UEFA Champions League 2012/2013 Last-16 Draw ~ Coverage
The Route to Wembley Starts with luck on December 20: The first footstep forward to Last 16 and hopefully, to Wembley for 2 out of these 16 strong teams.
The biggest shocker surprise of this Group Stage has been the elimination of clubs financed by sugar-daddies. Chelsea became the first reigning UCL Champion to leave at group stage while City gave the worst performance from an English side ever. Also, Zenit bow down in front of the 2 financially depleted sides of Malaga and Milan. All irony!
The 16 teams are divided into 2 pots that's been determined by their ranking in Group Stage. All Group winners; are automatically into Pot No.1 while Group runners-up are in Pot 2. For those who don't know the rules: Clubs from same country cannot be pitted against each other in 1/8 finals and same goes for teams who were in same group. Here are the 16 clubs who made it till here:
Escorp's personal thoughts:
- I'd say Barcelona, Dortmund and Bayern are equal favorites to lift the trophy. Bayern have a terrifying squad and are squashing the Bundesliga. Same for Barcelona with a rampant Messi. And Dortmund has been the most impressive team on the field with their teamplay right now in whole CL (yes, better than Barcelona for now due to much solid defence).
- I'd bracket Madrid, United & Juventus as first-rate challengers to the above trio and to possibly clinch it. Madrid are still have the quest for La Decima as booster in this CL and as in this last 3 years, they do still possess the necessary squad to grab it. They do need to hit the right form physically and mentally (perhaps). United have weak spots; especially defensively but their never-say-die attitude and their will for revenge after last year's setback will delete their complacency in them and turn them (hopefully) into strong challengers. Juventus have been highly impressive to end up first after Norsjaelland shock result. They have shown interesting attitude and play for their return and I think, they'll be dangerous as the campaign will progress.
- Milan, Arsenal & Porto have enormous CL culture and experience. Not sure if that can result in grabbing the trophy in May but it do state that we should always count on these teams.
- Shakhtar, Valencia and Malaga are tricky opponents; with a definite style & squad; and can prove to be surprise packages.
- Shalke and Paris have their chances due to finishing first in their groups but both need some polishing yet for CL stages.
- I don't want to offend Celtic or Galatasaray fans but they look like the fillers right now. Both have fiery stadium support though, so any Pot 1 team can have a tricky hellish trip for the 1st Leg.
- The importance of the the draw can perhaps be seen with the Group Stage. All Pot 1 (except Chelsea) qualify though many finished surprise-second. And remaining teams who qualified were balanced from Group Stage draw; as 3 teams from each other Pots got through.
All matches listed are obviously the Return Leg (2nd Leg) fixtures. Inverse it for the 1st Leg.
Match: FC Schalke 04 (GER) v/s Galatasaray AS (TUR)
Home-Venue: Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Away-Venue: Türk Telekom Arena in Istanbul, Turkey
Date: 20 Feb. 2013 (GAL v SHA) & 12 Mar. 2013 (SHA v GAL)
Match: Juventus (ITA) v/s Celtic FC (SCO)
Home-Venue: Juventus Stadium in Turin, Italy
Away-Venue: Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland
Date: 12 Feb. 2013 (CEL v JUV) & 6 Mar. 2013 (JUV v CEL)
Match: FC Bayern München (GER) v/s Arsenal FC (ENG)
Home-Venue: Allianz Arena [Fußball Arena München] in Munich, Germany
Away-Venue: Emirates Stadium in North London, England
Date: 19 Feb. 2013 (ARS v BAY) & 13 Mar. 2013 (BAY v ARS)
Match: Borussia Dortmund (GER) v/s FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)
Home-Venue: Westfalenstadion [Signal Iduna Park Stadium] in Dortmund, Germany
Away-Venue: Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine
Date: 13 Feb. 2013 (DON v BVB) & 5 Mar. 2013 (DON v BVB)
Match: FC Barcelona (ESP) v/s AC Milan (ITA)
Home-Venue: L'Estadi Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain/Catalunya
Away-Venue: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza [San Siro]in Milan, Italy
Date: 20 Feb. 2013 (MIL v BAR) & 12 Mar. 2013 (BAR v MIL)
Match: Manchester United FC (ENG) v/s Real Madrid CF (ESP)
Home-Venue: Old Trafford in Greater Manchester, England
Away-Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid, Spain
Date: 13 Feb. 2013 (RM v MU) & 5 Mar. 2013 (MU v RM)
Match: Paris Saint-Germain FC (FRA) v/s Valencia CF (ESP)
Home-Venue: Parc des Princes in Paris, France
Away-Venue: Mestalla Stadium in Valencia, Spain
Date: 12 Feb. 2013 (VAL v PSG) & 6 Mar. 2013 (PSG v VAL)
Match: Málaga CF (ESP) v/s FC Porto (POR)
Home-Venue: Estádio do Dragão in Porto, Portugal
Away-Venue: Estadio La Rosaleda in Málaga, Spain
Date: 19 Feb. 2013 (POR v MAL) & 13 Mar. 2013 (MAL v POR)
For Europa League fixtures: Click