Key players, rankings, ones to watch: all you need to know about the 16 teams through.
There are nine former winners among the teams through to the UEFA Champions League round of 16. UEFA.com profiles all these high-flying contenders.
Champions League round of 16 draw
The draw will be streamed live on UEFA.com and on the official UEFA Champions League app from midday CET on Monday. Two seeding pots will be formed: one consisting of the eight group winners (seeded teams) and the other of the eight runners-up (unseeded teams). No team can play a club from their group or any side from their own
UEFA ranking: 17
Group C: winners (W6 D0 L0 F20 A5)
Last season: group stage (UEFA Europa League quarter-finals)
European Cup best: winners (1970/71, 1971/72, 1972/73, 1994/95)
Campaign in ten words: Fearless, dynamic, inventive and relentlessly attack-minded: at home and away.
UEFA.com Ajax reporter: Yet another Ajax side shaped in the totaalvoetbal mould. Every player in the team – keeper included – is comfortable in possession and can take the ball even when under extreme pressure. They switch positions effortlessly, excel at creating and exploiting space, and are committed to flowing, creative football. What’s not to like?
Coach: Erik ten Hag
Ten Hag has done a magnificent job with a squad that is constantly evolving. After taking Ajax to the brink of the Champions League final in 2018/19, he lost many key players that summer, but has simply rebuilt the side: same script, different actors.
Key player: Sébastien Haller
The first player ever to score nine goals in his first five Champions League matches. The Ivory Coast striker has taken to the top tier with aplomb.
Did you know?
Ten-goal Haller is only the second player to score in all six group games in a single season, following in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017/18.
UEFA coefficient ranking: 10
Group B: runners-up (W2 D1 L3 F7 A8)
Last season: round of 16 (L 0-3agg vs Chelsea)
Best European Cup performance: runners-up (1973/74, 2013/14, 2015/16)
Campaign in ten words: Struggled in a tough group but produced when it mattered.
UEFA.com Atlético reporter: A campaign that never really got going until the win against Porto on Matchday 6. A goalless draw with the same opponents on Matchday 1 was followed by a last-gasp win in Milan which did not have the galvanising effect many had anticipated. Successive defeats by Liverpool left them with their backs against the wall, but that’s just how they like it.
Coach: Diego Simeone
Simeone has coached the Rojiblancos to two UEFA Europa League titles, two UEFA Super Cups and two Champions League finals. Last season, he added a second Liga crown to show his powers remain undiminished.
Key player: Luis Suárez
Signed from Barcelona in summer 2020, the Uruguay striker has proved an inspired acquisition. He plundered 21 league goals in 2020/21, the last of them guaranteeing his club would claim their first championship for seven years.
Did you know?
The only time Atleti failed to get out of the Champions League group stage under Simeone, in 2017/18, they went on to win the Europa League.
UEFA ranking: 1
Group E: winners (W6 D0 L0 F22 A3)
Last season: quarter-finals (L on away goals vs Paris)
European Cup best: winners (1973/74, 1974/75, 1975/76, 2000/01, 2012/13, 2019/20)
Campaign in ten words: Scoring freely, hungry and deeply committed to title number seven.
UEFA.com Bayern reporter: Despite all their limitations through injuries and illness this season, it’s been relatively smooth sailing results wise and Bayern will again be major contenders in the spring if they continue to build on this rhythm. The tactical ploys new coach Julian Nagelsmann is currently implementing should also become even more visible as the campaign progresses.0 seconds of 0 secondsVolume 0% Lewandowski’s best Champions League goals
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
The 34-year-old has been diligent as successor to Hansi Flick, overseeing some fine displays and a cruise through the group stage. In 2016, he became the youngest coach in Bundesliga history when he took the Hoffenheim reins aged 28, leading them into the Champions League by finishing fourth the following season. He continued to impress across two seasons at Leipzig prior to joining Bayern last summer.
