UEFA does its best to avoid pairing the big teams in the Round of 16 by rewarding group winners and making sure they are drawn against a team who finished runner-up. But with many big teams drawn against each other, that made for some unique results and didn’t really reward group winners.
There are a few Round of 16 matchups that really could have taken place in the Final. It may have been a long shot but Juventus-Tottenham, two teams certainly capable of going far in the tournament but struggling in league play, could have seen themselves in Kiev.
Chelsea-Barcelona could have been another potential Final. Chelsea’s lethal counterattack could strike anyone on any given day while Barcelona is solidly in control of La Liga and is currently unbeaten.
But in what could arguably be the biggest Round of 16 matchup in Champions League history, the back-to-back champs Real Madrid will be playing a PSG team who spent hundreds of millions to get the players in order to win the Champions League. It is going to be a colossal and unthinkable failure regardless of who is eliminated and heads may roll.
Other matchups within the draw go off of the more traditional draw where one team is clearly better than the other. Manchester City is heading to Switzerland to face Basel, Liverpool has Portuguese powerhouse Porto. Manchester United is going to face Sevilla in a matchup featuring the last four Europa League champs. And then Bayern Munich is going to face Besiktas as Bayern continues to make up for their early season struggles.
The only matchup that you could really say is a toss up due to two teams who aren’t at their best is Shakhtar Donetsk-Roma. Not to take away from those two teams but that may be the only guaranteed matchup where the other winners will be praying to get for the Quarterfinal.
So now that the Group Stage is over, this is when the real Champions League begin. With a couple mega matchups, neutral fans are certainly going to be entertained.