Previewing the Champions League Round of 16

The+Champions+League+is+expected+to+resume+in+the+coming+week%2C+and+Barcelona+is+expected+to+impress.+%28Courtesy+of+Twitter%29

The Champions League is expected to resume in the coming week, and Barcelona is expected to impress. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Michael Hernandez, Assistant Sports Editor

On next Tuesday and Wednesday, the Champions League round of 16 will kick off. The Champions League has moved from the group stages to the knockout stages. The round consists of two matches. The first will be played at one stadium, with the second match taking place at the other stadium. To determine who will advance into the quarterfinals, whichever team wins on aggregate will advance. If the aggregate is even, then it will go to the team with the most away goals. If it is still equal in the second match, it goes to 30 minutes of extra time, followed by a penalty shootout if necessary. 

Out of the eight sets of matches, only four of them will take place either next Tuesday or Wednesday,  Feb. 16 and 17 respectively. The remaining four matches will play their first leg the following week. The second legs will be played in March. Out of the four matches next week, there are some that have amazing potential.

The main match is without a doubt Barcelona against PSG on Tuesday. This brings former teammates back onto the same pitch in Neymar and Lionel Messi. Both of them played for Barcelona, taking Spain and Europe by storm with their attacking play until Neymar left for PSG in 2017. Both of these teams love to attack, and with new PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino, who wants to show why he deserves the job, it should be an amazing game. The other match on Tuesday is Liverpool against RB Leipzig, but that will not take place in its original stadium. The first leg was scheduled to have Leipzig at home in Germany, but due to new COVID restrictions, Liverpool was not able to play in Germany. This match will now be played in Budapest. Liverpool has had serious problems with its defense since all three of their senior center-backs are out for the season. This forces their usual flowing attacking gameplay to slow down since their defense is weak with midfielders playing in the center-back positions. They will be under threat from Leipzig’s attack but this should be an evenly matched game.

The games on Wednesday are Sevilla against Borussia Dortmund and Juventus against Porto. The Sevilla match is a tossup for either side with the players that they have. Borussia Dortmund does have a star striker in Erling Haaland who has scored 24 goals in 24 games across all competitions. As for Juventus, they should have an advantage against Porto because of their attack, which is led by Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo has been on fire the entire season, scoring 23 goals in 25 appearances across all competitions. Half of the competition was eliminated in the group stage, so these final 16 teams know that every goal counts as they try to win the title of European champions.