According to pre-draw probabilities, Liverpool FC are the most likely team for Bayern Munich to draw in the Champions League Round of 16. So much for finishing first with a perfect record, huh? Jurgen Klopp’s men have not been flying high in the Premier League this season, but the CL is a different story. If not for Napoli playing some serious champagne football, Bayern could’ve avoided this draw altogether.
Where can you find the probabilities for the upcoming draw? Well, I found mine on Reddit. Now, before you question OC from r/soccer, please remember that no one in the comments has disputed this post yet, and Reddit is full of nerds who will attack you for even the slightest mathematical inaccuracy in your post.
So these numbers are probably correct:
Based on this, Bayern Munich have almost a 40% chance of facing Liverpool in the next round. That’s not guaranteed odds by any means, but it does make this fixture an overwhelming favorite. In case you’re wondering how this is possible, keep the draw rules in mind:
- Group winners will be paired with group runners-up in the Round of 16.
- No team can draw a team from the same country.
- No team can draw a team they already faced in the group stage.
With Germany having FOUR representatives in the Round of 16 draw, with three of them finishing second in their groups, it gives Bayern a very limited pool of teams to choose from — PSG, Club Brugge, Liverpool, and AC Milan. Now, as for why those teams don’t have equal odds to draw Bayern, it’s because they too have their own draw permutations based on which teams made it through.
Since four English clubs made it to the Ro16 and three of them finished top of their group, Liverpool cannot draw them. So Bayern and Liverpool become each other’s most likely opponent.
It’s crazy how the Bundesliga actually doing well for a change has resulted in Bayern getting a potentially very hard draw as soon as the Round of 16. Also, given how revenue sharing in the CL works, Bayern will also lose money with more German teams making it far into the competition. So, ironically, a strong league performance in Europe has a ton of downsides for the club.
However, these are small factors when you consider that the stronger the league is, the better Bayern will be. The Bavarians need a strong Bundesliga to keep up with the EPL and La Liga on the international stage. Last season, German teams flopped in Europe (except Frankfurt) and it resulted in Bayern losing to Villarreal CF in the quarter finals. This year the league is back to its best, and Bayern are unlikely to get anywhere near as complacent.
In fact, it’s arguably good for the Bundesliga if Bayern gets a tough draw. That’s one less top team that Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, or Eintracht Frankfurt have to contend with, giving them each a higher chance of making it to the quarter-finals. Meanwhile, Bayern are the most likely Bundesliga team to beat a proper top team, so it maximizes the chance of the league having multiple representatives in the latter rounds of the Champions League.
Even so, let’s hope Bayern avoid facing Liverpool or PSG in the next round. Sadio Mane can wait a little longer for his reunion with Jurgen Klopp, and revenge for the 2021 quarter finals isn’t that important. There’s no telling what kind of form these teams will be in after the World Cup, so leaving the tougher teams for later would make it easier for Julian Nagelsmann to guide his team to a Champions League win.