“With the UEFA Champions League round of 16 fixtures around the corner, we at The VideoScope team will be taking an extensive look into the crazy knockout ties that lie ahead.”
Editor’s Note: Co-written by @kevnissanka and @maefteda
All scores were predicted separately.
Champions League Round of 16 predictions:
FC Barcelona vs PSG
Kevin: FC Barcelona (4) vs PSG (3)
FC Barcelona 3 – PSG 1
PSG 2 – Barcelona 1
Wow. You just had to dunk on all the Barcelona fans didn’t you, Champions League? “Wasn’t our utter humiliating match against Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals enough?” This is the mentality that most Barcelona fans had during the year 2020. Everything went to hell. Leo Messi was rumored out, FCB president Bartomeu was continuing random crazy decisions, Ronald Koeman was appointed manager, Ansu Fati, Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, and several others were sidelined for many months. The shitlist continued. 2021 though? Barcelona have certainly turned it around having won several matches. A lot of comeback wins orchestrated by the heavily criticized Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie De Jong playing out of his skin and FC Barcelona finally found their new center-back starlet in Ronald Araujo. When it comes to Leo Messi, he has finally found his form and is scoring plus assisting like it’s nobody’s business, so maybe the initial fears of 2020 are gone. Maybe, FC Barcelona stands a chance that nobody initially gave them.
Now let’s talk about PSG. They sacked Thomas Tuchel despite him doing a decent job. They brought in former player and superstar coach Mauricio Pochettino in who’s shown promise but it’s still taking time to get the players adjusted to his tactics. Neymar very unluckily got injured and will be missing for this tie, which is also the case with the usually ever-present Angel Di Maria.
So what does PSG need to do to succeed against FC Barcelona? They certainly have things going for them, as a lot of their key defenders and midfielders will be playing the game. Everton’s Moise Kean has been a revelation, even making Mauro Icardi look like a below-average striker. Kylian Mbappé will be the key, considering he has been something of a controversial figure in the Champions League knockout stages. If PSG gets him going, he will absolutely be the reason why PSG goes through.
Mathias: Barcelona (4) vs PSG (2)
Barcelona 3 – PSG 1
PSG 1 – Barcelona 1
On paper the biggest match in the round of 16, but without Neymar and PSG being left with only Kylian Mbappé, this matchup won’t be as star-studded or close as it could have been.
The reason it won’t be all that close, is like usual for Barcelona, Lionel Messi. The Argentinian has finally started to look like himself, after being struggling with a rare lack of form during the group stages. Now he is ready to show that he’s still got it, against the team that might end up with him in the summer.
This is a must win for Barcelona. The league seems to have been lost to Atletico Madrid already and the hopes of a cup trophy are dwindling after a poor defeat in the first leg against another frisky Champions League team from Spain in Sevilla. Going out to Bayern Munich with a gigantic loss was bad enough, but losing to a Messi suitor without their best player and biggest reason Messi would join PSG, would be a very bad look.
I could see Barcelona taking a pretty commanding lead in the first game to make sure they don’t need another 5-1 miracle, but a late goal for PSG at the Camp Nou will keep the 2nd leg exciting. There Barcelona will push on for the away goal and then rest on their laurels all the way to the next round.
Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea
Kevin: Atletico Madrid (3) vs Chelsea (1)
Atletico Madrid 2 – Chelsea 0
Chelsea 1 – Atletico Madrid 1
Atletico Madrid are having one of their best seasons ever. Diego Simeone is a God. They are running away with the La Liga title (unless FC Barcelona or Real Madrid get their lives together). That is all that needs to be said, but you’ve come for predictions. Luis Suarez has been an absolute boss in the league as he’s always been, but still is terrible in the Champions League so there’s some consistency to his play. Atletico Madrid is just so incredibly good this season. Some people think that they should just purposely crash out and focus on the league and win it, but I honestly believe that the quality in the side could go the distance in both competitions.
The Chelsea job is probably one of the worst jobs in the world when it comes to job security. Frank Lampard got sacked after a bad run in the Premier League, but Chelsea did hire Thomas Tuchel and they’ve looked fantastic ever since he arrived. It’s repulsive to think that Hakim Ziyech is constantly benched, considering he’s been Chelsea’s standout player when he’s been given the chance and I hope to see him get more minutes. He is one of the most entertaining players in the game right now. While I think Tuchel is the ideal candidate for Chelsea, I think it’s a little too late to really get Chelsea going against the in-form Atletico Madrid.