Key player: Robert Lewandowski
The relentless Polish marksman hit new heights last term, scoring a record 41 German league goals as Bayern sealed a ninth straight championship. He has maintained that form this season with nine goals in six group fixtures and sits third on the list of all-time scorers in the Champions League.
Did you know?
Bayern have extended their record unbeaten streak in Champions League away games to 21 matches.
UEFA ranking: 29
Group E: runners-up (W2 D2 L2 F7 A9)
Last season: third qualifying round (L 1-2 vs PAOK)
European Cup best: winners (1960/61, 1961/62)
Campaign in ten words: Finishing above Barcelona looked impossible but Benfica pulled it off.
UEFA.com Benfica reporter: Group winners Bayern were just too strong, but Benfica – starting the campaign as clear underdogs – finished above Barcelona with the help of an impressive 3-0 win in Lisbon. Darwin Nuñez’s goals, Rafa Silva’s pace and Nicolás Otamendi’s resilience at the back made sure the Eagles got the job done.
Coach: Jorge Jesus
During his first stint, from 2009 to 2015, Jorge Jesus became the most successful coach in the club’s history by winning ten trophies: three Liga titles, a Portuguese Cup, a Super Cup and five League Cups. He returned in 2020.
Key player: João Mário
The 28-year-old won a Portuguese title last term with Sporting CP while on loan from Inter. He only arrived at Benfica in July but has made an instant impact with his organisational skills, vision and ability to dictate the pace of games. “He adds class to the team,” says Jesus of the midfielder, a UEFA EURO 2016 winner with Portugal.
Did you know?
The Lisbon giants have reached seven European Cup finals but have lost their last five (most recently against Milan in 1990).
UEFA ranking: 4
Group H: runners-up (W4 D1 L1 F13 A4)
Last season: winners (W 1-0 vs Man. City)
European Cup best: winners (2011/12, 2020/21)
Campaign in ten words: Defensively outstanding with the attacking variety to challenge the best.
UEFA.com Chelsea reporter: This is some team. Everything Thomas Tuchel touches seems to turn to gold and his side have once again been a joy to watch. The Matchday 2 reverse in Turin aside, they look just as ruthlessly efficient as they were during last season’s knockout phase. It will take something special to stop them.0 seconds of 7 minutes, 49 secondsVolume 0%00:0007:49 All Chelsea’s 2020/21 Champions League goals
Coach: Thomas Tuchel
The coach took over last January and immediately went 14 games unbeaten. The former Mainz and Dortmund boss was a runner-up with Paris in 2020 before going one better with the Blues last season. His Midas touch is yet to desert him.
Key player: Jorginho
The 2020/21 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year is a metronomic presence in midfield who more often than not dictates the tempo of his team and the match.
Did you know?
The Blues had conceded just three goals in 12 Champions League games since Tuchel’s arrival before their 3-3 draw with Zenit on Matchday 6.
UEFA ranking: 24
Group D: runners-up (W3 D1 L2 F8 A5)
Last season: group stage
European Cup best: winners (1963/64, 1964/65, 2009/10)
Campaign in ten words: Strong defensively and creating plenty of opportunities but not clinical.
UEFA.com Inter reporter: Simone Inzaghi’s Inter may be less solid than Antonio Conte’s version, despite the same 3-5-2 system, but the Nerazzurri are certainly playing more attacking football compared with last season. They have missed an incredible number of chances, particularly against Real Madrid and Shakhtar. Should they become more clinical up front, they could go a long way.
Coach: Simone Inzaghi
A Serie A and three-time Coppa Italia winner as a player with Lazio, the 45-year-old also brought a domestic cup to Rome during his five seasons in charge. From a tactical viewpoint, he is another exponent of the 3-5-2, like his predecessor Conte.
Key player: Marcelo Brozović
The Croatian international has the perfect attitude in putting himself at the service of the team both defensively and going forward; indeed he often leads the ‘distance covered’ stats after a game. The key phases of play often go through him and he has the sort of mentality every coach loves. A real leader.
