Manchester City are hoping to retain the trophy after winning the Champions League last season for the first time in their history (Fabrice COFFRINI)
AFP Sport takes a look at each tie after Monday’s draw for the last 16 of this season’s UEFA Champions League:
FC Porto (POR) v Arsenal (ENG)
Premier League leaders Arsenal will be favourites to reach a first quarter-final since 2010, although Porto have made the last eight three times since then.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners are playing in the competition for the first time since suffering a seventh straight last-16 exit under Arsene Wenger in 2017.
Porto beat Shakhtar Donetsk 5-3 in their final group game to go through, with 40-year-old defender Pepe extending his record as the oldest Champions League goalscorer.
Napoli (ITA) v Barcelona (ESP)
It will be the third meeting in five seasons of these clubs, two of the late Diego Maradona’s former teams. Barcelona won 4-2 on aggregate in the last 16 of the 2019/20 edition, and they also came out on top in the knockout round play-offs of the Europa League two years ago.
Barca topped their group ahead of Porto thanks to a superior head-to-head record, but lost away to both Shakhtar Donetsk and Royal Antwerp. Napoli appear not quite the same force as last season, when they claimed a first Serie A title in 33 years, and came second to Real Madrid in their group after losing twice against the Spaniards.
Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) v Real Sociedad (ESP)
PSG were braced for a tough tie after coming second in their group, so will be relieved at being handed a tie against a Real Sociedad side appearing in the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time in two decades.
The French champions have gone out at this stage in the last two seasons, and in five of the last seven campaigns, but will be hopeful now of advancing to the quarter-finals as they continue their quest to win a first Champions League crown, in what could be their last chance to lift the trophy with Kylian Mbappe as his contract expires in six months.
Real Sociedad look dangerous though. They topped their group ahead of Inter Milan and have only been beaten this season by Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.
Inter Milan (ITA) v Atletico Madrid (ESP)
This is the standout tie, with last season’s beaten finalists Inter currently top of Serie A while Atletico are on the fringes of the title race in La Liga and topped their Champions League group without losing.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone, who this month celebrates 12 years in charge of the club, comes up against a team where he spent two seasons as a player in the 1990s. The first leg will also see Atletico return to San Siro, scene of their defeat on penalties by Real Madrid in the 2016 final.
PSV Eindhoven (NED) v Borussia Dortmund (GER)
Winners of their first 16 Eredivisie games, PSV are a victory away from equalling the best-ever start to a Dutch season, a record they set in 1987-88 — a campaign which ended with the club’s lone European Cup triumph.
PSV boss Peter Bosz will come up against the side who sacked him in 2017 after five months in charge. Inconsistent in Germany this term, Dortmund have produced their best work on the continent, topping a challenging Group F ahead of PSG, AC Milan and Newcastle.
Lazio (ITA) v Bayern Munich (GER)
Mired in the bottom half of Serie A, Lazio meet the same team they faced on their most recent appearance in the last 16 three years ago. Goalkeeper Ivan Provedel delivered one of the standout moments of this season’s competition with his stoppage-time equaliser on matchday one against Atletico Madrid.
Bayern once again sailed through the group stage and will be relying on the goals of Harry Kane — who has scored 24 times in 21 matches — in their quest for a seventh European crown.
FC Copenhagen (DEN) v Manchester City (ENG)
Copenhagen had to come through three two-legged rounds of qualifying to reach the group stage, before home wins over Manchester United and Galatasaray fired them into the last 16 for the first time in 13 years.
The Danes will be massive underdogs against holders City, although Pep Guardiola’s men have struggled at times this season, winning just one of their last six Premier League matches to fall five points behind leaders Arsenal.
RB Leipzig (GER) v Real Madrid (ESP)
Record 14-time European champions Real suffered six successive exits from the competition in the last 16 between 2005 and 2010. Since then, however, they have only gone out in the first knockout round on two occasions.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti is having to deal with an injury crisis this season but they must still be considered one of the favourites to go all the way, especially given Jude Bellingham’s form.
Leipzig, currently third in the Bundesliga, came second in their group behind Manchester City. They were eliminated by City at this stage last season, losing 8-1 on aggregate. That was after they faced Madrid in the group stage, losing in Spain but winning 3-2 at home.