Nine former winners of the competition are in the hat for the knockout stages, though only five of the teams involved got as far as this point in last season's tournament.All eyes will be on Nyon this Thursday as the cream of European soccer is pitted against each other in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 draw.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Juventus, AC Milan, Porto, Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Celtic have all won the competition in the past and will be vying to do so again. And with Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia, Malaga, Galatasaray and Schalke making up the supporting cast, fans are sure to be treated to a number of mouthwatering ties.
The eight group winners will be drawn against the sides who finished as runners up, and will have the luxury of playing at home for the second leg of the tie. At this stage, teams from the same country cannot play against each other.
Matters are made more interesting by the fact that three of the former champions - Madrid, Milan and Porto - all finished second in their respective groups and will be drawn against a seeded team in the knockout stages.
Nine-time winner Madrid, for example, could be paired with last season's conquerors Bayern, or Cristiano Ronaldo's former club Manchester United. Meanwhile, the Rossoneri, who have lifted the trophy seven times, could face daunting trips to Camp Nou or Signal Iduna Park.
The first legs of the last 16 ties will take place on Feb. 12-13 and 19-20, with the return legs scheduled for March 5-6 and 12-13.
The draw starts on Thursday, and you can follow it on Goal.com.
|THE LAST 16
|| Runners Up
|Borussia Dortmund||Real Madrid|