The draw for the next round has finally been made, and already the expectations are high ahead of the Champions League’s return in February. There are a host of high-quality fixtures that have been lined up, and some of them could see disastrous results for the English sides.
All four English sides managed to get through their group stages, but only Manchester City and Liverpool were able to win their groups. Group winners are supposedly meant to get a kinder draw in the next round, but that wasn’t exactly the case for the Premier League outfits. But, will we see all of the English sides make it through to the quarterfinals again this season?
The runaway Premier League leaders have been handed a tricky tie against Atletico Madrid in the next round. They will have the luxury of playing their second leg back at Anfield however. It will also be an emotional night for the club as they make their return to the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium for the first time since lifting their sixth European Cup.
The Spanish side have prowess at the defensive end of the field, and they will try and make it as difficult as possible for Liverpool to break them down. In Joao Felix and Diego Costa, they also have prolific forwards that can take their chances on a breakaway. However, the form that Liverpool have been in over the past 18 months means that it is impossible to rule them out, and they will likely edge past Atletico after a very nervy first leg.
It will also be a trip to Madrid for the reigning Premier League champions as they face Real Madrid. Zinedine Zidane’s squad has been reshaped over the past number of months, but they are beginning to hit their form at the crucial moment of the season. They are locked at the top of La Liga with Barcelona, but this will be a difficult task for Madrid.
Manchester City have had their eyes on this competition ever since the takeover, and this could be their best chance to achieve the elusive success. They will get crucial players such as Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane back in time for this game, and that could be the decisive factor.
When the draw was made many fans may have thought that Tottenham got the easiest draw. However, RB Leipzig are no pushovers and Spurs will have to be at their very best to beat the Bundesliga leaders. Timo Werner is one of the most prolific strikers in world football, and the Tottenham defence will need to ensure that he doesn’t get a sniff.
The home leg will be crucial for Tottenham, and judging by Mourinho’s record at the New Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, it could be the factor that puts them on the path into the next round.
Frank Lampard would have been pleased to get through their Champions League group. They stuttered over the line in the end, and they were handed a tricky tie against Bayern Munich. The German side ran over Spurs twice in the group stages, and Robert Lewandowski is furthering his case as the best number nine in world football by scoring 30 goals before Christmas.
Phillippe Coutinho has added a new dimension to Bayern, and that could be the difference that sees them compete against the top teams on the continent. You would fear that Chelsea are in the most danger of being knocked out of the competition; unless they can rediscover their spirit from the 2012 Champions League final when they overcame Munich at the Allianz.