UEFA’s Champions League has redeemed itself after a group draw that put too many of the top teams together, leaving groups of lesser for us all to bemoan.
Not so, however, with today’s draw for the Round of 16, which includes several tantalizing matchups.
None are better than Real Madrid-Manchester United. Feel free to get a little dizzy at the prospects.
What could possibly be better? Old rivals Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson, managers of the respective clubs. And there’s Wayne Rooney vs. old teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. Said Ferguson: “Well, it’s the tie of the round. It’s a great opportunity for our fans to see Cristiano again and also for me to meet up with José again – I’ll need to order some good wine!”
Other delicious matchups include Arsenal-Bayern Munich, and Barcelona-A.C. Milan.
Gunner boss Arsene Wenger could potentially save his job by beating the current Bundesliga leaders and gaining a quarterfinal spot in club soccer’s grandest competition.
Dortmund, so brilliant in continental play but a little less so in league action, gets an interesting matchup against Ukrainian Champions League darlings Shakhtar Donetsk.
Barcelona may be tempered in their enthusiasm for it all, given the medical crisis for manager Tito Vilanova.
The first legs are set for Feb. 12, 13, 19 or 20; the return legs are scheduled for March 5, 6, 19 or 20.
The complete draw is here:
- Galatasaray AŞ (TUR) v FC Schalke 04 (GER)
- Celtic FC (SCO) v Juventus (ITA)
- Arsenal FC (ENG) v FC Bayern München (GER)
- FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) v Borussia Dortmund (GER)
- AC Milan (ITA) v FC Barcelona (ESP)
- Real Madrid CF (ESP) v Manchester United FC (ENG)
- Valencia CF (ESP) v Paris Saint-Germain FC (FRA)
- FC Porto (POR) v Málaga CF (ESP)
Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.
[ MORE: Champions League standings ]
The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.
[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]
So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:
- A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
- A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
- A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
- A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
- A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
- A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B
[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]
There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.
The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?
With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.
[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]
Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.
Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.
Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.
Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.
Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).