The Champions League knockout stage always produces one super match-up, and this season, when play resumes in February 2013, it’ll be Real Madrid and Manchester United who will provide the major clash in the round of 16 and a special moment for Cristiano Ronaldo, while other big names facing each other feature Arsenal playing Bayern Munich and Barcelona playing AC Milan.
For Barcelona and Milan it’ll be a second consecutive season of battling it out, although if Barcelona were favorites before, I’m not sure there’s even a word to describe the differences in ability and quality between the two sides at the moment. Arsenal, who are struggling both at home and in Europe will have the very difficult challenge of trying to upset the finalists in two of the last three years, comfortably-Bundesliga leading Bayern Munich.
Italian champions and league leaders were probably happy with getting Celtic in their first appearance in the last 16 since 2009. Borussia Dortmund, having to settle for third place in the Bundesliga at the moment but enjoying a very successful European campaign this season were drawn against the very difficult yet fun to watch Shakhtar Donetsk, in a clash that should provide quite a lot of fireworks and great football. The millionaires of PSG face off against the struggling Valencia, in a draw they should be happy with.
First legs will be played on 12–13 & 19–20 February 2013. Galatasaray vs Schalke, Celtic vs Juventus, Arsenal vs Bayern, Shakhtar vs Dortmund, AC Milan vs Barcelona, Real Madrid vs Manchester United, Valencia vs PSG and Porto vs Malaga. Second legs will be played on 5–6 & 12–13 March 2013.