On Monday morning, UEFA completed the draw for the Champions League and Europa League round of 16.
There was a selection of excellent matchups in either competition. Fans can now see the routes to a possible final. Consequently, some of the larger teams are concerned about the difficulty of their task.
There was no repeat of the chaos that surrounded previous UEFA draws. Last year, there were mistakes about which team could play who, prompting a new team draw.
The playoff round of the Europa League knockout stage also returns. The teams in third place in the Champions League groups face the teams in second place in the Europa League groups. Despite the necessary casualties in the form of Champions League teams, there are titanic matches in this round of playoffs.
UEFA Champions League draw leaves great ties
Due to Monday’s draw, a replay of the 2022 Champions League final is impossible to miss. Liverpool and Real Madrid are two of the most prestigious names in European football.
Carlo Ancelotti beat Jurgen Klopp in Paris. Given the Reds’ poor domestic form, Liverpool’s best chance of success this term is in the Champions League.
How will a struggling Trent Alexander-Arnold deal with Vinicius Jr? Will Virgil van Dijk rediscover his best form to keep Karim Benzema quiet? There are tantalizing solo battles throughout the field.
Paris Saint-Germain will face Bayern Munich in the round of 16. This clash between two of the pre-tournament favorites is arguably the best of the round.
Both Bayern Munich and PSG are good enough to win the competition, but as a result of the draw, one of them will fall before the quarter-finals.
This is of particular interest to Manchester City, the best team in Europe. Pep Guardiola has an easy draw against RB Leipzig and knows that two from Real Madrid, Liverpool, PSG and Bayern Munich will leave for the next round.
Full draw for the UEFA Champions League round of 16:
AC Milan – Tottenham HotspurBorussia Dortmund – ChelseaEintracht Frankfurt – NapoliClub Brugge – Benfica Inter – PortoPSG – Bayern Munich Liverpool – Real MadridRB Leipzig – Manchester City
Which Europa League ties are fans excited about?
The Europa League play-off round hosted several teams from the old Champions League, so there are a lot of stars involved.
Manchester United are the only Premier League team involved and will face Barcelona.
This is the absolute choice of neckties. Consequently, there are many narratives at play.
Frenkie de Jong did not want to join Manchester United and fall out of the Europa League, and now he will face them in that same competition after Barcelona’s terrible performance in the Champions League group stage.
Another aspect comes when Erik ten Hag gets the chance to see how far his Manchester United team has progressed.
Their form in the Premier League has been impressive, so taking on Barcelona offers a test against one of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Juventus’ performance in the Champions League was also terrible, so they only finished level on points with Maccabi Haifa. They will face Nantes in the round of 16.
Ajax also fell after finishing third. They fought in a group containing Napoli, Liverpool and Glasgow Rangers. Erik ten Hag’s former club have struggled since he left and as a result will have a challenging draw against Union Berlin, a top-flight Bundesliga team.
Full UEFA Europa League knockout round play-off draw:
Barcelona – Manchester UnitedJuventus – NantesSporting CP – MidtjyllandShakhtar Donetsk – RennesAjax – Union BerlinBayer Leverkusen – MonacoSeville – PSV EindhovenRed Bull Salzburg – Rome
PHOTO: IMAGO / Moritz Müller