Now that the group stage shenanigans are over and the Bundesliga has soundly humiliated itself, Europe can finally shift its focus to the fourth most important in the continents premier cup competition. Yes, that’s right, it’s the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. The draw takes place on Monday, so here’s a lowdown Bayern’s possible opponents before that happens.
#1: The nightmare draw: FC Barcelona
UCL draws don’t get any harder than this. The Catalan side is one of the strongest teams in the tournament, and Bayern Munich might have to face them due to finishing second in their group. Both Bayern and Barca are considered favorites to win the entire thing every season, so such a matchup as early as the Ro16 would be severely disappointing to those who hope for a marquee clash in the later rounds. The last time these two sides met, Barcelona beat the Bavarians 5-3 on aggregate en route to a treble, and before that Jupp Heynckes’ all conquering side smashed the Catalans 7-0 in the 2013 semi finals.
Both teams will be hoping to avoid each other this early in the campaign.
#2: The Pep Guardiola Derby: Manchester City
Bayern fans have a love-hate relationship with Pep Guardiola. The Spaniard led the club to great success domestically in his three year stint, but was criticized for being unable to win the Champions League even once. Well Pep’s trying again, now with a different team in England. Man City play the Pep Guardiola brand of football Bayern fans know so well, and they are dangerous opponents. Both teams will want to avoid each other in the last 16.
#3: The most expensive bus in the world: Manchester United
This is a name people haven’t seen in the UCL knockouts for a long time. Fresh off the back of a successful Europa League campaign, Jose Mourniho’s Manchester United look to make a splash in the big boy’s competition. While not as formidable as FC Barcelona or Manchester City, United have a manager with a very special skillset (read: parking the bus) that could make them hard to beat. Since many fans have to watch European games in the late hours of the night, it would be better for all involved if these two teams don’t meet in the first knockout round. Or, at all, really.
#4: 1860 Arsenal: Tottenham Hotspur
It’s not quite Arsenal, but can a Bavarian UCL campaign truly be complete without a visit to north London? Spurs are a formidable team with a formidable manager (they managed to top a group with Real Madrid in it), but they sit 6th in the Premier League table (behind Arsenal, funnily enough) and may struggle as the season wears on due to a lack of quality depth.
Still not the best draw, though.
#5: An Italian team: AS Roma
There aren’t too many ways to talk about this draw, to be honest. Roma are a good team, and Eusebio Di Francesco is one of the hottest new managers in Europe. Having unexpectedly topped a group containing both Chelsea and Atletico Madrid, the Romans could give Heynckes’ Bayern a stern test in the last 16. Questions about their depth make a prospective Ro16 clash a little bit easier, but AS Roma should not be underestimated.
#6: It’s Klopp again: Liverpool FC
Liverpool are the best example of a glass cannon in football. Led by the charismatic Jurgen Klopp, a manager who has a lot of experience
losing to facing Bayern from his time managing Borussia Dortmund, the Merseyside club can rip any defense apart with their incredible attack. However, a questionable (read: terrible) defense means that they are one of the easier opponents Bayern can face in the last 16. They could still prove to be dangerous, especially if the Bavarians develop problems in defense, but compared to the other opponents they are a relatively decent draw.
How did they get here? (Checks the group standings) Oh, Leipzig. All joking aside, the Turkish team are not to be underestimated - especially considering the fact that they beat RB Leipzig both home and away. However Bayern couldn’t hope for a much easier draw than this - despite the fact that visiting Turkey is a difficult prospect for any football team.
Who do you want Bayern Munich to draw in the Round of 16?
This poll is closed
Arsena ... I mean Spurs