The group stage ends and in the same final whistle the teams finish shaking hands with the rival while watching the newly completed drums with the corner of their eye. The qualification for the round of 16 cannot be celebrated much because on Monday the draw arrives and it is time to focus on the next opponent. Barcelona and Valencia as group leaders and Real Madrid and Atlético as seconds already analyze with magnifying glass their possible opponents of the round of 16.

LIVERPOOL (Real Madrid and Atlético)

The champion of the last Champions League and the team that nobody wants to measure by watching exhibitions like Anfield’s against Barcelona that still keeps taking the dream away from the Catalans. However, this edition has had more problems than expected to move to eighths. He had to pull his big stars to seal the pass on the last day against Salzburg, who at times came to dream of giving the bell. But if something is unrivaled, the Klopp team is faith. The same that made him champion against Tottenham and the same one that they will surely show in the round of 16 despite his irregular path so far: he has lost more in the European competition (a defeat and a draw) in six games than in 16 of the Premier, where they are being a steamroller taking eight points to their most direct pursuer, Leicester City, and up to 14 to the current English champion, Manchester City of Pep Guardiola.

MANCHESTER CITY (Real Madrid and Atlético)

Despite the bad season of the citizen team in the Premier, his potential makes him a top candidate to win the Champions League. He has re-solved the group stage with solvency and the conjunction of his stars (Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Sterling, De Bruyne, Rodri …), his coach’s board and the multiple desire for revenge after the consecutive European failures that treasures make the City a danger.

The lack of regularity and play that is affecting him in England may have disappeared by February, when the round of 16 matches are played. And Guardiola’s desire to succeed in Europe so many years later can make the blue team focus all its efforts on the competition that resists it. With Silva giving his last blows and the usual plethora of stars, the City will once again be the ball to avoid for group seconds.

BAYERN (Real Madrid and Atlético)

Bayern, a possible rival of Real Madrid and Atlético in the round of 16, presents two faces this season. Intractable in the Champions League, where he has made full, and very vulnerable in the Bundesliga, where he walks in seventh position. In fact, Niko Kovac is no longer the coach of the German team, but Hans-Dieter Flick. Bayern is always scary at Allianz Arena, but this season does not impose as much as City, Liverpool or Juve.

His main weapon, in addition to his pride, is a Robert Lewandowsky who is signing the best numbers of his entire career. The Polish striker has 26 goals in 22 games with Bayern this season, ten of them in the Champions League. It threatens, in fact, Cristiano Ronaldo’s record in the 13-14: 17 goals throughout the Champions League.

PSG (Athletic)

The French team is once again one of the main favorites to win the Champions League. It has block and, possibly, the best individuals next to Barcelona. The problem, the ego of its stars, which can play against it again. But if Neymar and Mbappé are centered, they can go over anyone. This season, in addition, they have taken a competitive leap in goal thanks to Keylor Navas, who has never lost a Champions League tie. Icardi has also been well assembled in the Tuchel scheme, which also has the Cavani sweety, who is not happy with her situation in the team.

The French League, again, has it in your pocket, which you never know if it is good or bad. You can focus on the qualifiers but there are voices that believe that lack of competitiveness in your championship takes its toll on the Champions League. Before Madrid, in the group stage, he swept in Paris and was razed in the Bernabéu. Of course, after 2-2 in Madrid it is clear that they know how to suffer.

JUVE (Real Madrid)

Juve is not the same as last season, in fact it is not a leader in Italy, but it is still a giant that can beat anyone. Real Madrid does not want him even in painting for the Christian effect, which he would not like to see for Santiago Bernabéu. It is also true that the Christian of this season is not even that of Real Madrid. Luso has 8 goals in 17 official matches this season and has only scored one in the Champions League. That is, their worst numbers in a long time.

Yes Dybala has taken a step forward, a player who is making a difference. The core line, with Khedira, Pjanic and Matuidi, is one of the most powerful in Europe, both for football and for physics.

RB LEIPZIG (Real Madrid and Atlético)

RB Leipzig has made history. In their second participation in the tournament, the German team passed as first by successfully beating Benfica, Lyon and Zenit and becoming one of the great desires of the draw. The team led by the very young (32 years) Julian Nagelsmann, one of the preparers with the greatest projection of the planet, marches second in the Bundesliga, to a point of the leader ‘Gladbach’ and has a lot of gunpowder up. Timo Werner (20 goals in 22 games this season) is his great offensive weapon with Forsberg as pitcher. The lanes / laterals Klostermann and Halstenberg are the wings of a very physical and fast block that has settled among the best in German football … and that is already making its mark in Europe.

