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The Round of 16 is in Full Effect

The Round of 16 is in Full Effect

The time of year has come when soccer fans all over the world become glued to their television sets and become even more invested in their favorite soccer clubs. The round of sixteen of the Champions League is officially here as the first leg wrapped up on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

The round of sixteen in the Champions League consists of eight games, which take place over a span of two weeks—four different days, two games each day. The round of sixteen draw took place in early December, and for the past two months, the sixteen teams have been preparing to face their opponents. There are two legs in the round of sixteen, which gives each team a chance to act as the home team and as the away team. Aggregate scoring is therefore enforced where away goals count twice as much as home goals.

On Feb. 13, Basel hosted Manchester City at St. Jakob Park. The end result was 0-4 in Man City’s favor, which puts Basel in a tough spot for the second leg. The other game on Feb. 13 featured Tottenham traveling to Juventus . This game finished in a 2-2 draw, which means that Tottenham is ahead going into the second leg in aggregate scoring since they were the visiting team. According to the statistics of teams and first leg scores, FiveThirtyEight has formed for the rest of the Champions League tournament. According to the chart, Man City has all but guaranteed their spot in the quarterfinals, while Juventus is at a slight disadvantage going into their second leg at Tottenham since they are technically down 4-2 in aggregate scoring.

Feb. 14 featured another few round of sixteen matchups. Real Madrid faced off against Paris St. Germain (PSG) in Madrid while Porto hosted Liverpool. Real Madrid took advantage of their home field with a 3-1 win over PSG, which puts them in a good position to advance after the second leg. With aggregate scoring, PSG is only down one goal. However, it does mean there is not a lot of wiggle room for the team when it comes time for their home match. In the second game, Liverpool dominated at Porto with a 5-0 finish, which (especially considering aggregate) puts them in a comfortable position going into the second leg. The team has all but guaranteed their spot in the quarterfinals.

One week later, the Champions League was back in action. On Feb. 20, FC Bayern Munich hosted Besiktas at Allianz Arena, while Chelsea hosted FC Barcelona in London. Bayern took care of their home match against the Turkish team with a 5-0 end score on the match. Although their second leg is their away match, there is little doubt that they will pass on to the quarterfinals. In fact, FiveThirtyEight’s chart says the club has over a 99% chance of making it to the next round. Chelsea and Barcelona’s match was a constant back and forth, and the game ended in a 1-1 tie. This puts Barcelona at a slight advantage going into their home match in the second leg, and the probability chart has the team at an 89% chance of advancing to the next leg. ESPN sports writers submitted their predictions for the round of 16, and all of the writers chose Barcelona to move on to the quarterfinals.

The last pair of games was played on Feb. 21. FC Shakhtar Donetsk, a member of the Ukrainian premier league, hosted A.S. Roma. Also, Sevilla FC hosted Manchester United in Seville. Shakhtar held Roma off and ended the game with a 2-1 score in their favor; however, this really puts Roma even with Shakhtar going into the second leg since they were away for leg one. The probability chart has the odds at nearly 50-50 in the second leg for these two teams, and the ESPN writers were split. Eight writers chose Roma, and five tabbed Shakhtar. On the other hand, Sevilla and Man. U, finished their game at a clean 0-0, which is good for Sevilla going into the second leg because a tie would end in their favor. Regardless of the ins and outs of aggregate scoring, Man. U is favored going into the second leg according to the trusty probability chart as well as many of the ESPN writers (9 of the 13).

The second leg for the Champions League round of sixteen will kick off on Tuesday, March 6, with games also on March 7, 13 and 14. For the second leg, the same teams will play each other for a second time, but this time, clubs who were originally home during the first leg will now be away, and vice versa.


*Photo courtesy of Pedro Monteverde*

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