Sport

Champions League: 16 teams chasing final place at San Siro

Chelsea's players train in London on Monday ahead of their departure for Paris
Picture by PA 

THE Champions League resumes tonight, with 16 teams now vying for a place in the final at the San Siro in Milan on May 28.

Here, we look at those who are left in the competition.

Arsenal

Round of 16 opponent: Barcelona (first leg (h) February 23, second leg (a) March 16)

Overview: Arsenal made it hard for themselves after losing at home to Olympiacos and away at Dinamo Zagreb, but they squeezed through to the knockout stages for the 16th consecutive season following a 3-0 win in their do-or-die clash in Athens.

Strengths: The threat of Alexis Sanchez and the form of Mesut Ozil, who is enjoying a fine season.

Weaknesses: Defensively, the Gunners are frail, which is not good if you are coming up against Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

Odds: 33/1

Atletico Madrid

Round of 16 opponent: PSV (first leg (a) February 24, second leg (h) March 15)

Overview: One of the dark horses to make the final. Defeated just once - by Benfica - in what was otherwise a seamless group campaign.

Strengths: The prolific goalscoring form of Antoine Griezmann, the defensive solidity offered by Diego Godin and the self-belief installed by the manager Diego Simeone, who has even got Fernando Torres scoring.

Weaknesses: The team looks weaker without Arda Turan, who was so instrumental in helping Atletico reach the final two years ago.

Odds: 12/1

Barcelona

Round of 16 opponent: (first leg (a) February 23, second leg (h) March 16)

Overview: Barcelona are looking good value to become the first side in history to retain the Champions League. They dropped just four points in the group stages and are currently on a 30-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

Strengths: In Messi, Suarez and Neymar Barca have one of the most formidable forward lines in history.

Weaknesses: None.

Odds: 9/4

Bayern Munich

Round of 16 opponent: Juventus (first leg (a) February 23, second leg (h) March 16)

Overview: Pep Guardiola's side breezed through to the last 16, with their only defeat coming against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in October.

Strengths: They have many, like Manuel Neuer, Thiago Alcantara, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski, who has scored 37 goals for club and country this season.

Weaknesses: Could Bayern ease off knowing their coach is leaving at the end of the year?

Odds: 3/1

Benfica

Round of 16 opponent: Zenit St Petersburg (first leg (a) February 16, second leg (h) March 9)

Overview: Saw off the challenge of Galatasaray to finish second behind Atletico in their group, scoring 10 goals in the process.

Strengths: Nicolas Gaitan, who scored three in the group stages, and teenage Manchester United target Renato Sanches.

Weaknesses: Rui Vitoria has never managed at this level before and talk of a bid for Sanches could unsettle the 18-year-old star.

Odds: 125/1

Chelsea

Round of 16 opponent: Paris St Germain (first leg (a) February 16, second leg (h) March 9)

Overview: Chelsea have reserved some of their best performances for the European stage this season. The Blues only lost once in a competitive group and now hope to avenge their second-round defeat to PSG last season.

Strengths: Diego Costa is finally starting to hit form, scoring eight goals in his last 10 matches.

Weaknesses: A creaky defence and inconsistent form from key performers like Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard.

Odds: 20/1

Dynamo Kiev

Round of 16 opponent: Manchester City (first leg (h) February 24, second leg (a) March 15)

Overview: Dynamo upset the odds and edged into the knockout stages after finishing second in Chelsea's group ahead of Porto and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Strengths: Highly-rated coach Sergey Rebrov and dangerous attacking midfielder Andriy Yarmolenko.

Weaknesses: Have not played since December 9 due to the Ukrainian winter break.

Odds: 200/1

Gent

Round of 16 opponent: Wolfsburg (first leg (h) February 17, second leg (a) March 8)

Overview: Caused a huge upset by becoming the first Belgian club to reach the last 16 on their maiden appearance in the competition, beating Valencia to second place in Group H.

Strengths: Danijel Milicevic, the late-blooming 30-year-old Swiss midfielder who scored three in the group stages.

