After a long wait the Champions League finally returns this week, as the first legs in the round of 16 get underway. All of the major contenders are still in the hunt for European glory, but only eight sides will be able to progress through to the next round.
The first half of the round of 16 will take place across February 13 and 14, but which teams could be in the hunt to reach the next round of the competition this season?
FC Copenhagen vs Manchester City
- FC Copenhagen: 19/2
- Draw: 5/1
- Manchester City: 3/10
The reigning European champions will be one of the clear favourites in the betting for their first leg, as City look to become one of a handful of sides to win the European Cup in back-to-back seasons. City were relentless in the group stage after winning all six of their matches in Group G, scoring an incredible 18 goals in the process.
They netted at least three goals in every game that they played in the opening round. However, Copenhagen will be no strangers to being the outsiders in the betting after defying expectations to reach this stage. The Danish side have already beaten Premier League opposition at home this season after beating Man United 4-3 in Group A. But, we struggle to overlook City’s claims on Tuesday.
RB Leipzig vs Real Madrid
- RB Leipzig: 22/10
- Draw: 28/10
- Real Madrid: 12/10
Real Madrid are one of the other sides in the Champions League that are still sporting a perfect record in the competition at this stage. Los Blancos won all six of their matches in Group C, finishing eight points clear of Napoli. They have already won home and away against German opposition this term after beating Union Berlin in the opening round.
Leipzig have often found the top tier clubs too strong in the latter stages of the Champions League, and there was an example of that in the previous round after losing home and away against Man City. Therefore, Real Madrid look a solid bet to land victory in this first leg on Tuesday.
PSG vs Real Sociedad
- PSG: 13/20
- Draw: 31/10
- Real Sociedad: 9/2
The knockout stage is typically where PSG’s European dreams come crashing down, but they do appear to be a more resilient side under Luis Enrique this term. They needed to battle to secure their spot in the next round after losing twice in Group F, but they were excellent in their home matches after beating Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan.
However, a very strong case could be made that Sociedad are the dark horse in the Champions League this term. They were very impressive in Group D after winning three and drawing three of their six matches. Sociedad allowed just two goals, and we could see them upsetting the odds in this first leg on Wednesday.
Lazio vs Bayern Munich
- Lazio: 5/1
- Draw: 34/10
- Bayern Munich: 11/20
Bayern Munich have looked extremely professional in the Champions League to this point, and they look set to be one of the major contenders for glory. The German champions were almost faultless in the opening round, winning five of their six matches in Group A, which included home and away victories against Man United.
Lazio were forced to work incredibly hard to secure their spot in the next round, and they were excellent in their home match against Lazio. But, their league struggles could be challenging to overlook, meaning that the safest play is for Bayern to safely secure a first leg advantage on Wednesday.