Last week, we saw the final round of games in the Champions League and the 16 teams that made it through by qualifying top and second in their group were finally known. While a number of teams had already confirmed their place in the knockout phase, a number clinched their spot on the final round of games.
Amongst them were Lille, Red Bull Salzburg, Atletico Madrid, Benfica and Villarreal, while Juventus pipped Chelsea to top spot in their group. Three teams finished the group stage with a 100% winning record, Bayern Munich, Ajax Amsterdam and Liverpool.
If you are going to have a bet on the outright winner market, then bet365 Sport still offers excellent odds on the competition as we head towards the knockout phase next year. You can also bet on individual games with extensive pre match and In Play betting available on them too.
If you are following the action from the United States, then BetRivers Sportsbook is a great choice for a wide selection of Champions League betting throughout the tournament.
Let\s learn a little more about how the draw panned out and what fixtures we have in store for us.
Champions League Round of 16 Draw
The draw took place on Monday this week (13th December) and it proved to be something of a shambles initially.
A mistake in the draw which meant that Manchester United were erroneously omitted from the group of teams that could potentially face Atletico Madrid, meant that the original draw was declared null and void just a short time after it was completed.
A new draw was scheduled to take place just a few hours later and this second draw resulted in the following set of fixtures.
The odds next to each team are the current Outright Winner odds on them winning the Champions League, not their odds to win the game. They were correct with bet365 Sport at the time of writing but may have changed in the meantime.
All ties in the knockout phase are played over two legs home and away, apart from the final.
Tuesday 15th February & Wednesday 9th March
- 1st Leg – Paris St Germain v Real Madrid
- 2nd Leg – Real Madrid v Paris St Germain
Paris St Germain’s odds of winning the trophy drifted a fair bit out to 8/1 after they drew Real Madrid (18/1) in the Round of 16. PSG were probably the one team from the second placed teams that nobody wanted to face, along with Chelsea, so it’s no surprise really that the odds for both these teams has tumbled.
PSG are the favourites to win the tie, but it should be noted that they haven’t been firing on all cylinders this season. Sure they are dominating in France, but given their squad that should always be the case, but their expensively assembled squad of superstars has yet to fully gel into a cohesive team as yet.
In contrast Real Madrid are topping the table in Spain and are still a real threat. They bounced back from a shock home loss to Sheriff Tiraspol to top their group comfortably and they have the experience in this competition to cause any team problems.
This is going to be a hugely interesting tie and I am not convinced now that PSG are the team that will come through it. However, a lot can happen between now and February.
- 1st Leg – Sporting Lisbon v Manchester City
- 2nd Leg – Manchester City v Sporting Lisbon
Sporting Lisbon (300/1) were not one of the favourites to lift this trophy and their odds have tumbled drastically after drawing Manchester City, who are the new 11/4 favourites to win the trophy with Bet365 Sport.
However, it would be foolish to write off the Portuguese side completely. They got the better of Borussia Dortmund in qualifying, so they are no mugs, and while they did come unstuck against Ajax, they have also beaten Benfica away from home in the Portuguese league of late.
It is also worth noting that the teams have met twice before, in the 2012 Europa League when after losing 1-0 in Portugal, Man City won the home leg 3-2 but were eliminated from the competition on away goals. That rule is no longer in play in the Champions League now but it is one that will give Lisbon hope.
That said, all things given, this should be a relatively comfortable tie for Manchester City to progress from if they don’t suffer one of their Champions League stumbles.
Wednesday 16th February & Tuesday 8th March
- 1st Leg – Red Bull Salzburg v Bayern Munich
- 2nd Leg – Bayern Munich v Red Bull Salzburg
Red Bull Salzburg (400/1) are the rank outsiders to win the trophy and it is not hard to see why. Not only are they the first Austrian team to reach this stage of the tournament in many years, they also face the second favourites to win the trophy, with Bayern Munich a 7/2 shot with bet365 Sport.
