Champions League last-16 ties ranked: PSG v Bayern sexier than Liverpool v Real…

Champions League draw sees PSG face Bayern Munich and Liverpool play Real Madrid. Credit: Alamy
Champions League draw sees PSG face Bayern Munich and Liverpool play Real Madrid. Credit: Alamy

We’re buzzing for Liverpool against Real Madrid but there’s little novelty to it. Admittedly, PSG and Bayern are hardly strangers, but…

 

The Champions League draw for the last 16 has been made and, for the most part, the first knockout round looks a lot of fun.

Here’s how we’ve ranked the eight ties…

 

8) Inter Milan v Porto
Porto were the group winners most of the runners-up will have identified as their kindest draw and it was Inter who snaffled the side currently eight points off the pace behind Benfica in the Portuguese League. Great for Inter; hardly the worst draw for Porto themselves; but not one to get balls/tits tingling among the rest of us.

Champions League head-to-head
Previous meetings: 4
Inter wins: 2
Porto wins: 1
Draws: 1
Last meeting: 2005/06 group stage: Inter 2-1 Porto

 

7) RB Leipzig v Man City
The reaction to this tie coming out of the hat/bowl was ‘what, again?’. It feels like City always play Leipzig, which as the below illustrates, isn’t true. But it speaks of the general apathy around City in the Champions League, especially in the last 16. Their opponents in the first knockout round since 2016: Sporting, Borussia Monchengladbach, Real (very much the exception), Schalke, Basel, Monaco, Dinamo Kyiv. Meh.

Champions League head-to-head
Previous meetings: 2
Leipzig wins: 1
City wins: 1
Draws: 0
Last meeting: 2021/22 group stage: RB Leipzig 2-1 Man City

 

6) Club Brugge v Benfica
For the more contrary Champions League observers, this first meeting between Brugge and Benfica could be painted as one of the most intriguing ties of the round. Brugge were a revelation in Group B before being pipped to the top spot by Porto on the final matchday, while Benfica pulled off a shock to leave PSG and Juventus trailing in their wake in Group H. Were it not for Benfica’s heroics on the final matchday, we might have been left with PSG versus Brugge, which is far less interesting for all concerned.

Champions League head-to-head
Previous meetings: None

 

5) Eintracht Frankfurt v Napoli
Any match-up featuring Napoli is worth a watch right now, with Luciano Spalletti’s side – the top scorers in the group stage with 20 goals, more than any Italian team has managed previously – looking like they could do further damage to some of the established big boys. First they will have to get through two legs against last season’s Europa League winners, who followed Spurs through from Group D. Eintracht have saved their best form for Europe, it would seem, since they currently sit fifth in Bundesliga, while Napoli are streaking away at the Serie A summit, especially after turning over second-placed Atalanta at the weekend. While they are sat at the summit at home, they would be daft to consider selling any of the likes of Victor Oshimhen and copy-and-paste merchant Khvicha Kvaratskhelia before the Champions League restarts in February.

Champions League head-to-head
Previous meetings: None

 

4) AC Milan v Tottenham
Ledley King looked non-plussed while present in Nyon for a draw that sends Antonio Conte back to the San Siro but the rest of us are relishing a repeat of the tie that birthed the beef between Joe Jordan and Gennaro Gattuso. Maybe just not as much as the other three. God knows what Spurs might look like come February and March…

Champions League head-to-head
Previous meetings: 2
Milan wins: 0
Tottenham wins: 1
Draws: 1
Last meeting: 2010/11 round of 16: Tottenham 0-0 Milan (Spurs win 1-0 on agg)

 

3) Borussia Dortmund v Chelsea
There were only two possibilities for Dortmund when Champions League legend Hamit Altintop pulled them out of the bowl: Porto or Chelsea. To the relief of everyone with no association with Chelsea, it was the Blues’ ball that followed. Dortmund and Chelsea have never previously met in European competition. Only three and a half months to wait until World Cup winner Jude Bellingham sticks another few quid on his valuation with a virtuoso performance at Stamford Bridge.

Champions League head-to-head
Previous meetings: None

Jude Bellingham celebrates his goal against Manchester City Credit: Alamy
Jude Bellingham celebrates his goal against Manchester City Credit: Alamy

2) Liverpool v Real Madrid
“A lot of spice,” said UEFA draw master Giorgio Marchetti, somewhat understating the repeat of last season’s final. It isn’t just Paris that prompts the inevitable revenge narrative. Real knocked out Liverpool in 2021 in the quarter-finals and the Reds still owe them for Kyiv in 2018. It’s a sexy b*stard of a tie, no doubt, but there’s little novelty about it. This will be the fourth meeting between Real and Liverpool in six seasons.

Champions League head-to-head
Previous meetings: 9
Liverpool wins: 3
Real wins: 5
Draws: 1
Last meeting: 2021/22 final: Liverpool 0-1 Real Madrid

 

1) PSG v Bayern Munich
The Parisians and Bavarians are hardly strangers having met five times in the last five years but, owing to Liverpool’s problems this season, the Eric Choupo-Moting derby is the last-16 tie most intriguing to most. Many Liverpool fans are already fearing the worst from a Real reunion but both Bayern and PSG will fancy their chances against the other. PSG are getting used to being made to do it the hard way. Before Bayern, their previous two last-16 opponents were Real Madrid and Barcelona, but they have only themselves (and Benfica) to blame for leaving themselves in a position where only Porto might have appealed to them from a list of seven possible outcomes. Bayern were certainly among the least appealing of the lot but no one fancies themselves quite like PSG.

Champions League head-to-head
Previous meetings: 11
PSG wins: 6
Bayern wins: 5
Draws: 0
Last meeting: 2020/21 quarter-final: PSG 0-1 Bayern Munich (PSG through on away goals)

Read more: Premier League five-year net spend table as Liverpool put up for sale by FSG

 

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