Previews, predictions for every UEFA Champions League last 16 match

0 Comments

Ah, the UEFA Champions League… we’ve missed you!

On Tuesday the knockout stages of Europe’s elite club competition resumes as the best 16 teams across the continent square off in eight two-legged affairs to decide who will make it to the quarterfinal and make it one step closer to the final in Berlin on June 6.

[ RELATED: Latest UCL news ]

Three Premier League, three Bundesliga and three La Liga sides dominate the field, as European giants collide left, and right.

[ RELATED: UCL schedule ]

Below is a brief summary of the chances of each team, plus the predictions of PST’s motley crew, while the team playing at home in the first leg is listed first. Enjoy!

Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Bayern Munich
First leg: Feb. 17
Second leg: March 11

Bayern are the heavy favorites in this one as war-torn Shakhtar are being forced to play 750 miles away from their home city of Donetsk which is currently controlled by pro-Russian rebels. Pep Guardiola’s Bayern will be eager to return from Lviv with a healthy lead after the first leg, which is highly likely as Shakhtar have just had two months off for the winter break in the Ukrainian Premier League. Since losing to Wolfsburg last month, Bayern have got themselves back on track. Expect them to advance to the last eight of the UCL. We all do.

Joe Prince-Wright – Bayern Munich
Nick Mendola – Bayern Munich
Kyle Bonn – Bayern Munich
Andy Edwards – Bayern Munich
Kyle Lynch – Bayern Munich
Duncan Day – Bayern Munich

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Chelsea
First leg: Feb. 17
Second leg: March 11

source:
Will things kick off between Chelsea, PSG again?

Tough one to call this. Despite Chelsea’s dominance thus far in the Premier League, they still have the odd stinker of a performance here and there (see: Bradford City in the FA Cup, Maribor away in the UCL, etc.) That said, Chelsea have improved drastically since last season when a last-gasp Demba Ba goal saw them knock out PSG at the quarterfinal stage. Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas will be the difference, as a depleted PSG squad led by the ageing Zlatan Ibrahimovic will look to keep things tight in the first leg. Clean sweep from us.

Joe Prince-Wright – Chelsea
Nick Mendola – Chelsea
Kyle Bonn – Chelsea
Andy Edwards – Chelsea
Kyle Lynch – Chelsea
Duncan Day – Chelsea

Arsenal vs. Monaco
First leg: Feb. 25
Second leg: March 17

The Gunners will begin this match up as the favorites but if they don’t secure a convincing win at the Emirates in the first leg, it will be a tricky test in Monaco in March. Arsene Wenger’s old team conceded just one goal during the group stage and won Group C. That said, Arsenal will fancy their chances of advancing to the last eight, but Mendola doesn’t see it that way…

Joe Prince-Wright – Arsenal
Nick Mendola – Monaco
Kyle Bonn – Arsenal
Andy Edwards – Arsenal
Kyle Lynch – Arsenal
Duncan Day – Arsenal

Manchester City vs. Barcelona
First leg: Feb. 24
Second leg: March 18

source: Getty Images
Will Kompany get the better of Messi?

Barca humbled Man City last season in the last 16, and the duo have been paired up once again. Despite winning two Premier League titles in the last three seasons, this is only the second time the Citizens have qualified for the knockout rounds of the UCL. As for Barca, Luis Enrique’s boys have stepped things up after the winter break with Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi ripping teams apart. City will need Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany to be at their best if they’re going to cause an upset. Can the reigning PL champs reach the last eight? I think they can and so does Duncan.

Joe Prince-Wright – Manchester City
Nick Mendola – Barcelona
Kyle Bonn – Barcelona
Andy Edwards – Barcelona
Kyle Lynch – Barcelona
Duncan Day – Manchester City

Juventus vs. Borussia Dortmund
First leg: Feb. 24
Second leg: March 18

Despite winning Group D, we’ve all heard about Dortmund’s incredible struggle against relegation in the Bundesliga. Juve snuck through to the last 16 by one point after a dodgy group stage campaign but the reigning Italian champions will fancy their chances against a beleaguered BVB outfit. On their day Jurgen Klopp’s boys can beat anyone, this game could go either way.

Joe Prince-Wright – Borussia Dortmund
Nick Mendola – Juventus
Kyle Bonn – Juventus
Andy Edwards – Juventus
Kyle Lynch – Borussia Dortmund
Duncan Day – Juventus

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Atletico Madrid
First leg: Feb. 25
Second leg: March 17

Last season’s runner up Atletico are the clear favorites against German upstarts Bayer Leverkusen. Atletico have reinvented themselves after Diego Costa, Filipe Luis and Thibaut Courtois left in the summer for Chelsea, but Diego Simeone’s side still possess the same tenacity and incredible quality which saw them come so close to winning it all last year. As for Bayer, the 2001 runners up let in just four goals in the group stages and will look to keep things tight and grab a vital advantage in the first leg. Atleti to make the last eight.

Joe Prince-Wright – Atletico Madrid
Nick Mendola – Atletico Madrid
Kyle Bonn – Atletico Madrid
Andy Edwards – Atletico Madrid
Kyle Lynch – Atletico Madrid
Duncan Day – Atletico Madrid

Schalke vs. Real Madrid
First leg: Feb. 18
Second leg: March 10

source: AP
Will Real Madrid win back-to-back UCL trophies?

The defending champions romped through the group stage and despite a recent wobble in La Liga, expect Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. to demolish Schalke. Roberto Di Matteo has done a really decent job since taking over in Gelsenkirchen, but the challenge of knocking out Carlo Ancelotti’s glut of superstars will prove too much.

Joe Prince-Wright – Real Madrid
Nick Mendola – Real Madrid
Kyle Bonn – Real Madrid
Andy Edwards – Real Madrid
Kyle Lynch – Real Madrid
Duncan Day – Real Madrid

Basel vs. FC Porto
First leg: Feb. 18
Second leg: March 10

Two of the smaller teams left in the competition, but Porto have plenty of pedigree in the UCL after Mourinho led them to success in 2004. Porto smashed home 16 goals in their six group games and were unbeaten to top Group H, while Basel beat out Liverpool to second spot in Group B to set up this encounter. Porto are the heavy favorites but there’s just something about Basel, as you can see from our picks.

Joe Prince-Wright – Basel
Nick Mendola – FC Porto
Kyle Bonn – Basel
Andy Edwards – Basel
Kyle Lynch – Basel
Duncan Day – FC Porto