Down to 16 Teams: Champions League

Legia's Bartosz Bereszynski, centre, Michal Kopczynski, right, celebrate their victory during the Champions Leaguegroup stage soccer match between Legia Warsaw and Sporting Lisbon, at Stadion Wojska Polskiego, in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. (Alike Keplicz/AP Photo)

After six match days spanning across four months, the UEFA Champions league is down to the final 16 teams, as the best in Europe are ready for the fun to begin. Started in 1955, the Champions League is a yearly event where the top division clubs across Europe compete against each other, in what is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world and the most prestigious club competition in European football. The current champion is Real Madrid, and they are also the most successful club with 11 titles.

The round of 16 draw will take place this Monday in Nyon on UEFA.com, as the final 16 teams include the current champions, Real Madrid, and seven former champions. This is a loaded field, as the runner-ups are almost as good as the group winners.

Runner-ups in the group play include German powerhouse Bayern München, defending champions Real Madrid, French giants Paris Saint-Germain and English royalty Manchester City. Some of the group winners include Lionel Messi led Barcelona, Spanish stalwarts Atletico Madrid, defending premier league champions Leicester City and Italian dynamo Juventus.

The way the group of 16 draw works is that they make two pots: one of group winners and one of group runner-ups. No team can play a club from their former group or from their own association or country.  In the round of 16, teams will play a home-and-home and the team that has the better goal differential moves on.

Out of the 16 teams, the leading goal scorer in the competition is none other than Lionel Messi as he leads the way with an astonishing 10 goals. Barcelona is one of the prohibitive favorites to win the Champions League as their midfield and three forwards of Messi, Neymar and Suarez are the best in the field. Although they recently conceded the game tying goal in El Classico against Real Madrid, Barcelona has a great shot to take home another Champions League title.

Along with Barcelona, the teams with the best shot to win are Real Madrid, Bayern München and Atletico Madrid as each team possesses too many problems for opposing teams. 

Real Madrid, the champions, have Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema and they are able to score in massive amounts. Bayern has a world class midfield, an unbelievable goal scorer Robert Lewandowski and the best goal keeper in the world, Manuel Neuer. Atletico have French superstar Antoine Griezmann, a-defensive minded team and play in an arena which is seemingly impossible to win in.

The best way to end this article is with some bold predictions, as here are five to hold you over until the reveal this Monday. First off, Arsenal will get bounced in this round, in total Arsenal fashion. Secondly, Napoli will be the surprise team and defeat a German club getting to the round of eight. Third, PSG will play Juventus, as this will be the best match-up of the round. Fourth, Bayern will defeat either Leicester or Monaco by a margin of four or more goals, and lastly, out of the six total German and English teams, only three will make it to the next round.


Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at matthew.kren@uconn.edu.