Soccer Power Rankings: Champions League returns as Liverpool faces huge test against Bayern Munich

The round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League continues on Tuesday and Wednesday with eight teams set to get their first knockout stage game in. On Tuesday, Liverpool hosts Bayern Munich and Lyon squares off against Barcelona in France. Wednesday's slate features Atletico Madrid vs. Juventus and Schalke vs. Manchester City. Let's rank them when it comes to watchability:

1. Liverpool vs. Bayern Munich (Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET on fuboTV -- Try for free): A matchup of two titans that is chock full of undeniable talent. This is quite the test for both and it could go either way over the two legs. I'd put it just ahead of that PSG-Manchester United draw as the best matchup of the group stage. Expect a fast-paced, physical affair. Set pieces will be key. It's a must-see game, even if you are working.

2. Atletico Madrid vs. Juventus (Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET on fuboTV -- Try for free)For those that love defense, this is the game for you. These are two of the better defensive units in Europe. Both of these teams are allowing less than a goal per game this season, and then there is the angle of Cristiano Ronaldo facing a team he's terrorized so much, including in two Champions League finals. A fantastic tie and the best matchup on Wednesday.

3. Lyon vs. Barcelona (Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET on fuboTV -- Try for free)There is quite the drop off here, but Barca is one of the top contenders to win and Lyon did get a win over Manchester City in the group stage, showing that they can make this interesting. Barca is loaded, and Lyon has some talented players like Nabil Fekir and Memphis Depay. Expect to see a lot of play down the wings and some flashy moves. 

4. Schalke vs. Manchester City (Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET on fuboTV -- Try for free): The only matchup this is ahead of is that Porto-Roma tie. City should walk all over Schalke across two legs. The German club is struggling in the Bundesliga and was in the easiest group last round. For those that love goals, this could be a good one to watch, but most of them should be coming from Man. City. 


How the rankings work: We list the top 25 teams in the world based on recent form. The teams playing the best soccer -- in their respective leagues and in international competitions -- will be considered. Quality of the opponents will also be taken into an account, but above all, the most important factors are recent results and overall standings in competitions.

World Club Soccer Power Rankings

Previous rankings: Feb. 11 Feb. 4 | Jan. 28 | Jan. 21 | Jan. 14 | Jan. 7 | Jan. 1 | Dec. 24 | Dec. 18 | Dec 10 | Dec 3 | Nov. 26 | Nov. 12 | Nov. 5 Oct. 30 Oct. 23 | Oct. 10 | Oct. 3 | Sept. 26 | Sept. 17 | Sept. 4 | Aug. 28 Aug. 23 | Aug. 15 | Preseason rankings      

TEAMCHGANALYSIS
1. Barcelona (ESP)

--

It says something when you have your poorest showing in quite some time and still come away with a win. The 1-0 victory over Real Valladolid helped extend its lead atop the table. 

2. Manchester City (ENG)

-- At some point, City should just get a bye to the quarterfinals of domestic cups. They are always there in the end and it would save the embarrassment for smaller teams. 

3. Liverpool (ENG)

-- Idle last weekend but a big battle looms against Bayern Munich in the Champions League round of 16. Feels like the level of a semifinal or final.

4. Juventus (ITA)

-- Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in three straight and Juventus is inching closer to the Serie A title. But now, focus shifts toward the Champions League. 

5. Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)

-- Going to Manchester United and winning like they did without Neymar and Edinson Cavani was unbelievably impressive. This team is just fine without them, but with them they can win the UCL.

6. Bayern Munich (GER)

+1

Avoided disaster at Augsburg with a come-from-behind 3-2 win to keep the pressure on Dortmund. Focus now shifts to Liverpool in the Champions League. 

7. Manchester United (ENG)

-1

Rough display against PSG, and it feels like the tie is over with Paul Pogba getting a red card. That said, what this team has done since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken over has been impressive. 

8. Atletico Madrid (ESP)

+1

Atleti rises despite not playing all that well, it's just that everyone around them in the rankings lost. Didn't deserve to beat Rayo Vallecano but did, and that moves them back into second place in La Liga.

9. Real Madrid (ESP)

-1

The loss to Girona on Sunday was incredibly strange because Real actually played well. Girona hadn't beaten anybody in 2019, so it was quite the stunner at the Bernabeu. They'll hope it was just a hiccup. 

10. Tottenham Hotspur (ENG) 

+1

Who saw them crushing Dortmund without Dele Alli and Harry Kane? An impressive result, but the job isn't done. Dortmund can put up five on any given day, but this was the perfect start. 

11. Borussia Dortmund (GER)  

-2

There is no shame losing to a full-strength Tottenham, but what we saw last week was like the switch was turned off against a weaker lineup. They are in a deep hole that will prove supper difficult to get out of. 

12. Chelsea (ENG)

--

You aren't going to get much credit when you beat Malmo in the Europa League. No disrespect to the Swedish club, but Chelsea is supposed to win. 

13. Lille (FRA)

--

The last time this team lost in Ligue 1 was Dec. 22, 2018. That's why they are the closest team to PSG in the table. 

14. Porto (POR)

+2

The 2-1 loss at Roma was a solid result in the Champions League. Hold serve at home, and they could get through. Iker Casillas needs to find his form in goal for that to happen, though. 

15. Arsenal (ENG)

-3

The Gunners just lost to the champions of the first division of Belarus. If you didn't know, Belarus is no soccer power. The most shocking result of the Gunners' season. 
16. Napoli (ITA)

--

A 0-0 draw with Torino puts them 13 points back of Juventus in Serie A, and the race is probably over. Still another strong, consistent season.

17. Benfica (POR)

--

Benfica plays Aves on Monday. 

18. Wolves (ENG)

--

Through in the FA Cup and now seven matches unbeaten in all competitions. Nuno Espirito Santo has fine foundation for the future at the Molineux. 

19. PSV (NED)

-1

Came back from 2-0 down to get a draw at Heerenveen, but still a poor result. They just keep opening the door for Ajax. 

20. Watford (ENG)

+1

Who would have thought Watford wouldn't be missing Marco Silva and Richarlison? What a season. 

21. Borussia Monchengladbach (GER)  

+2

A plus-20 goal differential and valuable draw at Eintracht. But now it's going to get interesting with Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich up next. A statement is there to be made. 

22. Ajax (NED)

--

Within four points of PSV, but the hope of advancing in the Champions League took a hit with that 2-1 loss to Real Madrid. But Real's result on Saturday against Girona gives them hope it can be done.

23. Roma (ITA)

--

Roma plays Bologna on Monday. 

24. RB Leipzig (GER)

+1

Tyler Adams got his first assist, and Leipzig got the three points. He's looking more and more comfortable by the minute in the Bundesliga. 

25. AC Milan (ITA)

NR

Krzysztof Piatek has six goals in five games and is looking like one of the top signings of the winter transfer window. Milan is far from back, but having him is a start. 


Biggest movers:
Arsenal (down two), Borussia Monchengladbach (up two) and Porto (up two) 
Out of top 25: Atalanta (ITA)
Honorable mentions: Getafe (ESP) and Lyon (FRA)

For news, stories, results and more, follow us:

- @CBSSportsSoccer - @RGonzalezCBS - Facebook

CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories