After a months-long break, the UEFA Champions League is back, and Europe’s best teams will once again face each other in the Round of 16. Following an interesting group stage part of the tournament, 16 teams remain in the competition, vying for the trophy. To advance to the Quarter Finals, teams will need to win over two legs. Whichever team racks up a greater aggregate score will advance to the next round. If they end up two-times tied, then they will either play extra time followed by penalties, or the team which scored the most away goals will advance. Either way, teams have two games to prove their worth so that they can advance to the next round. This Round of 16 is sure to have some interesting upsets.
RB Leipzig (Germany) vs. Liverpool FC (England)
First leg: Liverpool wins 2–0
Liverpool fans will be pleased with this result as their recent run of form made soccer pundits worried that Liverpool may not be favorites entering this fixture. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, they played in a “neutral” venue. However, Leipzig was considered the “home” side for this match. This means that Liverpool has two away goals. It looks like if Liverpool can hold off Leipzig in the second leg, we will be seeing Liverpool back in the Quarter Finals. Although Liverpool wasn’t extremely convincing, they did win, which places them comfortably in the next leg if all continues to go well.
FC Barcelona (Spain) vs. Paris St. Germain (France)
First Leg: PSG wins 4–1
PSG put this game away with a fabulous Kylian Mbappe hat trick, almost certainly guaranteeing PSG’s appearance in the next round of the Champions League. Under new manager Mauricio Pochettino, PSG are strong favorites to win this tournament. After reaching the final last season, and now playing under a manager who took an average Spurs to the final, PSG fans should be hopeful for their chances this season. If Barcelona doesn’t pull off an amazing comeback, PSG should find themselves in the next round.
Sevilla (Spain) vs. Dortmund (Germany)
First Leg: Dortmund wins 3–2
After a slim win by Dortmund, Sevilla will come out swinging next leg. After winning the Europa League last season, Sevilla finds themselves in Europe’s premier soccer tournament. Sevilla isn't out of this competition just yet; however, with Dortmund scoring three away goals, Sevilla will need to really improve in the next leg. With some luck, Sevilla might be able to advance—however, with Dortmund’s strong squad, it looks unlikely.
FC Porto (Portugal) vs. Juventus (Italy)
First Leg: Porto wins 2–1
After an extremely amazing underdog performance by Porto in the first leg, Andrea Pirlo’s first time as a professional manager for Juventus looks extremely shaky. The Juventus squad underperformed as Porto took away an unlikely victory. With Ronaldo entering his last few seasons at the top, him and the rest of the Juventus squad will be hungry to win the Champions League while Ronaldo is still with them. With Porto drawing first blood with this first win, Juventus will be lucky to make it out of this Round of 16 to the next round. However, with their strong squad, I expect Juventus to bring it back.
With plenty of games to go in this Round of 16, fans of the tournament will be happy to see that underdogs are overperforming. As teams look to win the trophy, they should aim for consistency, avoid injuries, and proper squad planning. Through those steps, teams can look to win the trophy.