Champions League draw: Man City, Real Madrid get favourable ties

Last Updated on December 18, 2023 by admin

The stage is set for an electrifying showdown as the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 draw has unfolded, revealing gripping matchups and potential twists in the pursuit of European football’s most coveted prize.

Defending champions Manchester City are poised to face FC Copenhagen in what promises to be an intense clash. Copenhagen, despite being the lowest-ranked side left in the competition, stunned observers with a memorable victory over Manchester United en route to securing a commendable second-place finish in Group A.

The draw also sets the stage for a compelling encounter between 14-time winners Real Madrid and RB Leipzig. However, Madrid faces the challenge with a cloud of injury concerns looming overhead. The recent blow of defender David Alaba’s ACL injury has added to their woes, leaving uncertainty about whether they will seek a replacement in the upcoming January transfer window.

Emilio Butragueño, the club’s director of institutional relations, expressed the club’s predicament, acknowledging the setbacks while maintaining confidence in the team’s resilience. Despite significant injuries to key players like Courtois, Militão, and now Alaba, Madrid remains steadfast in their resolve to navigate through this challenging phase.

As the draw unfolded, other tantalizing matchups emerged. Barcelona is set to clash with Napoli, two clubs intricately connected to the legacy of the late Argentine legend Diego Maradona. The fixture between Borussia Dortmund and PSV Eindhoven promises a showdown between American stars Ricardo Pepi, Sergiño Dest, and Giovanni Reyna, who will face off as international teammates.

Arsenal, making their first appearance in the round of 16 since 2016-17, have a tough test ahead against two-time winners FC Porto. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich, a force to be reckoned with, will take on Lazio in what is expected to be a compelling contest.

2024 UEFA champions league
The 2024 final will be held at Wembley. Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain, runners-up in Group F, have been pitted against Spanish side Real Sociedad, adding further intrigue to the knockout stages.

The round of 16 will kick off with group winners hosting the first-leg matches on February 13, 14, 20, and 21. The return legs are scheduled for March 5, 6, 12, and 13, promising nail-biting encounters as teams vie for a spot in the quarterfinals.

This season marks the conclusion of the traditional format before a significant shift to a 36-team competition with a revamped knockout bracket based primarily on final positions. The grand finale is slated to take place on June 1 at Wembley Stadium in London, England, promising an exhilarating climax to this chapter of European football history. Fans can anticipate thrilling clashes, unexpected turns, and the relentless pursuit of Champions League glory as the journey unfolds.

Full UCL round-of-16 draw
Porto (Portugal) vs. Arsenal (England)
Napoli (Italy) vs. Barcelona (Spain)
Paris Saint-Germain (France) vs. Real Sociedad (Spain)
Inter Milan (Italy) vs. Atletico Madrid (Spain)
PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) vs. Borussia Dortmund (Germany)
Lazio (Italy) vs. Bayern Munich (Germany)
Copenhagen (Denmark) vs. Manchester City (England)
RB Leipzig (Germany) vs. Real Madrid (Spain)

 

This article was originally published on: ESPN