Sulav Dahal, Kathmandu
Europe’s top club football competition Champions League is around the corner with Round of 16 games starting from February 13. Top side of top leagues from Europe are competing here. Lets talk about how each club is believed to go ahead in this high-level tournament:
Defending champion Real Madrid aka Los Blancos are in a real mess in domestic league with trailing the league leader Barcelona by 19 points. 19 points after 26 matches is a huge deficit which can only be fulfilled in Mathematics not in real scenario. The fact is Madrid is performing very poor with all of their star players including Ronaldo and Benzema could not perform as par. Henceforth, their domestic league winning probability is nearly went to null. But Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes still backs Madrid against the star-studded French side PSG. He said it is quite normal for his former club to be already out of the domestic La Liga race, but their experience in the Champions League makes them favorites against the PSG.
Talking about PSG, they leads second placed Marseille by 11 points in the domestic League 1. But, performance in the League 1 does not necessarily results in the top flight since French league is full of low-class clubs. Therefore PSG make it look so easy to score 6/7 goals in a match, which is not the case in EPL or La Liga.
In my opinion, Barcelona is the favorites to win this prestigious competition. With Coutinho transferred to Camp Nou and Dembele fit again to play Barcelona would be unstoppable. With the current form of Chelsea, with who it is playing in top 16, I must say they will register an easy victory in both the legs.
Now, lets talk about the English clubs. Former Barcelona and Leicester legend Gary Linekar has chosen Tottenham as the favorites from the English clubs to do good in the CL. He has ruled out the probability of Madrid in the tournament. Honestly, City can give a tough competition for winning the CL looking at their dangerous side. City has spent a huge amount of money in their defense and their midfield and forward was already good. The domestic EPL is already in the hands of City with 13 points lead and looking invincible with only one defeat on the hands of Liverpool at Anfield.
Round of 16 fixtures:
(All matches start at 1:30 AM Nepali time)
Juventus v Tottenham Hotspur
Basel v Manchester City
Porto v Liverpool
Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain
Chelsea v Barcelona
Bayern Munich v Besiktas
Sevilla v Manchester United
Shakhtar Donetsk v Roma