The Champions League last-16 draw has been announced and bloody hell, it looks sexy.
We now know what the knockout rounds of Europe’s elite football competition will look like come February and there will be lots of licking of lips about whats ahead of us.
Of course, the form of teams may be very different from how things stand where we are now, in December, but on paper there are some absolutely thrilling ties ahead of us.
Here is what we can expect…..
CITY’S BIGGEST CHANCE OF CLAIMING BIG EARS YET
Real Madrid and Manchester City locking horns is mouth-watering.
Redemption and revenge will be common themes running through these knockout round ties and none more than City returning to the Santiago Bernabéu.
City’s best run in the Champions League came in 2016 where they reached the semi-finals, only be to knocked out by Zinedine Zidane’s Madrid side.
Looking at the gap in points Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side have over the Premier League champions, many will be arguing City may be best off focusing their attention on winning the Champions League for the first time.
They won’t have exactly been singing Blue Moon at the Etihad when the draw was announced earlier today.
However, this is not the Real Madrid team that have won four Champions Leagues this decade. City may well be considered favourites going into this tie.
If Pep Guardiola’s team can overcome Real then it may be just the kind of springboard that sets them on their way to claiming Ol’ Big Ears.
CHAMPIONS RETURN TO THE SCENE OF THEIR SUCCESS
Liverpool fans are renowned for their love of nostalgia, and they will be able to enjoy a big dose of it when they take on Atletico Madrid in 2020.
The Reds won this competition for the sixth time in June at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium and will love being able to return to the scene of that victory in February.
Sentiment and reminiscence may be the only aspects of the trip Liverpool may enjoy as they will surely be in one hell of a game when they come up against Diego Simeone’s team.
Jurgen Klopp, speaking to the club’s official website earlier today, said it will be a game of ‘high-intensity for both sides’.
And isn’t that true.
Two sides that will use an insane amount of energy but both deploying contrasting tactical strategies for what will be an enthralling encounter.
Atleti will be defensively disciplined, a nuisance and playing out all their biggest tricks of the dark arts to try to unsettle the rampaging Premier League leaders.
Liverpool will have to go through the mill if they are to have a chance of winning their seventh European Cup.
REVENGE FOR BAYERN?
Like we said, revenge is a theme that runs through this draw and Bayern Munich will be sniffing at the chance of getting one over Chelsea in this illustrious competition.
Frank Lampard, now Chelsea manager, captained the club to the Champions League trophy with a win on penalties over Bayern Munich in 2012 – with the final taking place in Bayern’s own backyard.
Who knows what kind of situation we will find Bayern in come February when this fixture will take place, or even who will be in charge of the German champions.
Hansi Flick finds himself in caretaker charge but the Bavarians are in fourth place and currently in stuttering form.
Bayern will be absolutely desperate to get their revenge for 2012 and if Chelsea haven’t strengthened defensively by the time the clash comes around, then don’t bet against Bayern doing just that.
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