cup to UAE. They got the 2018 decision spot on though.
Porto – Juventus
Now that we’ve moved passed the teams that actually have a chance at winning this thing, let’s get down to the dross. Oh, all right, so Juventus aren’t that bad. They do have an ageless goalkeeper, a phenomenal back line, an incredibly stable midfield, a free kick genius in Miralem Pjanic, and possibly the best striker on the planet in Higuain. But, can you honestly tell me you would put money on them winning the tournament? I didn’t think so.
Sevilla – Leicester City
I honestly completely forgot Leicester were still in this tournament. I remember thinking in December that they got really lucky by drawing Sevilla. It’s all gone a bit downhill since then. While Leicester’s form has plummeted faster than Donald Trump’s approval ratings, Sevilla are third in La Liga and were the first team to beat Real Madrid for months in January. All signs point to a comprehensive home win. Yet, I can’t shake the feeling that this is the Foxes’ comfort zone…