Mathias: Atletico Madrid (3) vs Chelsea (1)
Atletico Madrid 1 – Chelsea 0
Chelsea 1 – Atletico Madrid 2
Atletico Madrid have turned into a Spanish powerhouse, totally dominating in the “two team league” of La Liga. They go into this clash against Chelsea as the favorites, despite the London team coming back in form as of late under new manager Thomas Tuchel.
This is where the real tests begin for the German Chelsea manager however, as he’s cleared the first challenge of beating some low level English teams. Now they are up against one of the best teams in Europe, who love playing against ball dominant teams like Tuchel’s Chelsea have been so far.
Luis Suarez is in red hot form and could make it sting for Chelsea yet again. Give him an inch and he’ll bite off yo… he’ll probably score a goal. Look for Atletico to make life difficult in the first game for Chelsea’s ever rotating set of players and get away with a trademark 1-0 win at home. Once they get an away goal at Stamford Bridge, they will win this game rather comfortably against a Chelsea side that could come off rather toothless as they still work out how to play in Thomas Tuchel’s system.
RB Leipzig vs Liverpool
Kevin: Leipzig (2) vs Liverpool (4)
RB Leipzig 2 – Liverpool 2
Liverpool 2 – Leipzig 0
Liverpool being bad is something I thoroughly enjoy. I thrive on it, to be honest. It’s no surprise considering Virgil Van Dijk has missed almost the entire season, Joe Gomez is injured, Joel Matip is injured, and even Trent Alexander Arnold had spells on the sideline. Things are dire for Jürgen Klopp and his men, who have lost 3 matches in a row at Anfield, yet another thing I enjoyed. Mohammed Salah has been decent, Diogo Jota will soon return and Andrew Robertson has been awesome. So maybe there are some pieces in the puzzle that will spark Liverpool’s resurgence. A successful European campaign could be exactly what they need. Something that hasn’t been successful is Alisson in goal. What a disaster. I certainly enjoyed those individual errors too.
RB Leipzig have been a weird side this year. They absolutely got destroyed in one game by Manchester United in the Champions League and have been inconsistent at times in the Bundesliga too. Manchester City loanee, recently turned permanent player, Angeliño, has been a revelation at left-back as he has 8 goals and 11 assists in all competitions… I repeat: as a left-back! I don’t quite understand why Pep Guardiola didn’t let Angeliño play for Manchester City, but it’s too late now. Crazy stat: Angeliño is shared top scorer at RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga, as 5 players all have 4 goals each! If RB Leipzig wants to shock the world, they will have to get the best out of Alexander Sørloth or Yussuf Poulsen, who both have been terrible and not covered the Timo Werner shaped hole in Leipzig’s attack.
Mathias: Leipzig (2) vs Liverpool (5)
Leipzig 1 – Liverpool 3
Liverpool 2 – Leipzig 1
Liverpool have had a terrible start to 2021 and the thought of defending their first ever Premier League title seems impossible. Their refuge could be the Champions League tournament they won just 2 years ago and their first obstacle is the pesky RB Leipzig team that knocked out Manchester United in the group stage.
I don’t expect them to knock out Manchester United’s arch rivals, as Liverpool will be dead set on making Champions League their signature competition once again. Mohamed Salah is finally scoring goals again and Liverpool will for sure try to feed their Egyptian talisman with the chances needed to easily see off a Leipzig team who still lack a Timo Werner replacement.
Klopp will know what to expect from Leipzig’s mastermind Julian Nagelsmann and even with a shameful at best backline, Liverpool should be more than comfortable enough in possession to see off last year’s semi finalists.
Atalanta vs Real Madrid
Kevin: Atalanta (3) vs Real Madrid (4)
Atalanta 2 – Real Madrid 2
Real Madrid 2 – Atalanta 1
This match could honestly go either way. I don’t even feel like writing an extended segment because I honestly am stumped. Real Madrid have been crazily inconsistent and many believe that whatever blood sacrifice Zinedine Zidane made has clearly stopped working. VAR has certainly stopped his tracks in both the Champions League and La Liga. Karim Benzema has been an absolute revelation and has flourished in the last few seasons, saving Real’s bacon several times during this season too.
Atlanta on the other hand have been really fun to watch this season, because everyone is firing on all cylinders and it’s such a welcome sight to see Josip Ilicic back and absolutely destroying it. The only reason I am giving Real Madrid the slight advantage here is the Champions League experience that a lot of the players have in the squad, but honestly… Atalanta could beat Real Madrid, thanks to Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal both being injured.
Mathias: Atalanta (4) vs Real Madrid (4)
Atalanta 4 – Real Madrid 2
Real Madrid 2 – Atalanta 0
Atalanta vs Real Madrid has all the makings of a David vs Goliath story come to football life, but Real Madrid always seem to find a way to win in the league of Champions. It’s hard to know what you’ll get from Atalanta, but it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see them overpower Real Madrid in one game and provide yet another entertaining goal fest. It wouldn’t surprise me to see that happen at home in Bergamo.
However… they will leave Real Madrid just enough to see Karim Benzema & co secure a place in the quarter finals. This matchup will come down to the wire, but Atalanta are still a novice in this game, while Real Madrid have been in these situations many many times before. It’s hard to see Real Madrid going the whole way, but Atalanta is a team they should beat if they wanna avoid a full blown crisis.
Bayern vs Lazio
Kevin: Bayern (6) vs Lazio (2)
Lazio 1 – Bayern 3
Bayern 3 – Lazio 0
Bayern are disgusting. They just signed Dayot Upamecano who is a generational centre-back and are one of the best sides in Europe despite a recent draw against the newly-promoted side, Arminia Bielefeld. They recently also won the sextuple being the only side other than FC Barcelona to achieve this accomplishment. Robert Lewandowski is on the verge of a second
Ballon D’or The Best in a row with his current form. Manuel Neuer has found his form again after several years of being pretty average in goal. On top of that, Bayern have (surprise, surprise) a plethora of young talent that are obviously going to become global superstars like Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, and Tik Tok star, Alphonso Davies. It disgusts me just how well run Bayern are and they could be the next team after Real Madrid to defend their Champions League title.
Lazio on the other hand are in free fall, they have been so inconsistent and are currently 7th in Serie A after a bad loss against Inter. It makes no sense considering they have a good coach, Ciro Immobile has absolutely destroyed the Serie A for several years, and Sergej Milinković-Savić is an absolute beast and would make any team better. For that reason, I think Ciro Immobile will get a goal or two but I think Bayern will destroy Lazio.
Mathias: Bayern (6) vs Lazio (1)
Lazio 1 – Bayern 4
Bayern 2 – Lazio 0
Now this is a version of David vs Goliath where Goliath kicks the shit out of David. Bayern have shown some weaknesses, even as late as their recent 3-3 draw against Arminia Bielefeld, but the should still beat Lazio comfortably.
Don’t be surprised if Lazio get the opening goal though, something Bayern have had a habit of giving away this season. The German giants have also made a habit out of turning an early deficit into an easy victory however, and I think that once again they will do just that.
Bayern just have too much firepower, as they continue to be better and better with Dayot Upamecano joining them after this season. Robert Lewandowski will want to retain his Champions League top scorer status and he has a lot of ground to catch up. This might be the leg to do it in.
Sevilla vs Dortmund
Kevin: Sevilla (4) vs Dortmund (3)
Sevilla 2 – Dortmund 1
Dortmund 2 – Sevilla 2
Dortmund are still a fun team to watch despite them having fired Lucien Favre. Jadon Sancho is finally playing well and Erling Braut Haaland has been kicking all types of ass. I am excited to see this match because Dortmund has much more to prove after firing Favre.
Sevilla on the other hand have been a well-oiled machine, thanks to the efforts of sporting director Monchi who has created an absolutely fabulous side at Sevilla. Jules Koundé has emerged as the next big thing and knowing FC Barcelona or Real Madrid, they will definitely do their best to sign the young Frenchman. Youssef En-Nesyri has been scoring goals for fun and Bono hasn’t conceded a goal in 11 hours. I think Sevilla has a lot more experience and therefore could just about go through, but I honestly could see this go either way. Yet another matchup that hangs in the balance.
Mathias: Sevilla (4) vs Dortmund (1)
Sevilla 2 – Dortmund 0
Dortmund 1 – Sevilla 2
Dortmund have just really really struggled to shore up their defence and concede big chances in almost every game. That’s not something you can do against Julen Lopetegui’s highly organized Sevilla that have been on a roll lately, securing clean sheet after clean sheet.
Striker Youssef En-Nesyri is also in the form of his life, especially now that he’s supplied by the brilliant Papu Gomez, who is one of the best late bloomers football has ever seen. Defensively Sevilla have a wealth of talent that will surely leave for bigger clubs in the summer. Jules Koundé is one of 324 great French centre-backs at the moment, while goalkeeper Yassine Bounou is letting nothing past him at the moment.
Dortmund could surely test Sevilla’s stout defence with obvious firepower of their own in Erling Braut Haaland and Jadon Sancho, but especially the Norwegian has struggled to convert his chances lately, at least judging from what we’re used to. Dortmund will need both of these players to show that they are the two most talented on the pitch if they shall have any chance of getting past Sevilla.
Porto vs Juventus
Kevin: Porto (2) vs Juventus (5)
Porto 1 – Juventus 2
Juventus 3 – Porto 1
While Pirlo hasn’t been amazing as the head coach of Juventus, he certainly has an amazing cast of players. Cristiano Ronaldo is no stranger to the Champions League and certainly helped Juventus find their form in the UCL, even beating FC Barcelona 3-0 away at the Camp Nou and avoiding PSG as they managed to finish first in the group. Alvaro Morata, Paulo Dybala, and Dejan Kulusevski have all been great supporting cast to CR7 and will definitely be trying their best to aid him in his quest for his 6th UCL title. We all know just how well he’s played against Porto in the past, with his goal for Manchester United over a decade ago as the biggest highlight.
Porto have been decent but doesn’t have that extra sizzle to knockout Juventus. Sorry, it seems harsh not to talk about them in length but I will be honest, it is that much of a whitewash that Juventus will have ease beating them. Zaidu Sanusi is amazing though and I hope everyone keeps an eye out on him!
Mathias: Porto (0) vs Juventus (4)
Porto 0 – Juventus 1
Juventus 3 – Porto 0
Pretty standard round of 16 tie for Juventus, who for once look like they could lose their domestic league. Porto are similarly chasing from behind in the Portuguese league, with Sporting Lisbon the surprising clear #1 in Portugal at the moment.
Still, 3rd place in Serie A should beat 2nd place in Portugal any day of the week and Ronaldo could surely be focused on remaining the goal scoring king in the Champions League. Porto who sorely miss Alex Telles as much as he misses them, don’t really have the same punch to offer in the Champions League as they have in recent years. They have rarely gotten through the round of 16 anyway and probably won’t this season either.
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Man City
Borussia Mönchengladbach (1) vs Manchester City (6)
Gladbach 1 – Man City 3
Man City 3 – Gladbach 0
Baldiola. Fraudiola. That is what a bunch of the haters call the genius that is Pep Guardiola who lives rent-free in their heads. Manchester City have been spectacular in 2021 destroying every team that lies ahead, including Liverpool at Anfield. Burnley and Brighton accomplishing the same feat puts a damper on that achievement however. Ilkay Gundogan has been sensational this season and Ruben Dias and John Stones have been phenomenal together creating one of the best center-back pairings in Europe. I think City are going to destroy Gladbach and it won’t be pretty.
Gladbach showed so much promise during the group stages going toe-to-toe with both Real Madrid and Inter Milan but have been dwindling and Marcus Thuram has not been the same since he controversially spat on a Stefan Posch and got a 6 match suspension. Lars Stindl and Florian Neuhaus have played well recently, which is why I back Gladbach to at least score a goal against City.
Mathias: Borussia Mönchengladbach (1) vs Manchester City (7)
Gladbach 1 – Man City 5
Man City 2 – Gladbach 0
Borussia Mönchengladbach surprised many when they beat Real Madrid in the group stage, but as it turned out, it was mostly due to Real Madrid having a really poor season. Don’t get me wrong, Marco Rose has done wonders with Mönchengladbach, which saw him secure the job as manager for Dortmund next season, but coming up against the high flying Manchester City, they will surely struggle.
With both Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero about to return from injuries as well, it will be hard to stop a City team that locked down defensively before they started looking like a proper Pep Guardiola team offensively as well in 2021. That is a dangerous combo for any team that will face them in the Champions League this year, making Manchester City possibly the favorites to win the whole tournament.