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Power ranking the last 16 teams in this season’s Champions League

Several of the ties remain evenly-poised going into next month’s second legs.

Britain Soccer Champions League Dimatar Berbatov scored for Monaco last night. Source: Matt Dunham

WE’RE HALFWAY THROUGH the Champions League round of 16 after the first legs were completed last night. Monaco’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal was the biggest scoreline of the past nine days, while three matches were won by the odd goal and three more ended in draws so it’s still all to play for. Below, we power-rank the remaining clubs… 

16. Arsenal

When the draw for the knockout stages was made back in December, Gunners fans would have been rubbing their hands together at the prospect of making the quarter-finals for the first time in five years. Currently fourth in France’s Ligue 1, Arsene Wenger’s former club appeared (on paper, at least) to be one of the weakest teams left in the competition.

However, the Londoners were soundly beaten 3-1 after to a shambolic team performance — from goalkeeper David Ospina right through to misfiring striker Olivier Giroud — meaning they are on the brink of yet another early exit.

15. Basel

The Swiss club, managed by former Portugese midfielder Paulo Sousa, came through Group B at the expense of Liverpool and were pitted against Group H winners Porto. Despite only recently returning from their winter break, Basel began strongly and went in front on 11 minutes through Derlis Gonzalez. Despite a dogged defensive performance, they finally conceded via the penalty spot 11 minutes from full-time.

14. Porto

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - FC Basel v FC Porto - St. Jakob-Park Porto's Danilo Luiz da Silva celebrates his goal. Source: Pedro Correia

Porto remain one of three unbeaten teams left in this year’s Champions League after earning a draw at St Jakob Park and will fancy their chances of making the last eight with an away goal to take back to the Estádio do Dragão on 10 March.

13. Schalke

Roberto Di Matteo’s Schalke were unlucky enough to have been pitted against reigning champions Real Madrid for the second year in a row. At the same stage last year, they suffered a 9-2 aggregate defeat and when you consider that, last week’s 2-0 loss in Gelsenkirchen doesn’t look as bad.

12. Shakhtar Donetsk

Playing 750 miles away from their Donbass Arena, which was damaged by shelling during the on-going conflict in the Ukraine, Shakhtar did their chances of causing an upset and knocking out Bayern Munich no harm with 0-0 draw in Lviv.

Made more impressive by the fact it was their first competitive game in 10 weeks, the home team frustrated their German opponents with the usual ultra-calm Xabi Alonso shown a red card

11. Bayer Leverkusen

Germany Soccer Champions League Source: Frank Augstein

Last year’s finalists and La Liga winners Atletico Madrid were favourites going into their tie with Bayer Leverkusen — without a win the knockout stages in their last seven attempts. That run was ended last night, however, as 21-year-old Turkish midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu struck in the second half to earn them a deserved 1-0 win.

10. Borussia Dortmund

They may have climbed off the bottom of the Bundesliga table into 12th, but Borussia Dortmund are enduring a miserable season domestically. In contrast, their European form has been far more respectable. That said, they are blessed to have only lost 2-1 to Juventus on Tuesday night as poor finishing from the Italian champions has offered them a lifeline.

9. Atletico Madrid

Atleti boss Diego Simeone was remaining upbeat after their one-goal defeat at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen and maintains that they are in “a good position” ahead of the return fixture. The 2014 runners-up were left to rue a couple of missed chances but you wouldn’t put it past them turning the tie on its head in three weeks’ time.

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8. Manchester City

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Manchester City v Barcelona - Etihad Stadium Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Luis Suarez was the name on everyone’s lips on Tuesday night as the former Liverpool striker made a goalscoring return to England at the Etihad. Man City were completely outplayed by Barcelona and looked vulnerable at the back where captain Vincent Kompany was at fault for both goals.

However, Sergio Aguero’s second half strike coupled with Lionel Messi’s missed penalty has given them a glimmer of hope.

7. Monaco

The result of the round has to go the men from the principality. There is little doubt that Arsenal were distinctly out-of-sorts but that take nothing away from Leonadro Jardim’s men, who were far superior in defence and more clinical in attack with Geoffrey Kondogbia, Dimitar Berbatov and Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco all on target.

6. Juventus

Juventus should really have secured a cushion greater than one-goal in Turin on Tuesday night but were unable to add to first half goals from Carlos Tevez and Morata despite numerous opportunities to do so in the second 45. A slip by experienced defender Giorgio Chiellini allowed Marco Reus more than enough space to capitalise and pull one back for Dortmund and this one could go either way.

5. Chelsea

Jose Mourinho admitted this side deserved to be beaten by Paris-Saint Germain but added that the tie remains wide open heading back to Stamford Bridge for the return leg on 11 March. In the mean-time, Chelsea must turn attention to another competition as they face Spurs in the Capital One Cup final on Sunday.

4. Paris Saint-Germain

France Soccer Champions League Source: Christophe Ena

The French powerhouses overcame a number of injuries to hold Chelsea to a 1-1 draw at the Parc des Princes last week. Uruguay international Edison Cavani cancelled out Branisav Ivanovic’s opener and PSG looked the likely of the two to add a second in the latter stages with Thibaut Courtois kept busy.

3. Bayern Munich

Pep Guardiola’s first Champions League campaign in charge of Bayern Munich saw them fall at the semi-final and the Spaniard is attempting to go one better by making this year’s final in Berlin. The 0-0 draw in Ukraine was far from ideal but they can set that right in a fortnight.

2. Barcelona

Leo Messi’s failure to score from the penalty spot aside, Barcelona will have come away from Manchester fairly pleased with their night’s work. They bossed possession (with 62% to City’s 38%) and have two vital away goals in the bag thanks to Luis Suarez.

1. Real Madrid

Spain Soccer La Liga Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema. Source: AP/Press Association Images

With Bayern Munich, current holders Real Madrid remain the bookies’ joint-favourites to claim this year’s European Cup at 3/1 and they are good as assured a place in the quarter-finals after the 2-0 away win against Schalke.

Do you agree? 

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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