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Talking points after the Champions League last-16 draw

By December 17, 2018No Comments

The Premier League versus Bundesliga will be a key theme when the Champions League resumes in February, with three Anglo-German ties in the last 16.

Here Press Association Sport looks at five talking points to have come from Friday’s draw.

Klopp to be tested by an old nemesis

Perhaps the stand-out fixture of the draw pairs Premier League leaders Liverpool with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich. The Bavarians have not been their usual dominant self in the league this season and sit third, nine points behind Borussia Dortmund. But they showed their mettle in Europe, cruising through Group E, finishing unbeaten in a group which also included Ajax, Benfica and AEK Athens. Liverpool may be proving unbeatable in the Premier League so far, but Jurgen Klopp’s record against Bayern is not great – he has won nine, drawn four and lost 16 of his 29 meetings.

United to face Parisien test

Manchester United were the only English side not to get German opponents, but the news was hardly favourable as they must take on Paris St Germain. The Parisiens have made dominance of Ligue 1 so routine as to become dull, and European glory is now their primary objective. United will come across their former winger Angel Di Maria, just one of the many big-money signings at a club who have also been linked with offering David De Gea, Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez an Old Trafford escape in recent weeks. The calibre of a side led by Neymar and Edinson Cavani is such that they will start out as heavy favourites to advance, but their pedigree is limited – they have never made it beyond the quarter-finals of the competition.

Struggling Schalke next up for City

Manchester City look to have got the kindest draw with a trip to Gelsenkirchen to face Schalke on the cards. Ten years ago, City became the first English side to beat the Miners in their own stadium, winning a UEFA Cup group game 2-0 through goals from Benjani and Stephen Ireland. Plenty has changed since then of course, but the most recent developments have not been good news for the Germans. They have struggled mightily this season and advanced in Europe despite some miserable domestic form which has left them 13th in the Bundesliga with 15 points from as many games. Two years ago, Schalke sold Leroy Sane to City for a reported £37million, and they must hope the winger – who has been in lethal form this season with eight goals – does not come back to hurt them too much.

Dortmund again for Tottenham

Dortmund may be the Bundesliga leaders, but a last-16 appointment with Borussia Dortmund should hold little fear for Tottenham after they won home and away against the Black and Yellows in the group stages of last year’s competition. Tottenham have supplied plenty of players to Gareth Southgate’s England squad of late, but this match will also see emerging teenage star Jadon Sancho get his chance to impress in club football on these shores.

Ronaldo heading back to Madrid…to face Atletico

The pick of the non-English ties will see Cristiano Ronaldo back in Madrid with Juventus, but to face Atletico rather than Real. The side third in LaLiga will take on the runaway Serie A leaders but will take confidence from this recent history books given they have won seven and drawn two of their last nine matches against Italian opposition.