clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Before the Draw: A look at UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Scenarios

New, comments

Could Bayern really draw Arsenal again!?! Who do they want to draw? A look at each draw scenario for the Round of 16.

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

Bayern Munich dominated the group of death to coast into their sixth consecutive Round of 16 in the Champions League. The next step for them in their European aspirations is to await the draw, which takes place in Nyon, Switzerland at 12:00 CET (6:00 AM EST).

With all four German teams advancing, including two runners-up in Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke 04, Bayern's selection field is thinner then most clubs that have won their group. Here is a look at the winners and the runners-up of each group, and an evaluation of each Bayern draw scenario:

Group Winner Runner-Up
A Atlético Madrid Juventus
B Real Madrid FC Basel 1893
C AS Monaco Bayer Leverkusen
D Borussia Dortmund Arsenal
E Bayern Munich Manchester City
F Barcelona Paris Saint-Germain
G Chelsea Schalke 04
H Porto Shakhtar Donetsk
The Best Draw: Shakhtar Donetsk

With each passing European season, Shakhtar Donetsk has steadily improved their reputation as an international viable club. They are no longer a group filler, having advanced to the knockout stages two of the last four years in the Champions League. They are not a team to take lightly, but the Ukrainians have taken advantage of a fortunate situation.

Even in the "group of life", Shakhtar struggled against Porto and Athletic Bilbao, only collecting two points in four matches against the two. They are advancing largely on the domination of fellow Eastern European club BATE Borisov, two matches that got out of hand quickly thanks to veteran Luiz Adriano. The three-nation team will have to muster much more to mitigate Bayern's might.

The Worst Draw: Paris Saint-Germain

It is the fourth year of the oligarch transition of Paris-Saint Germain, and the more their expensive acquisitions have time to gel, the more fearsome they become as a European contender. With Zlatan Ibrahimović at the helm, PSG have advanced to the Champions League Quarterfinals in consecutive years, matching giants Barcelona and Chelsea goal-for-goal before the away goals rule snuffed them out. Now, the spine of their team is stronger than it has ever been, David Luiz providing a much needed upgrade over Alex and Marquinhos next to Thiago Silva to help turn a collection of superstars into a team.

The frightening part about PSG's renaissance is the growth of their young players. Marco Veratti is developing into the passing wizard, following in the footsteps of his countryman Andrea Pirlo, and Lucas Moura has transformed from just a pacy winger into a skilled goal scorer. Laurent Blanc is not the drive one would probably want behind this Ferrari, but PSG's raw skill has powered them easily past several of their opponents. If they come together as a collective in February and March, they are an opponent Bayern want to avoid at all costs.

The "Ugh... not again" Draw: Arsenal

This is an opponent Bayern is growing too familiar with, having played the Gunners in the last two Round of 16s. The worst part is, with Chelsea's victory of Group G, Bayern have a 24.048 percent chance of drawing them again this go-around. Bayern has faced English clubs more times than any other country in the Champions League era, and supporters from both sides would probably loath another rematch.

The silver lining is that Arsenal appear to be in the same spot they always are, which is causing many Arsenal supporters to demand a change at the helm. Alexis Sánchez now leads the line in the Emirates, but even that cannot mask the fact that the defense is taped together like a collage in a sorority girl's dorm room. Arsène Wenger is going to need his team to work at Danny Welbeck levels in order for the Gunners to advance past the Roten.

The Dark-Horse Draw: Juventus

How can a perennial league champion in a top-4 league be a dark-horse on the biggest stage? Juventus is perhaps the only club that can bring to life such a script. The biaconeri are once again leading Serie A in clinical fashion, and yet when the midweek European fixtures come around, the Old Lady acts like, well, an old lady on the pitch.

That said, their individual talent is too hard to ignore. Carlos Tévez has looked rejuvenated since his move from Manchester City, and Massimilliano Allegri has one of the most diversely potent midfields in all of football. The defense can be a bit sluggish with Georgio Chiellini, Stephan Lichtsteiner, and Patrice Evra all advancing in age, but they have still just allowed nine goals in all competition, a comparable record to Bayern's eight. A match up like this one will quickly turn into a battle of attrition, but Juventus will re-watch what the Bavarians did to AS Roma and will hope that they can avoid a similar fate.

The Prospect Draw: FC Basel 1893

Having made the knockout stages just once in club history, Basel are clearly one of the Davids among Goliaths. They have now returned, holding of Liverpool for second place behind Real Madrid. Sadly, unless they land a fortunate draw (likely AS Monaco or Porto), Basel will have a tall task to advance to the Quarterfinal.

What will be interesting to track is their thriving young talent, something that has become the club's calling card. Breel Embolo, a 17-year-old, has already peaked Bayern's interest, and Fabian Schär has turned heads since suiting up for Switzerland in the World Cup. Should Bayern draw the Swiss club for the second time in four years, they will get a close up glimpse at players that could be top transfer targets in the next year or two.