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Champions League and Europa League draws

Matches aren’t until February.

UEFA Europa League 2018/19 Quarter-final, Semi-final and Final Draws
The big bowls full of little balls made their appearance again
Photo by Harold Cunningham - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

The draws for the Champions League round of 16 and Europa League round of 32 were made today. It’s the first time that the 16 teams of the CL have all come from the biggest leagues—4 from Spain, 4 from England, 3 from Italy, 3 from Germany, 2 from France. Since in the round of 16 you can’t play a team from your own league, or a team you played in the group stage, the draw had lots of restrictions around it. Here’s how it came out:

Borussia Dortmund v Paris Saint-Germain

Real Madrid v Manchester City

Atalanta v Valencia

Atletico Madrid v Liverpool

Chelsea v Bayern Munich

Lyon v Juventus

Tottenham Hotspur v Red Bull Leipzig

Napoli v Barcelona

The two ties that will get the most discussion are the ones involving the Madrid sides. The matches won’t be played until mid-February and March, so current form doesn’t mean much, but I figure Valencia have to be happy with their draw, though Atalanta are a lot like Villarreal years ago—a team from a strong league that is having its first CL adventure and making the most of it.

Europa League:

These matches will be played the last two weeks of February. The complete draw is here:

Just focusing on the Spanish sides, Getafe v Ajax is obviously going to be.....well, something. What a contrast in styles. Wolves v Espanyol reunite Nuno Espirito Santo, Wolverhampton’s coach, with Espanyol’s sporting director, Rufete. The two did not get along when Nuno was at Espanyol, that’s for sure. Cluj v Sevilla ought to be easy enough for the nervionenses to navigate, you’d think.

Of the other ties, Olympiacos v Arsenal, Leverkusen v Porto and Eintracht Frankfurt v Salzburg stand out to me.

I do miss those photos of the Villarreal contingent attending the draw......hopefully next year.....