Champions League Power Rankings- Round of 16
With Christmas upon us, that can only mean one thing: there’s still a month and a half until the UEFA Champions League resumes. The group stage concluded Dec. 6, leaving behind only 16 of the most fearsome clubs in Europe. To stay up-to-date during this layoff, check out PRAM’s exhaustive guide to the remaining contenders:
- Last year’s Swiss Super League champions, FC Basel won on the final day of group play to take a spot in the Round of 16 over the Russians of CSKA Moscow. Anchored offensively by forward Dimitri Oberlin’s four goals, Basel averaged nearly two goals per game in group play and the fact that they conceded just five goals is also a good sign. However, the team will match up against red-hot Man City when UCL play resumes in February, spelling their all but certain end.
- Aside from a 5-1 loss to Russian side Spartak Moscow, Sevilla looked like a solid squad in group play, going undefeated in their remaining five matches. Prolific striker Wissam Ben Yedder has torched defenses for a total of six goals so far. While Los Rojiblancos twice went toe-to-toe with a potent Liverpool offense, the lack of any real signature wins (a 2-1 win over Spartak comes closest) should cast doubt on the legitimacy of this team. Matched up against Man U, we’ll soon find that out.
- The Group G runners-up have a legitimate shot at pulling an upset, but Porto will head into next month’s matchup with Liverpool knowing that they have to defend better. With a lone clean sheet against Monaco, the group’s bottom team, the Porto defense will have their hands full with Mohamed Salah & C0. Led by striker Vincent Aboubakar, the lone remaining Portuguese squad can certainly score, but nobody wants to get into a shootout with Liverpool.
- Despite impressively winning a group that featured a host of upstart teams, Beşiktaş found no love from the Round of 16 draw, as they got matched up with the formidable Bayern Munich. The Turkish champions will have to rely on a defense that conceded just five times through six unbeaten matches. The Black Eagles will have some goal scoring ability in forward Cenk Tosun and midfielder Talisca (four goals each), but taking down the giants of German football remains a daunting task.
12. Shakhtar Donetsk
- The reigning Ukrainian champions defeated both Napoli and Man City to advance past the group stage. Despite posting no clean sheets and struggling to find a go-to scorer, Shakhtar will need to rally around the smart play of the midfield—led by one name wonders Marlos and Taison— if they want to upset Roma.
- It’s incredible to see the Italian giants at No. 11, but a frail offense and a Round of 16 draw against red-hot Tottenham will do that to you. Scoring a total of seven goals throughout group play, Juventus had to rely on goals from five different players, none of whom scored more than twice. Gigi Buffon and the defense pitched an impressive three clean sheets, but a 3-0 smacking at the hands of Barcelona still leaves questions as to Juve’s ability to make a deep run against better teams.
- Throughout the group stage, Liverpool’s offense became a force, scoring the second most goals (23) and twice winning by a score of 7-0. Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, and Philippe Coutinho have each scored five goals or more, making for one of the deepest and potent offenses in Champions League. However, their inability to beat a decent team like Sevilla or the elite teams of the Premier League could foreshadow some troubles against Porto or later down the line against the top teams of Europe.
- A shock loss to Roma kept Chelsea from taking the Group C title, and it may serve as the metaphorical deathblow to Chelsea’s UCL title run hopes, as they matched with Barcelona in the Round of 16. Ten different players scored to give the Blues a group-best +16 goal differential, but the defense surrendered eight total goals, six of them to Roma. The reigning Premier League champions have impressed in domestic games this year, but the UCL will be a different animal. To win, they’ll need to play more impressive defense.
8. Manchester United
- Winners of last year’s UEFA Europa League, Man U, seem to have gone back to their winning ways, dispatching of their Group A opponents en route to both the group title and one of the more easier match-ups with Sevilla. The return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic should lead to a boost in an already potent attack led by Romelu Lukaku, and the defense held opposing offenses scoreless thrice.
- A win over Chelsea may have been the most impressive upset in UCL group play, but a pair of unconvincing wins over Azerbaijani squad Qarabag puts Roma in the rare position of being a very beatable group winner. Playing Shakhtar Donetsk in the Round of 16, Roma will luckily have one of the easier paths to the Quarterfinals. Edin Dzeko and Stephan El Shaarawy provide a deadly one-two punch on the attack, and fullback Aleksandar Kolarov has played incredibly well on set pieces. One thing to note about Roma, they seem to have a knack for scoring clutch goals when the pressure’s on.
6. Real Madrid
- Yes, yes, it’s blasphemous to put the perennial powerhouse and defending UCL champions Real Madrid at No. 6, but it’s equally blasphemous the way a team this incredibly talented has played so poorly. Despite beating up on German power Borussia Dortmund and Cypriot side APOEL, Real scrapped together a meager point from two games with Tottenham, causing them to lose the Group H lead. Facing PSG, who have been the most dominant team so far, in the Round of 16, Madrid will have to rely heavily on Christiano Ronaldo and his UCL-best nine goals if they want to advance.
5. Tottenham Hotspur
- Topping a group that featured Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham have proved that they belong in the top five for now. Harry Kane has torched defenses for six UCL goals, and GK Hugo Lloris conceded just four goals to two of the best offenses in the world. However, Spurs will need to defeat their UCL demons, in addition to Juventus, if they are ever to reach their full potential.
4. Bayern Munich
- Bayern received a tough draw in group play, having to battle PSG for the group lead. They may not have won that fight, but they still managed to come out on top with a very winnable matchup against Beşiktaş. Eight different players scored (led by Robert Lewandowski’s three goals), and the defense conceded just six goals. You know the drill: Bayern will only go as deep in the UCL as long as they don’t choke.
3. Paris Saint-Germain
- Boasting the best goals for out of all competitors (25 total) and the best goal differential (+21), PSG have looked even better than Liverpool on offense but without the questions on defense. Neymar and Edinson Cavani both have six goals to lead this incredible offense, and they’ll need to score even more to beat Real Madrid.
- In six group games, Barcelona gave up one goal. One. And it was a meaningless, inconsequential goal that came after 90 minutes of play. This defense is legit, shutting down three capable teams while the offense inflicted a lethal amount of goals on the other end. Lionel Messi & Co. will face their first real offensive threat against Chelsea, but they look more than ready for the fight.
1. Manchester City
- They may not be the greatest in Europe on either side of the ball, but City look like the most well-rounded team in the UCL. If you need proof, look at how Man City pulled off five wins, only losing to a desperate Shakhtar team on the last day of group play. This team has no shortage of offensive weapons, starting with the prolific Raheem Sterling and Sergio Agüero. Pep Guardiola’s side have dominated the Premier League, and its hard to see them folding soon in the UCL.
That’ll do it for the Champions League Round of 16 Power Rankings. Who do you think will win it all next May? Where would you rank these teams? Be sure to tell us all about it and more in the comment section below. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter: @PowerRank_More, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on our Instagram page for all of the latest information from Power Rankings and More.
Published on 12/24/17 at 8:00 AM EST.Share this post on:
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