Champions League: What we learned from the round of 16 and which second legs are most intriguing
Eight matches from the round are in the books
The Champions League round of 16 is halfway over as all remaining teams played over the last two weeks. The eight matches brought us 18 goals and just the second ever quarterfinal day where both games were scoreless. Out of the eight ties, there are clear favorites to move on in five of them after some strong first-leg displays. Here are the scores and what we learned:
- Roma 2, Porto 1
- PSG 2, Manchester United 0
- Tottenham 3, Borussia Dortmund 0
- Real Madrid 2, Ajax 1
- Barcelona 0, Lyon 0
- Liverpool 0, Bayern Munich 0
- Atletico Madrid 2, Juventus 0
- Manchester City 3, Schalke 2
Don't mess with Spain
Champions League glory and Spain have been synonymous for a long time, especially with Real Madrid's 13 titles (including the last three). Since the 2010-11 final, half of the 16 teams to make the final have been Spanish teams, and a team from Spain has won the last five. And it looks like we may have three Spanish teams in the quarterfinals. Real Madrid is in great shape after beating Ajax on the road, Atletico Madrid looks like a good bet to pull the upset on Juventus and Barcelona is expected to beat Lyon at home and advance. It looks like once again we'll have Spanish teams making deep runs in the cup, with even more incentive as Madrid hosts the final at Atletico's Wanda Metrpolitano.
Stars missing? No problem
Teams without some of their most important players avoided disaster. PSG was without Neymar and Edinson Cavani but managed to dominate Manchester United on the road to put a foot into the quarterfinals. Liverpool didn't have star defender Virgil van Dijk but were able to keep Bayern out at Anfield. Tottenham looked like it had little chances of doing much against Dortmund with Dele Alli and Harry Kane out, and they got a 3-0 win. It just goes to show that teams can weather the storm without their most important players for a round and keep the dream alive.
Five clear favorites, three ties up in the air
PSG, Tottenham, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Manchester City all have fantastic chances of moving on thanks to their first-leg results, but the other ties are much more up in the air. Let's start with Roma and Porto, where Adrian Lopez's late goal gave the Portuguese club a vital away goal. With Iker Casillas in goal and his experience in the competition, Porto has a strong shot of turning this around, especially with how inconsistent Roma has been in attack.
For Barcelona, nobody expects them to draw with goals or lose at home, but they've done it before this season in league play. Though with their backs against the wall, like against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey, they've done well to respond. If Lyon scores in the first half, it wouldn't be wise to count out Barca, because with Lionel Messi, this team can win any game (just ask PSG).
And the big one is Liverpool and Bayern. It's a slight edge for Bayern because of that road draw at Anfield, but the fact that Liverpool didn't concede has to have them feeling OK. Liverpool failed to score in the first leg, and it was the first time they failed to score in a match since early November. So Jurgen Klopp will likely feel good about his team going to Munich and getting a goal to put the pressure on the hosts.
You can see all the remaining Champions League games on fuboTV (Try for free).
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