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Which Team Will Manchester City Face in Champions League Round of 16?

A Look at the Potential Opponents in the UCL

Manchester City v Chelsea - UEFA Champions League - Final - Estadio do Dragao Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images

With the group stage of the Champions League now concluded, attention shifts to the round of 16 fixtures.

Having finished top of Group A ahead of Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City marched into the knockout phase as one of the seeded teams.

But which team will the Blues face?

According to competition rules, they cannot face other seeded teams as well as any English side in the next round. Seeded teams are those that topped their group. These include Bayern Munich, Juventus, Ajax, Lille, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester United.

They cannot also face Paris Saint-Germain having emerged from the same group.

That means City could face one of Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, Red Bull Salzburg, Sporting Lisbon, Benfica or Villarreal.

Inter Milan

The Italian side was second best to Real Madrid in Group D losing home and away to the Spanish giants. But they have done enough to show they can compete against any top team.

Parading former City forward Edin Dzeko, The Black and Blues are an experienced side and can hurt any team, so they cannot be taken for granted.

Atletico Madrid

The reigning Spanish champions struggled to make it into the next round but will be a tough opponent to face. That’s because of their experience in the competition and quality.

Any team with players like Luis Suarez, Joao Felix, Yannick Carrasco and Antoinne Griezmann cannot be taken lightly.

Diego Simeone and his team will want to quickly put their group stage struggles behind them and prepare well for the next round.

That will make their game with any top seeded team (including Man City) a tough encounter. They are probably the toughest opponents City could face.

Red Bull Salzburg

It’s not surprising to find the Austrian side in the round of 16 given the group the Red Bulls emerged from.

In a group consisting of Sevilla, Lille, Wolfsburg and Red Bull Salzburg, it was anybody’s game. The Spanish side was expected to make it out of the group but failed to do so. French side Lille emerged top with Red Bull Salzburg finishing second.

The newcomers find themselves in unfamiliar territory and will be happy to have come this far.

Sporting Lisbon

The reigning Portuguese champions took advantage of Borussia Dortmund’s inconsistency to sneak into the knockout stage ahead of the German side.

But their performance in the competition so far has not been impressive. They squeezed through with nine points after beating Group C’s weakling Besiktas home and away while getting a win against Dortmund.

Based on that, on paper, they will represent an easy opponent. But football is not played on paper.

Benfica

Another Portuguese side that surprisingly made it to the knockout stage. Barcelona were expected to battle for top spot in Group E with Bayern Munich. But the Spanish giants are currently facing problems on and off the pitch.

A win and a draw against the Blaugrana sealed their fate. Parading some experienced former Premier League stars including the familiar Nicolas Otamendi, the Eagles should not be underrated.

Villarreal

The Spanish side won the Europa League last season at the expense of Manchester United. Coached by Unai Emery who is quite experienced in that competition, the Yellow Submarines could be a tricky opposition.

But the team has been struggling in La Liga this season and barely scaled through to the round of 16 after a 3-2 win at Atalanta.

They should not pose a big problem for City given their current form.

Important Changes

Beginning from this season, the away goals rule has been eliminated. So if a tie is level in terms of goals scored by both teams over two legs, the game will go to extra time irrespective of the number of goals each team has scored at home and away.

Where the teams are still level after the additional 30 minutes, the game goes into a penalty shoot-out to determine which team progresses to the next round.

This will be a welcome development for City who were knocked out of the competition by Tottenham in 2019 due to the away goals rule.

The draw for the knockout games will be held on Monday December 13, 2021. The time and venue will be at 11am GMT / 6am ET at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

As is usually the case, ties will take place over two legs, with seeded teams playing the second leg at home.

Therefore, City will play their first leg away from home.