The European competition enters into the knockout stage next year and it could be described as relatively favourable to the German representatives. From a positive angle, all the German team progressed into the knockout stage for the UEFA Champions League . Current leaders Bayern Munich, last season league champions Borrusia Dortmund and Shalke FC all topped their respective groups and progressed to the next round. This is welcoming as this would improve their coefficient in Europe (4 representatives in Champions League).All teams have been hand a good draw and will for once fancy their chances, more so because all the German teams were the group leaders they will play the first leg away.
Bayern hand and easy draw
Bayern Munich could not wish for a better draw than this, they will be playing against Arsenal who has struggled for consistency in recent years. To be candid the Bavarians is stronger this season than their counterpart in terms of depth of their rooster and they are in the best form of their lives heading into the winter with a nine point lead. Having strengthened their squad with the arrival of Spanish international Javi Matinez who have fitted well in the middle, Mario Madzukic have been able to complement Mario Gomez to form the super Mario’s upfront. Madzukic has scored 10 goals this season. Frank Ribery would bring the additional advantage from the flanks. However the team from London cannot be underestimated – on their day, they can wreck havoc on the opponent. It would be a kind of reunion for German striker Luka Podolski as faces his former club. Bayern would want this game more than ever having lost last year’s finals on home soil.
This could be Dortmund year?
Borrusia Dortmund has been on the ascendency in the last three years, standing on the wings of being back to back champion in the German top flight league. Though the team is currently third on the domestic league scene, they seem to channel their energies in the continent. They have displayed their character and strength by coming on top in the group ahead of Manchester City and European giant Real Madrid. General manager Joachim Watzke heeds caution but is optimistic his team could go through if they play at their best, “We haven´t exactly got our ideal opponents.It’s a tough assignment but we showed during the group stage that we can do well against strong opponents.
Jurgen Klopp would be relying on Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski to inflict pain on their opponent Shaktar Donetsk. Shaktar are the dark horse but have grown in leaps and bound in the last few years. Mircea Lucescu joined the Ukrainian outfit in 2004 – He has successful transformed the team and placed them with the European football landscape. Having won the Europa League in 2008/09 season, they have consistently participate in the Champions League and build on the Europa league exploit by getting to the quarter finals of the 2010/2011 edition of the Champions league. The team boasts of 9 Brazilians on its rooster and will be placing the burden of progressing on Fernandinho who has been linked to Manchester United. From a holistic perspective Dortmund has what it takes to progress further.
Shalke have to pull their weight
The third German representative will be playing against Turkish giant Galatasaray; it would be a reunion for Hermit Altintop who spent several years at Shalke before making the move to Bayern Munich and Real Madrid respectively. Shalke have what it takes in term of the quality in their squad, but have dipped in form on the domestic scene. Currently 7th on the league table, they would have put aside their disappointing home loss to Freiburg and elimination from the DFB Cup at the hand of Mainz. However considering the strength of the opposition it still a very favorable draw for Shalke as they can do it on the big stage, Jens Keller, the interim coach until the end of the season would have draw inspiration from the 2011 semi final exploit of the Champions league.
Round of 16
Galatasaray AŞ (TUR) v FC Schalke 04 (GER)
Celtic FC (SCO) v Juventus (ITA)
Arsenal FC (ENG) v FC Bayern München (GER)
FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) v Borussia Dortmund (GER)
AC Milan (ITA) v FC Barcelona (ESP)
Real Madrid CF (ESP) v Manchester United FC (ENG)
Valencia CF (ESP) v Paris Saint-Germain FC (FRA)
FC Porto (POR) v Málaga CF (ESP)