Tuesday February 13, 2018
Things are getting exciting in the UEFA Champions League this year. The first leg of the round of 16 matches gets underway on 13th February, when Juventus takes on Tottenham at 7.45pm. At the same time, FC Basel will go head-to-head with Man City to determine the outcome of that match. Chelsea, Liverpool, Roma, Sevilla, and eight other teams will contest the remaining matches in leg one, to be completed on 21st February.
Leg two of the round of 16 matches will begin on 6th March. This is when Paris will take on Real Madrid and Liverpool will take on Porto. With 16 teams all vying to finish in the best positions in the round, no one can be sure who will survive this so-called knockout phase, and who will fall by the wayside.
The outcome of the round of 16 matches will determine which teams will go through to the quarter finals. The second leg of the round of 16 finishes on 14th March, with the draw for the quarter finals occurring just two days later. Again, the quarters will be divided into two legs. Those teams in the first leg will complete their matches on the 3rd and 4th April. The second leg will finish their matches on 10th and 11th April. This takes us into the semis, with the final ready to be played between the top two teams on 26th May at 8.45pm.
By the time the event is over, more than four million spectators will have attended the matches. The team to beat this year is Real Madrid, since they took the title both last year and the year before. Will they make it three in a row? They go up against Paris in the round of 16, so it remains to be seen whether the Parisian team can bring enough talent to the matches to make a difference.
Trying to predict this year’s winner is as difficult as ever. We would be tempted to give Real Madrid the edge, but we suspect we may see a new team crowned as champions this season. Will we be proven correct? Let’s wait and see.