Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
The draw for the Last 16 of the 2018/19 Champions League has concluded, with 8 mouth-watering, two-legged continental tussles determined and scheduled for dates in February and March 2019.
The crème de la crème of European club football will contest their Last 16 first legs on the 12th/13th and 19th/20th February, with the crucial second legs set to be played on 5th/6th and 12th/13th March.
With opponents confirmed and itineraries drawn up, clubs can start to dream about lifting Jürg Stadelmann’s iconic trophy next June at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.
The details of this year’s 2018/19 Champions League Last 16 draw are below:
2018/19 Champions League Last 16 draw
Schalke 04 v Manchester City
First leg: February 20th, Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen
Second leg: March 12th, Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Odds to qualify: Schalke 04 – 14/1, Manchester City – 1/14
More: The tie will see City’s Leroy Sane reunited with his old employers. Sane had 2 spells with Schalke (2005-2008 & 2014-2016) before his £46m move to City. Ilkay Gundogan also spent time in Schalke’s youth academy between 1998 and 1999.
Schalke and City have played each other competitively just once before. They shared a Group in the 2008/09 Europa League, and in their only meeting, City left Gelsenkirchen with maximum points after a comfortable 2-0 win. Benjani and Stephen Ireland scored City’s goals.
Atletico Madrid v Juventus
First leg: February 20th, Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid
Second leg: March 12th, Allianz Stadium, Turin
Odds to qualify: Atletico Madrid – 7/4, Juventus – 4/7
More: Atletico Madrid and Juventus were in the same Champions League Group during their respective 2014/15 European campaigns. Atletico beat Juve 1-0 in Madrid and the teams drew 0-0 in the return match in Turin.
Juventus finished behind Atletico in the final group standings that year, though the Old Lady eventually made it all the way to the Final of the competition where they lost 3-1 to Barcelona.
Atlético are unbeaten in their last nine matches against Italian clubs (W7 D2).
Manchester United v Paris St. Germain
First leg: February 12th, Old Trafford, Manchester
Second leg: March 6th, Parc des Princes, Paris
Odds to qualify: Manchester United – 5/2, Paris St. Germain – 3/10
More: Manchester United and Paris St. Germain have never played each other competitively before. Both French players currently on United’s books, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial were born in Parisian suburbs.
PSG’s Argentinean winger Angel Di Maria spent one largely unproductive season at United under Louis Van Gaal in 2014/15.
Tottenham Hotspur v Borussia Dortmund
First leg: February 13th, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
Second leg: March 5th, Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund
Odds to qualify: Tottenham Hotspur – 9/10, Borussia Dortmund – 9/10
More: Borussia Dortmund are renowned for being an explosive attacking team, but the German side conceded fewer goals than any other team in the 2018/19 Champions League Group Stage (2).
Tottenham and Dortmund are familiar foes – they contested the same Champions League Group last season. Spurs beat Dortmund 3-1 in London and 2-1 in Germany.
In the 2015/16 season, the clubs met in the Last 16 of the Europa League. In a reverse of their Champions League fortunes, Dortmund won both legs, coming out on top 3-0 in Germany and 2-1 at White Hart Lane.
Lyon v Barcelona
First leg: February 19th, Groupama Stadium, Lyon
Second leg: March 13th, Nou Camp, Barcelona
Odds to qualify: Lyon – 8/1, Barcelona – 1/6
More: Lyon and Barcelona have faced-off on 6 previous occasions competitively, and 100% of those meetings have taken place in the Champions League between 2001 and 2009.
Barcelona won 4 and drew 2 of those encounters, the most recent of which was a 5-2 annihilation of Les Gones in March 2009. Barca went on to lift the Champions League that season.
Current Barcelona centre back Samuel Umtiti is a Lyon academy graduate. The Cameroon international joined Lyon as a 9-year-old and stayed with the club until his 2016 move to Spain.
Roma v Porto
First leg: February 12th, Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Second leg: March 6th, Estádio do Dragão, Porto
Odds to qualify: Roma – 10/11, Porto – 9/10
More: Roma and Porto played against each other in the 2016/17 Champions League pre-qualification playoffs.
After a 1-1 first leg draw between the teams in Portugal, Porto emerged 4-1 winners on aggregate, after a phenomenal 3-0 win in Rome. Roma played almost 40 minutes with 9 men after Daniele De Rossi and Emerson were sent off.
Ajax v Real Madrid
First leg: February 13th, Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam
Second leg: March 5th, Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Madrid
Odds to qualify: Ajax – 5/1, Real Madrid – 3/10
More: Ajax and Real Madrid went toe-to-toe 6 times in the Champions League between 2010 and 2012. The Spanish giants won on each occasion, racking up 20 goals in the process to Ajax’s 2. The now departed Cristiano Ronaldo scored 7 of those goals.
Real Madrid were beaten twice in their Group en-route to qualifying for the knock-out stages, while Ajax came through their group containing Bayern Munich, Benfica and AEK Athens with their unbeaten status intact.
Even though both Ajax and Real Madrid have enjoyed lengthy periods of success in the Champions League and European Cup, they never actually met in the final of the competition. Ajax did lose a European Cup final at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium however. They were beaten there 4-1 by AC Milan in 1969.
Liverpool v Bayern Munich
First leg: February 19th, Anfield, Liverpool
Second leg: March 13th, Allianz Arena, Munich
Odds to qualify: Liverpool – 4/5, Bayern Munich – 1/1
More: Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has faced Bayern Munich more than any club in his long-spanning managerial career. In his 29 matches against the Bavarians, Klopp has won 9, drawn 4 and lost 16 times.
Liverpool and Bayern have met on 7 previous occasions competitively, with Liverpool winning 2 of those meetings, Bayern 1 and 4 matches ending level.
The most famous encounter between the teams was their two-legged European Cup Semi Final clash in 1981. After a 0-0 first leg draw at Anfield, Liverpool progressed to the final on away goals when they secured a 1-1 draw in Munich in the return fixture.
Keep an eye out for FST’s detailed Champions League match previews, predictions and betting tips for all 8 Last 16 ties.
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