The Champions League is now down to 16 teams, with all of the big-hitters having safely negotiated their way through the group phase. Still, the final Matchday this week was not short on drama. English champions Manchester City won at Roma to complete a miraculous turnaround in Group E, while Basel held Liverpool to a draw at Anfield to move on instead of the five-time European champions. Elsewhere, Schalke snuck through at the expense of Sporting Lisbon.
All eyes now turn to the draw for the first knockout round, set to take place in Nyon, Switzerland, on Monday Dec. 15 at 6 a.m. EST. The eight group winners will be drawn against the eight runners-up, with the only proviso being that clubs can’t play a team from their group or their own domestic league. Here’s a look at the possible opponents, betting odds and prospects for each side.
Who they can face: Arsenal, Basel, Bayer Leverkusen, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Schalke and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Betting Odds: 18/1 (provided by Bovada.lv)
Prospects: After beginning the group phase with a shock defeat at Olympiakos, last year’s runners-up didn’t drop a further point until facing Juventus when their progress was already secured. Despite being forced to rebuild the squad after several big-name departures, Atletico remain a ferociously tough opponent that none of the contenders will be eager to face at any stage.
Who they can face: Arsenal, Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Schalke and Shakhtar Donetsk
Betting odds: 3/1
Prospects: After claiming their long-coveted 10th European Cup in May, the continent’s most successful club have begun this campaign in devastating fashion, winning all six group games as part of a Spanish record 19-match winning run in all competitions. Doubts still remain about whether such an offensive-minded lineup can carry the defensive workload when up against the very vest sides, however. Still, while Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain would pose a threat, that theory is unlikely to be tested in the next round.
Who they can face: Arsenal, Basel, Juventus, Manchester City, Schalke, Shakhtar
Betting odds: 125/1
Prospects: Undoubtedly the most surprising group winner, and unquestionably the team that all the runners-up will be keen to take on in the last 16. A side shorn of its best players last summer progressed despite scoring just four goals, thanks to conceding just once. Their limitations could well be exposed in the next round.
Who they can face: Basel, Juventus, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Shakhtar Donetsk
Betting odds: 25/1
Prospects: Dortmund’s impressive Champions League performances have been in sharp contrast to their woeful start to the Bundesliga season. A repeat of their run to the final of two seasons ago appears unlikely, and a tricky last 16 tie could be on the cards. Still, if Jurgen Klopp can get a fully fit squad, they could spring an upset or two.
Who they can face: Arsenal, Basel, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Shakhtar Donetsk
Betting odds: 3/1
Prospects: Bayern Munich strolled through a potentially tough group and will fear no one in the last 16. Pep Guardiola’s side reached its peak with a tactically brilliant 7-1 dismantling of Roma and if they can maintain that momentum, in contrast to their drop off at the season’s climax last year, they will be hard to stop.
Who they can face: Arsenal, Basel, Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus, Manchester City, Schalke and Shaktar Donetsk
Betting odds: 9/2
Prospects: The Catalans are still not the force of the dominant side that won two Champions League titles in three seasons, while the famed front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez remains a work in progress. However, if Luis Enrique can get the balance right, both up front and with the rest of the lineup, Barcelona could yet pose a considerable threat. No side will want them in the last 16.
Who they can face: Basel, Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Shakhtar Donetsk
Betting odds: 11/2
Prospects: Unbeaten this season in all competitions until last weekend, Chelsea have a real chance to deliver Jose Mourinho a Champions League title with a third different club. Solid when they need to be and with creativity and efficiency in attack, Chelsea are now a complete side and surely only an exceptional performance can stop the Premier League leaders.
Who they can face: Arsenal, Basel, Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Schalke
Betting odds: 50/1
Prospects: Porto may get little attention, but they have gone through the group phase unbeaten and are wily campaigners in Europe. Continued excellence in recruitment means another crop of talent could, if underestimated, cause a danger to some of the far wealthier potential opponents in the next round.
Who they can face: Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Monaco, Porto and Real Madrid
Betting odds: 28/1
Prospects: Juventus managed to avoid a disastrous repeat of their group stage exit last season, but the Italian champions still did little to convince they could make a real mark on the Champions League. With Carlos Tevez and Paul Pogba going strong they could certainly advance to the last eight. Much, though, will depend on their draw, with the likelihood being that they will face an opponent that will bring an end to their run.
Who they can face: Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Monaco, Porto
Betting odds: 150/1
Prospects: Basel’s recent European record always suggested that it would be wrong to take them lightly in a group featuring the winners of a combined 15 European Cups. Still, while they got past a poor Liverpool side, only a draw with Monaco will present a realistic route to the quarterfinals.
Who they can face: Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Porto and Real Madrid
Betting odds: 80/1
Prospects: Leverkusen sneaked past Zenit St Petersburg to get into the last 16 for the second successive year. Once again, however, the Bundesliga side are likely be eliminated before the quarterfinals come around.
Who they can face: Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Monaco, Porto, Real Madrid
Betting odds: 25/1
Prospects: Arsenal have again been left with regrets at finishing second rather than first in their group. For the past four years that fate has cost them a tough draw in the last 16 and swift elimination. A repeat could well be on the cards, with Arsene Wenger’s men still lacking the discipline and resolve without the ball to challenge Europe’s best.
Who they can face: Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Monaco, Porto and Real Madrid
Betting odds: 12/1
Prospects: Having taken just two points from their first four games, Manchester City’s befuddling failure to embrace the Champions League looked set to continue. Instead, a late win over Bayern Munich was followed by a memorable victory at Roma. Could it be a turning point for City in Europe? On their day they can be a match for any side, but a fragile mentality and Manuel Pellegrini’s questionable tactical acumen mean making a real impression in Europe may remain beyond them.
Who they can face: Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea Porto, Real Madrid
Betting odds: 18/1
Prospects: Personnel-wise there are few better teams in Europe, as they showed when beating Barcelona 3-2 early in the group stage. They should have reached the semifinals last season, but Laurent Blanc’s coaching fell short against Chelsea, and will likely again prevent them from making the last four for the first time in 20 years this season. A loss to Barcelona in the final round of the group phase could prove crucial, with PSG likely to be underdogs against four of their six possible last-16 opponents.
Who they can face: Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Monaco, Porto and Real Madrid
Betting odds: 200/1
Prospects: Roberto di Matteo was thrown in as coach during the group phase and successfully qualified the Bundesliga side. Yet, despite helping Chelsea to the Champions League in 2012 as interim coach, he has yet to convince as a manager. Only drawing Monaco vould offer Schalke a route to the last eight.
Who they can face: Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Monaco, Real Madrid
Betting odds: 125/1
Prospects: Shakhtar progressed behind Porto, despite the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine meaning that they had to play their home games 600 miles away from Donetsk, in Lviv. That venue could still offer significant home comfort, though, with no visiting team likely to relish a trip to an ice cold Ukraine for a last 16 tie in February. Veteran coach Mircea Lucescu has some quality talent at his disposal, again much of it is Brazilian, including striker Luiz Adriano, who equaled Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of scoring nine goals in the group phase.