The fixtures that is set to roll in February has already thrown up plenty of drama.
A mix-up in the initial draw on Monday meant that it had to be pulled down and redone some three hours later, with some clubs seeing huge changes as to who they are facing.
Bayern Munich being paired with Red Bull Salzburg was a lighter draw for Bayern Munich as compared to the initial one that saw them being paired against Atletico Madrid.
While Atletico struggled to qualify for the knockout stages, Diego Simeone’s side are a dangerous opponent, with their mix of defensive strength, use of the “dark arts” and threat on the break as they face Manchester United in the redraw.
Manchester United were initially paired with PSG, setting up the chance for supporters to both cheer on their own hero, and – in all likelihood – troll fans of the other star attacker in the coming weeks and months. The Messi – Ronaldo attention and brouhaha was short lived as the new draw popped up.
Salzburg, on the other hand, are the first Austrian club to reach this stage since Sturm Graz some 21 years ago, and are the least experienced side in the competition in terms of both age and European pedigree and this could potentially be the end of the road for them as they meet Bayern Munich who brushed Barca aside in the previous round.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side were then handed what was, along with Chelsea, their toughest possible opponent when they were drawn to take on Paris Saint-Germain after they went on to jubilate over the cancelled draw against Benfica. This means the one time tormentor, Lionel Messi will be back to possibly hunt them.
This platform will be a rehearsal grounds Mbappe who has been touted to move to Real Madrid.
Madrid legend Sergio Ramos will also return home for the first time in a high-stakes last-16 tie that will thrill neutrals, but that will eliminate one of the tournament favourites at a very early juncture. It is now 11 years since Pep Guardiola last won the Champions League, and the Manchester City boss says he will be judged on whether he lifts the trophy, despite all his domestic achievements at the Etihad Stadium.
He never won the competition in his three years at Bayern, and there are those who have questioned whether he can do it without Messi in his team.
See all fixtures below:
- Red Bull Salzburg vs Bayern Munich
- Sporting CP vs Manchester City
- Benfica vs Ajax
- Chelsea vs Lille
- Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United
- Villarreal vs Juventus
- Inter vs Liverpool
- PSG vs Real Madrid