The Austrian side are a danger and did well to come through their group beating Sevilla and Wolfsburg to a place in the Round of 16, but they are going to be stepping up at least two levels, if not more when they take on the German Champions.
Bayern last won this trophy in 2020 and their form in this year’s tournament has been perfect with six wins from six. The German side will be confident of making that eight from eight against their Austrian opponents such is the gulf in quality between the two teams.
- 1st Leg – Inter Milan v Liverpool
- 2nd Leg – Liverpool v Inter Milan
Having already done the double over AC Milan this season, Liverpool (5/1) now face their city rivals Inter Milan (50/1) in the Round of 16, with the first leg in the San Siro. The Reds had a perfect 6 wins from 6 record in the Group Stages, the first English team to achieve the feat.
Inter came through their group in second place behind Real Madrid and while they are the Champions of Italy, their team has been weakened by a number of departures as the owners looked to balance the books. The net result is that this team isn’t as strong as the team Antonio Conte led to the title last year.
Given how competently Liverpool despatched Milan in the San Siro and at Anfield, despite going behind in both games, I don’t think the Reds will be unduly worried about returning to the city to face Inter and the English side will start as the favourites to progress from this tie.
Tuesday 22nd February & Wednesday 16th March
- 1st Leg – Chelsea v Lille
- 2nd Leg – Lille v Chelsea
The defending Champions Chelsea (7/1) won’t be too disappointed to have drawn Lille (250/1) as the French side were comfortably the weakest of all the teams that were seeded in the draw. That said, they have produced some big wins in recent times which Chelsea will have to be mindful about.
Currently, Thomas Tuchel’s team are undergoing something of an awkward spell in terms of form and in particular conceding goals. Although by February, you would expect Chelsea to be back firing on all cylinders in readiness for this tie.
Lille showed in their group that they are dangerous and have some quality attackers on the break who could cause Chelsea problems. However, in terms of quality, there is a huge gulf in class between the two teams and it would be a huge surprise if Chelsea don’t come through this comfortably.
- 1st Leg – Villarreal v Juventus
- 2nd Leg – Juventus v Villarreal
I don’t think either of these teams will be too disappointed at who they drew in the competition. Juventus (28/1) are certainly not the team they were a few years back as their struggles in Serie A and their 4-0 defeat away to Chelsea show.
Villarreal are always a tricky side and while they can create chances against most teams, a 150/1 price suggests that they are not amongst the front-runners for the trophy and that they are massive underdogs in this tie.
However, for me, if there is going to be a tie that has the potential for an upset, it is this one. Villarreal have shown that when they play well, they can be difficult for any opponent, and I think Juventus are susceptible when they play Spanish teams in particular.
Wednesday 23rd February & Tuesday 15th March
- 1st Leg – Atletico Madrid v Manchester United
- 2nd Leg – Manchester United v Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid (33/1) scraped through their group with a win away to FC Porto combined with AC Milan’s loss at home to Liverpool. That was a surprise given how well Diego Simeone’s team have done in this competition over the years, twice reaching the final.
They face a Manchester United team rated at 18/1 to win the trophy and to be honest, that seems a little short given the problems United have had this season. However, they do have a squad loaded with quality, but this is a very tricky fixture for them.
For me, this fixture is a 50/50 game and I can’t really make a big case for either side coming through this comfortably and I reckon the likelihood is we could have a tie here that may need extra time or even penalties to decide the winner based on current form.
- 1st Leg – Benfica v Ajax Amsterdam
- 2nd Leg – Ajax Amsterdam v Benfica
Benfica pipped Barcelona to second spot behind Bayern Munich in their group but the Portuguese side are 200/1 to win the trophy and those odds feel about right given how much they were dominated by Bayern in the group stage.
Ajax are many people’s dark horses for the tournament at 14/1 having won all six of their group games, including home and away wins over Dortmund and Sporting Lisbon. They’ll be the clear favourites to win this tie too.
Whether the Dutch side have enough quality in depth to go deep in this tournament I am not so sure, this team doesn’t look as strong as the team that reached the semifinal in 2019, but I think they will come through this tie.