After two months of inactivity, the UEFA Champions League is finally back with its longed-for round of 16. This year, we will have very interesting matchups with teams trying to upset the big favorites and others trying to make a statement and sign their names in the contender list.
A big amount of things can change in the span of two months; if you thought back in December that certain team couldn’t get a win to save its life now is time to change your mind, because even though some of them look weaker in the preview, this is football and anything can happen. So, if you’re looking for the best analysis of these next two weeks -four games this one and the rest the next- here in MindBrews you will definitely find it.
Roma vs. Porto
We start off the first week of the round of 16 with arguably the closest leg of the entire round –alongside with Bayern-Liverpool. Roma and Porto are two teams which despite the fact they haven’t been very relevant lately (sure, Roma got into the semis last season, but that doesn’t mean it’s something they do very often), they are two squads with nothing to lose.
Porto is currently leading the Primeira Liga while Roma is not even in Champions League spots in the Serie A right now. These two teams know they have an amazing opportunity to get to quarter-finals, so this pairing appears to be one not to miss.
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester United
This will be said a lot during this article as you noticed above and we don’t know what tricks you will pull, but this game is a must-see. PSG is trying to finally win the Champions but this time they won’t count with Neymar – out for at least two months- and they will face a team with a new shape, inspired and full of desire to relive the old glories.
If you don’t know PSG, you have to know that the Parisians have no competition in their domestic league, as they currently standing at the top spot of the leaderboard with over 10 points of advantage on its closest hunter. On the other side, Manchester is recovering from a torturing beginning of the season with Jose Mourinho. Now with the club-legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Red Devils are intending to enter the next Champions League while chasing the top spots.
Tottenham vs. Borussia Dortmund
Can we all agree that this round of 16 is the best in years? Yes, definitely. Here we have another electrifying matchup with the likes of Tottenham and Dortmund. The Spurs faced Dortmund last season and beat them in both encounters with Harry Kane at a great level, but this year the German team has improved its level dramatically.
Tottenham is currently sat on the 3rd spot of Premier League, chasing both Liverpool and Manchester City. Dortmund, on the other hand, is leading the Bundesliga, displaying a great football, smashing rivals week after week, so this is going to be a very entertaining showdown.
Ajax vs. Real Madrid
Although Ajax lost the chance to classify as the top-seeded of its zone, they had a marvelous round of groups, playing good games combining experience and youth. Meanwhile, Real Madrid went through a crisis that got Julen Lopetegui fired from his job as Los Blancos manager. Eventually, they put it together and land onto this round first in their group.
Real Madrid will play at Amsterdam inspired, as they recently tied with Barcelona in Camp Nou and defeated Atletico de Madrid at Wanda Metropolitano in a great fashion, making a statement and telling Ajax they have to make an extra effort in order to get the victory. Ajax will try to shock everybody by defeating the current champion of the tournament with their outstanding youngsters.