Football

Way Too Early Champions League Predictions For Last 16 Ties

Way Too Early Champions League Predictions For Last 16 Ties

The draw for the last 16 of the Champions League has been made, and we have been handed some absolutely mouth-watering ties.

While the first legs will not take place until mid-February, we can already look ahead and try and predict who might come out on top. Of course, much can change over the coming two months. Players may change clubs, injuries could have an impact, or certain mangers may have left their post.

While it is definitely too early, and some of these could look ridiculous in the future, here are some Champions League last 16 predictions.

Champions League Predictions:

Schalke vs Manchester City

Manchester City did not have things all their own way during the group stage, coming away with only one point from their two meetings with Lyon. Despite this, they should be viewed as strong favourites in this tie.

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Schalke emerged from what was probably the weakest group in the competition, finishing second behind Porto on 11 points. They have some decent players including Naldo and Sebastien Rudy, but it would be a massive shock were they to advance to the quarter finals.

Verdict: Manchester City

Atletico Madrid vs Juventus

Ronaldo will return to Madrid in February, although it will be to his former cross city rivals Atletico. Atletico Madrid finished behind Borussia Dortmund in their group due to their head-to-head record. They played reasonably well throughout, apart from the 4-0 loss in Germany.

Their defensive solidity will be key against a Juventus side full of attacking talent, much of which was unconvincing during the group stage. Juve suffered two bad defeats at the hands of Manchester United and Young Boys, and their own defensive abilities looked to have diminished in recent times.

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I fancy to Atletico to eek out a win here, but much depends on the impact of Ronaldo who has scored only one goal in this year's competition.

Verdict: Atletico Madrid

Manchester United vs PSG

Very few of the seeded teams would have feared coming up against this version of Manchester United, and PSG would certainly be included amongst that group. They have the attacking talent to hurt any team, and Neymar and co are likely rubbing their hands at the thought of coming up against a defensive combo of Victor Lindlof and Chris Smalling.

Of course much can change between now and February, with United looking increasingly likely to sign a defender in the January window. Who knows, we might also finally see a change of manager? It will take a remarkable reversal in fortunes to see United advancing beyond this stage however, regardless of any PSG mental frailties.

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Verdict: PSG

Spurs vs Borussia Dortmund

This should be an incredible tie, featuring two attacking and well-coached teams. Dortmund have been in incredible form this season, looking at their strongest since the peak of the Jurgen Klopp era. They currently lead the Bundesliga by nine points, and new boss Lucien Favre has them playing incredible football at the moment.

Spurs are enjoying a great start to the season of their own, even if they did just about scrape through their Champions League group. The midfield battle will be key in this match-up, with Spurs going to have to contain the trio of Damien Delaney, Alex Witsel and Marco Reus.

Should they do that, they have every chance of coming out on top. This Dortmund team does concede goals, and Spurs will fancy their chances of scoring a few over the two games. This should be a high-scoring tie, which will probably better suit the German side.

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This will be incredibly tight, but Dortmund should just about shade it.

Verdict: Borussia Dortmund

Lyon vs Barcelona

Lyon performed incredibly well against Manchester City in the group stage, but were somewhat unconvincing in their other matches. They have attacking talent in Memphis Depay and Nabil Fekir, but it is hard to see them advancing beyond this stage.

This is especially true when you consider the current form of Lionel Messi, who seems to be a man on a mission at the moment. Barcelona will also have a bit of redemption on their minds, having meekly exited the competition at the hands of Roma last year.

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They won't allow complacency to set in this time, and should see off this challenge fairly comfortably.

Verdict: Barcelona

Roma vs Porto

Porto have been the surprise package of this year's competition, winning 16/18 available points in their group. That achievement does come with the caveat of this being the weakest group, but it still cannot be ignored.

Roma have endured a fairy miserable start to their Serie A campaign, and they were not much more convincing in Europe. They lost to Viktoria Plzen, and were lucky to defeat 10-man CSKA Moscow. Their form could shift with what seems like an inevitable change of manager over the coming weeks, but Porto remain favourites for the moment.

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Verdict: Porto

Ajax vs Real Madrid

What would Ajax give for this match to be played right now? The Dutch side have been in terrific form this season, with this looking like their strongest team in the best part of two decades. They probably should have beaten Bayern Munich in the final game, which would have seen them top the group. Madrid are also in incredibly poor form at the moment, and it is difficult to see them not being any better in February.

Hanging on to young prodigies Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt in the January transfer window will be key to their chances of eliminating the defending champions, but they are likely to remain until the end of the season.

Real Madrid, for all of their problems, topped their group and are only five points behind Barcelona in La Liga. It would not be surprising to see them find their form very soon, and that will not be good news for Ajax.

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Verdict: Real Madrid

Liverpool vs Bayern Munich

This one is the tie of the round. Liverpool will definitely have been the team that the seeded clubs will want to have avoided, despite their relative struggles in the Champions League. Their league form has been astonishing, with 45 points gathered from their opening 17 games.

Bayern Munich meanwhile no longer seem to be the formidable force they once were, sitting nine points behind Dortmund in the Bundeliga. A number of their big names seem past their best, even if they do have some very interesting young players emerging.

Jurgen Klopp will relish the opportunity to take on his old rivals, and Liverpool usually step up their game even further against top opponents. Bayern Munich's big game experience could be vital, but Liverpool should be favourites entering the tie.

Verdict: Liverpool

SEE ALSO: Just Watching Andy Robertson Play Made Jose Mourinho Tired

Gary Connaughton

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