Skip to main content

Champions League Draw Scenarios: Possibilities for Each Club in the Round of 16

Now that we know the 16 clubs advancing to the Champions League knockout stage, it won't be long until we know the highly anticipated matchups in the round of 16. 

All that was left to be determined Thursday was the result of Atalanta-Villarreal, which was postponed a day due to snowy conditions in Bergamo, Italy. The Yellow Submarine took care of business away from home to send the Serie A side packing for the Europa League while claiming the last place in the premier competition's last 16.

The draw for the first knockout round will take place on Monday, with the group winners (Manchester City, Liverpool, Ajax, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Lille, Juventus) in one pot and group runners-up (PSG, Atlético Madrid, Sporting Lisbon, Inter Milan, Benfica, Villarreal, Salzburg, Chelsea) in another. Clubs cannot be drawn against teams from the same nation, nor can they face clubs they played in the group stage. Group winners will head on the road for the first leg before hosting the second.

The first legs will take place Feb. 15-16 and Feb. 22-23, while the second legs will be held March 8-9 and March 15-16 en route to whittling down the field to eight on the road to the final in St. Petersburg. 

Here are the scenarios for each team that has advanced:


Man City: Having won a tough group featuring PSG and RB Leipzig, Manchester City has a pretty favorable draw. Its worst-case scenario would likely be Atlético Madrid, but the Premier League leader can also face Sporting Lisbon, Inter Milan, Benfica, RB Salzburg or Villarreal.

Liverpool: Like Manchester City, Liverpool emerged atop a tough group and can't face reigning champion Chelsea, but it still can face PSG in what would be a nightmare scenario for either team. The Reds can also face Sporting Lisbon, Inter Milan, Benfica, RB Salzburg or Villarreal.

Ajax: Coming from one of the weaker groups and a less formidable league, the Dutch champions have a decent chance of facing a terrible draw, even after a perfect group phase (6-0-0) in which star striker Sébastien Haller scored in each game (10 goals total to lead all scorers). Ajax can face PSG, Atlético Madrid, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Benfica, RB Salzburg or Villarreal.

Real Madrid: Los Blancos overcame a shocking loss to Sheriff Tiraspol to win their group with relative ease. Still, Real has limited options of a favorable matchup, and it will face either PSG, Sporting Lisbon, Chelsea, Benfica or RB Salzburg.

Bayern Munich: The Bundesliga champion is the only German side to make the knockouts, with Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig dropping into the Europa League after third-place finished and Wolfsburg plummeting to last in its group. That means Bayern's draw is wide open with PSG, Atlético Madrid, Sporting Lisbon, Inter Milan, Chelsea, RB Salzburg and Villarreal all in play.

Manchester United: No group winner earned fewer points than Manchester United (Lille also had 11), but the Red Devils will take it in stride. New interim manager Ralf Rangnick will have the chance to face either PSG, Atlético Madrid, Sporting Lisbon, Inter Milan, Benfica or RB Salzburg.

SI Recommends

Lille: The Ligue 1 champions topped their group, but the entire runners-up pot will likely be looking at them as the best possible draw. However, Lille will still have home advantage in the second leg against either Atlético Madrid, Sporting Lisbon, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Benfica or Villarreal.

Juventus: After losing to Chelsea 4-0 in the penultimate group game, Juventus was gifted the group when Zenit scored a stoppage-time equalizer against Chelsea on Wednesday. Juve's reward? A group win and the chance to face PSG, Atlético Madrid, Sporting Lisbon, Benfica, RB Salzburg or Villarreal.


PSG: Along with Chelsea, PSG presents the most problematic matchup as a runner-up, especially with the first leg in Paris. But with Lille winning its group, the potential list is quite scary for the French giants, who could pay a hefty price for failing to beat Man City for first in their group. Their next opponent will be one of Liverpool, Ajax, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United or Juventus. 

Atlético Madrid: Diego Simeone's side did what an El Cholo-coached side does in the group finale: it lived to fight another day. Well, that next day will come against either Manchester City, Ajax, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Juventus or Lille.

Sporting Lisbon: The Portuguese side outlasted a mostly Erling Haaland-less Borussia Dortmund and now must go into the fire against either Manchester City, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Juventus or Lille. How does one say "Please, for the love of God, give us Lille," in Portuguese? 

Inter Milan: Their hated rival, Juventus, winning its group means Inter won't be able to face Chelsea. However, the reigning Serie A champion can still face Manchester City, Liverpool, Ajax, Bayern Munich, Manchester United or Lille.

Benfica: The good news is that the Portuguese giant outlasted Barcelona in its group. The bad news is Benfica knows its next opponent will be quite a tough test with Manchester City, Liverpool, Ajax, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus or Lille as the candidates.

Villarreal: Unai Emery's side could face Manchester City, Liverpool, Ajax, Bayern Munich, Juventus or Lille after securing a second-place finish by dispatching Atalanta.

RB Salzburg: With their win over Sevilla on Wednesday, the Austrian champions will be thrilled to advance to the knockout stage. They are guaranteed a tough matchup with this list of potential draws, though: Manchester City, Liverpool, Ajax, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United or Juventus.

Chelsea: After conceding three goals to an opponent for the second time in four days, the Champions League title holders will now have to suffer the consequences. At least the Blues know their options going into Monday better than anyone with Ajax, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Lille as the only potential draws.

More Soccer Coverage: