The long wait is finally over. Champions League soccer is back with some extremely appealing match-ups in the round of 16.
All the usual suspects have made it to the pre-quarterfinals, from Real Madrid to Manchester United, AC Milan to Barcelona. In some cases, we won’t have to wait any longer for appealing pairings (like Real Mdrid-Roma, AC Milan-Arsenal)
Here are the Round of 16 pairings (home-and-home series), which begin this week:
- Inter Milan at Liverpool
- Real Madrid at Roma
- Chelsea at Olympiakos
- FC Porto at Schalke 04
- AC Milan at Arsenal
- Manchester United at Lyon
- Barcelona at Celtic
- Sevilla at Fenerbahce
Wondering where you can watch the games? Need some info on the match-ups? Here is some information on all four series that begin on Tuesday.
INTER MILAN at LIVERPOOL
Game 1-Tuesday, ESPN2 (2:30pm), ESPN360.com (2:30pm)
Match-up to watch: Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs. Jamie Carragher. Can Carragher and company really slow down the Swedish assassin? Doubt it. Considering Liverpool’s struggles offensively, you wonder how the Reds are going to crack Inter’s stingy defense.
REAL MADRID at ROMA
Game 1- Tuesday, ESPN Deportes (2:30pm), ESPN Classic (5pm), ESPN360.com (2:30pm, live)
Match-up to watch: Francesco Totti vs. Fabio Cannavarro. The World Cup winning teammates square off in what could be a testy encounter. With no Wesley Sneijder or Robinho, Real Madrid is going to have a tough time in Rome, though Roma is going through its own struggles.
CHELSEA AT OLYMPIAKOS
Game 1- Tuesday, 2:30pm
Match-up to watch: Ieroklis Stoltidis vs. Frank Lampard. The battle of the midfield will be key to this series and Lampard should have a tough time with his lesser known opponent. Stoltidis is a scoring threat and bulldog midfielder.
FC PORTO AT SCHALKE 04
Game 1- Tuesday, 2:30pm
Match-up to watch: Rafinha vs. Ricardo Quaresma. The Porto attack runs through Quaresma, but the dangerous Portuguese winger will face a worthy opponent in Schalke right back Rafinha.
How do you I see the games going? Here are my predictions:
- Inter Milan 1, Liverpool 0
- Roma 2, Real Madrid 1
- Olympiakos 1, Chelsea 0
- Schalke 04 1, Porto 1
Which game are you most looking forward to? I would have said Real Madrid-Roma a month ago but both teams have hit skids. Inter-Liverpool has the added drama of Rafa Benitez’s potential firing so it will be interesting to see how Liverpool responds to the FA Cup loss to Barnsley.
Share your thoughts on the Champions League Round of 16 below