ATALANTA (Barcelona and Valencia)

Atalanta has been surpassing season and a half. The set of Gian Piero Gasperini was third! after Juventus and Naples in the last Serie A qualifying for the first time in its history for the Champions League. San Siro is his home in the Champions League as his stadium, the Atleti Azzurri d’Italia, is not enabled for maximum continental competition. And they have qualified as second to eighths after losing the first three games and not adding their first win until the penultimate day. The 0-3 in Ukraine against Shakhtar led the eighths to a very recognizable squad. His 3-4-3 is immovable with De Roon at the controls, long lanes and Papu Gómez and Ilicic as attacking mobiles. All nourishing balls to his Colombian duo: Muriel landed from Sevilla in summer and has 10 goals … and Zapata is the killer, although he has been injured, after celebrating 28 goals! last season Some survivors who know what they play.

CHELSEA (Barcelona)

Frank Lampard returned to Chelsea in the summer to lead a convulsive year. The march of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid and the sanction of FIFA without being able to sign in summer opened a new horizon on the Bridge. The legend ‘blue’ gave wings to its youth players (Tomori, Mount, Abraham …) designing a dynamic block that got into eighths as second in a difficult group with Valencia and Ajax. Although they have deflated a little in the Premier (they are fourth, but they are far from the lead) Chelsea is a very recognizable squad with Kanté, Jorginho and Kovacic sending in the core, Pulisic as agitator and Abraham as scorer (13 goals among all tournaments) Azpilicueta is the leader of a group with a lot of muscle. In January they can sign … being able to change the physiognomy of Lampard’s eleven.

NAPLES (Barcelona and Valencia)

The waters carry revolts to the port of the beautiful Italian city, and not because of Vesuvius precisely. The Italian team has just dismissed Carlo Ancelotti despite the qualification for the round of 16 and due to the bad relationship with the board. A huge setback for some players who fully trusted Reggiolo’s coach and will now have to obey the orders of the tough and demanding Gattuso. He will be in charge of raising the spirits to a squad that achieved a great pass to the next round as group seconds behind Liverpool, current champion of the Champions League and which they won on the opening day of the group stage. It will be a very hard bone to crack for any rival due to a very compensated squad with important people in all the lines: Koulibaly and Manolas in defense; Fabian as a star in the center of the field and much artillery in attack with Insigne, Mertens, Lozano, Llorente, Milik …

TOTTENHAM (Barcelona and Valencia)

Mourinho’s arrival gives his Tottenham another air … and another morbidity. With the Portuguese the good results and the defensive solidity have returned to a team that last year was able to reach the Champions League final. And that one of its stars, Eriksen, is not holding its future in the entity more than in doubt. With Son at a stratospheric level and Kane’s constant threat, the London team is a danger to avoid in the draw.

And more taking into account the extra-sports factor that a crossing with Mourinho would have for Barcelona or Valencia. The return of the Portuguese to Spain, who knows if at Camp Nou, would be one of the moments of the football year without a doubt and brings danger to a crossing that would be played with the ball and emotions.

LYON (Barcelona and Valencia)

Lyon got into the last 16 of the Champions League with suspense. It was played on the last day in a very tight group G. He played at home but measured what was already mathematically first group, Leipzig. The Germans made it even more complicated to get a 0-2 in favor, but the French managed to recover and end up tying the match. Benfica also helped them out because they won Zenit, the main rival for the classification. In the end, in the round of 16 and with a very competitive team that becomes strong at home and has Depay as a great reference. However, the French team continues to accuse the departure of its great star, Fekir. Something that has been noticed most in the domestic competition where they march in seventh position.

BORUSSIA DORTMUND (Valencia)

Dortmund’s youthful and shameless style has already cost Barcelona a scare this year and threatens to continue spreading fear throughout Europe. A combination of quality and daring with Thorgan Hazard, Reus and Sancho in the offensive trident, with an outstanding Achraf by both bands, with Witsel recovered for football and a coach who has found the balance between his team’s offensive cravings and needs of work and sacrifice.

The yellow wall squeezes its own and the environmental factor is another fact to keep in mind so as not to want a crossing with the German team, another of the eternal aspirants to give the great bell and that always ends up succumbing and seeing how the great take advantage of the cracks that stand out with his shirt. With this year’s workforce and seeing its growth, it may be a golden opportunity to register Dortmund’s name among the European elite.

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