Weaknesses: The obvious lack of experience at this level and a porous defence.

Odds: 400/1

Juventus

Round of 16 opponent: Bayern Munich (first leg (h) February 23, second leg (a) March 16)

Overview: Nudged into second by Manchester City in the group stages, last year's finalists are still a force to be reckoned with despite losing some key players last summer.

Strengths: The energy and drive of Paul Pogba and a lot of self-belief as Juve have won their last 15 league games.

Weaknesses: Juve will miss the experience and composure of Andrea Pirlo, who left for the MLS last summer.

Odds: 16/1

Manchester City

Round of 16 opponent: Dynamo Kiev (first leg (a) February 24, second leg (h) March 15)

Overview: City recovered from an early defeat against Juventus to top a competitive group containing the Turin giants, Borussia Monchengladbach and Sevilla. They will fancy their chances of beating their Ukrainian opponents to reach the last eight for the first time.

Strengths: One of the best squads on the continent.

Weaknesses: Inconsistency and mental fragility. The absence of Kevin de Bruyne is a big blow too.

Odds: 14/1

Paris St Germain

Round of 16 opponent: Chelsea (first leg (h) February 16, second leg (a) March 9)

Overview: PSG lost and drew with Real Madrid, but still had little trouble finishing second behind the Spanish giants. Laurent Blanc's team are unbeaten domestically and lead Ligue 1 by 23 points.

Strengths: The attacking prowess of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani as well as the creative force that is Angel di Maria.

Weaknesses: Possible struggle to deal with the step up in calibre of opponent. Ligue 1 is a weak league and Chelsea have European pedigree.

Odds: 12/1

PSV Eindhoven

Round of 16 opponent: Atletico Madrid (first leg (h) February 24, second leg (a) March 15)

Overview: Beat Manchester United at the Philips Stadion and drew 0-0 at Old Trafford to go through as surprise winners of Group B.

Strengths: A strong team spirit. Luuk de Jong tops the Eredivisie scoring charts with 17 goals, but only found the net twice in the group stages.

Weaknesses: Fairly weak in attack after losing Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum.

Odds: 150/1

Real Madrid

Round of 16 opponent: Roma (first leg (a) February 17, second leg (h) March 8)

Overview: Cristiano Ronaldo scored a record 11 goals in the group stages as the 10-time European champions breezed into the last 16.

Strengths: The awesome attacking triumvirate of Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.

Weaknesses: Zinedine Zidane won the Champions League as a player but has never managed in the competition before.

Odds: 5/1

Roma

Round of 16 opponent: Real Madrid (first leg (h) February 17, second leg (a) March 8)

Overview: Somehow managed to qualify from a group containing Barcelona, Bayer Leverkusen and Bate Borisov with just six points. Currently fourth in Serie A.

Strengths: They are on a run of four straight wins under new coach Luciano Spalletti.

Weaknesses: Spalletti has only been in charge for a month and his squad is weak. Last year Bayern thrashed them 7-1 at home.

Odds: 100/1

Wolfsburg

Round of 16 opponent: Gent (first leg (a) February 17, second leg (h) March 8)

Overview: Claimed one of the biggest wins in their history to dump Manchester United out of the competition in the final game of the group stages and will fancy their chances of beating Gent.

Strengths: Julian Draxler, the attacking midfielder who dizzied United's defence in December.

Weaknesses: The lack of an imposing centre-forward. Bas Dost only has seven league goals this year.

Odds: 66/1

Zenit St Petersburg

Round of 16 opponent: Benfica (first leg (h) February 16, second leg (a) March 9)

Overview: Andre Villas-Boas' side only suffered one defeat in the group stage - against Gent in a dead rubber.

Strengths: Axel Witsel and forward Hulk, who enjoyed the best form of his career under Villas-Boas at Porto.

Weaknesses: Have not played since December 9 due to Russian winter break.

Odds: 66/1

Sport

Today's horoscope

Horoscope


See a different horoscope: