Monday’s Champions League Draw determined the eight, first-round knockout stage matchups, with the first leg of each clash coming in February.
UEFA seeded the eight group stage winners, meaning they couldn’t play each other in the Round of 16. That suited top contestants like defending champion Bayern Munich, Premier League champion Liverpool, Italian champion Juventus, La Liga winner Real Madrid, PSG, and others.
Still, with only 16 of Europe’s best teams left in the Champions League, there were bound to be some tough matchups. The clash between Barcelona and PSG stands out as a particularly striking example.
The clash will pit superstars Lionel Messi and Neymar against each other, with one of them destined for an early knockout. While this easily could have passed for a Champions League semifinal tilt, PSG stands as the clear favorite. The French side is a +1100 pick to earn the tournament, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, while Barcelona sits at +1800, as this rough starting parting no doubt diminishes their possibilities.
Defending champions Bayern Munich face a more typical Round of 16 challenge versus Lazio. The Italian side reached the knockout phase of the Champions League for the first time since the 1999-2000 season and would need a miracle to outplay the German juggernaut over two legs. Bayern stands as the +260 favorite to collect the Champions League, while Lazio (+10000) faces some of the longest odds in the field.
Other matchups in the Round of 16 include Liverpool taking on RB Leipzig, Juventus squaring off versus Porto, and Manchester City matching up with German side Borussia Monchengladbach.
In total, Germany and Spain led the way into the Champions League knockout stages, with each country qualifying four teams. England and Italy each boast three teams in the round of 16, while one club each qualified from France and Portugal.