After an intense 3-3 draw with Ajax Amsterdam on Wednesday, Bayern Munich have topped Group E and have qualified for the Round of 16. While the knockout rounds won’t start until the middle of February, it’s never too early to look at who Bayern could face.
The potential opponents are English clubs Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Manchester United, as well as French team Olympique Lyon, Spanish side Atletico Madrid, and Italian team AS Roma. Bayern will not face Schalke, as UEFA rules prevent teams from the same league from facing each other in the Round of 16.
We asked our writers who they would prefer to see and why.
John Dillon: AS Roma
To my mind, the Champions League is an inherently flawed competition rigged in favor of the wealthiest clubs. All that really matters in it is advancing as far as possible, and thereby making as much money as possible. For a club like Bayern Munich, a deep run can make a difference as much as our annual profit. So I want Bayern to get the weakest possible opponent, and Roma looks like that to me. A very inconsistent Real Madrid handily dispatched them twice in an otherwise very weak group. While they have a few familiar names (and Justin Kluivert is up and coming), Cengiz Ünder is the only interesting standout from Bayern’s perspective. Might as well scout him out in the process. And I’d rather face him than both Nabil Fekir and Memphis Depay at Lyon, which made it through a group with Manchester City undefeated (1 win and 5 draws). Bayern paradoxically looks like it will get stronger this season, so take the weak opponents while they are there and bank on advancing.
Tom Adams: Manchester United
Plain and simple, I think at this point Manchester United, in their current form, is the most beatable team for Bayern. With the way Jose Mourinho sets them up to defend for the majority of matches against difficult opponents like Bayern, I think we can really hurt them. Robert Lewandowski is fine scoring form as of late and having both Coman and Thiago back has helped us bolster our midfield, which is where I think we can beat United — in the midfield. I think that United’s defense would struggle to deal with the pace of both Coman and Gnabry on either flank, assuming those two start in either leg, and United have shown with their Premier League form this season that they can rarely keep a clean sheet. Of all of the other opponents Bayern could be drawn against, I think any of them would certainly prove to be a more difficult task than United.
Jake Fenner: Olympique Lyon
Yes, they have Memphis Depay and Nabil Fekir which makes for an incredibly tough attack against our defense, but to me, that’s where Lyon starts and ends. This team is such a mystery to me. Their highlights include a 2-1 win over Manchester City in the group stage and a 4-2 win in Ligue 1 over the team currently one spot behind them, Marseille. Besides those two results, they lost 5-0 to PSG and dropped points against mid-table sides in Rennes and Reimes. Outside of the one win against Manchester City, they’ve only managed draws against Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk. Defensively, they can only rely on veterans like Map Yanga-Mbiwa, Jason Denayer and Marcelo (the other one). The central midfield is full of young talent that can score goals, but they haven’t shown up in the UCL. The only threat is in the forwards Fekir, Depay, Bertrand Traore, and Moussa Dembele (the young one from Celtic). Given Bayern’s tendency to hold on to possession and dominate the midfield, I think the team would line up perfectly against Lyon’s inexperienced side and would move to the next round with ease.
Logan Chugg: AS Roma
I think Bayern has a good chance with anyone that they may draw; however, I would like to see them matched up against AS Roma. These two teams have not met since 2014 in the group stage of the Champions League. Bayern won both of those matchups, 2-0 at the Allianz and 1-7 in Rome. While I would love to see these score lines again, I would also like to see these two clubs match up in a rematch of what should have been last year’s Champions League Final. Both teams found themselves eliminated in the semifinals last year after being on the wrong end of some questionable calls, calls that many believe could have been corrected with VAR.
So who would you like to see in the Round of 16? Let us know in the comments.