Did you know?
European champions in 2010, Inter have reached the knockout stage for the first time in a decade.
UEFA ranking: 8
Group H: winners (W5 D0 L1 F10 A6)
Last season: round of 16 (L on away goals vs Porto)
European Cup best: winners (1984/85, 1995/96)
Campaign in ten words: Blend of impressive veterans and youngsters with potential; lacking consistency.
UEFA.com Juventus reporter: Massimiliano Allegri rejoined Juventus in May but he is still searching for the magic dust that carried the team to two finals during his first spell. Very inconsistent in Serie A, Juve were impressive with four wins in as many games to start their European campaign but the 4-0 loss at Chelsea on Matchday 5 brought the Bianconeri down to earth.
Coach: Massimiliano Allegri
The 54-year-old returned to the bench with a mission after two sabbatical years. He steered Juve to the Champions League finals of 2015 and 2017 but lost on both occasions.
Key player: Federico Chiesa
After tasting EURO glory with Italy, the winger is continuing his progression and turning into a real leader of this Juve team. He scored the only goal in the crucial victory over Chelsea in Turin.
Did you know?
The Bianconeri have made the final five times since their last triumph in 1996 but are still waiting for a third success in the competition. No club have lost more finals than their seven defeats.
UEFA ranking: 3
Group B: winners (W6 D0 L0 F17 A6)
Last season: quarter-finals (L 1-3agg vs Real Madrid)
European Cup best: winners (1976/77, 1977/78, 1980/81, 1983/84, 2004/05, 2018/19)
Campaign in ten words: A perfect group stage facilitated by an in-form attacking unit.
UEFA.com Liverpool reporter: The Reds have left their challengers for dust, storming to the Group B summit without dropping a point. It’s not been plain sailing, though, as they have had to show some mettle to battle back against top-quality opposition in AC Milan and Atlético.
Coach: Jürgen Klopp
Liverpool boss since 2015, Klopp guided the Reds to continental glory in 2018/19 and to their first English title in 30 years the next season. A striker turned defender at Mainz, he lifted two Bundesliga titles with Dortmund before heading to Anfield.0 seconds of 0 secondsVolume 0% Thiago’s sensational Liverpool strike
Key player: Mohamed Salah
The Egypt forward has been the face of this Liverpool side since arriving from Roma in 2017. A star at Basel, he first landed in England with Chelsea in 2014, but has proved a major talent on Merseyside, his pace, intelligence and finishing helping him bag 32 Champions League goals for the club. He has seemingly gone up another notch this term.
Did you know?
Liverpool have been European champions six times – more than any other English team. That is as many titles as Bayern, with Milan and Real Madrid the only sides to have won more.
UEFA ranking: 62
Group G: winners (W3 D2 L1 F7 A4)
Last season: UEFA Europa League round of 32 (L 2-4agg vs Ajax)
European Cup best: round of 16 (2006/07)
Campaign in ten words: Surprise French champions keen to cause more upsets in Europe.
UEFA.com LOSC reporter: After collecting two points from their opening three games, few would have expected LOSC to reach the last 16. Nevertheless, Jocelyn Gourvennec’s men eventually found their feet at this level, earning their first group stage win in nine years on Matchday 4 and building on that victory to clinch a first knockout round berth since 2006/07.
Coach: Jocelyn Gourvennec
The boss made his name in six seasons with Guingamp, winning the French Cup for only the second time in their history in 2014. He had a second spell there following a stint at Bordeaux and returned to the touchline last summer after two years without a club.
Key player: Jonathan David
The 21-year-old Canada striker was the most expensive player in LOSC’s history when he joined in August 2020 from Gent, and he truly began to deliver during the business end of the club’s French title charge last season. Even more prolific this term, David weighed in with vital goals on Matchdays 4, 5 and 6.
Did you know?
This is just the second time in eight attempts that LOSC have advanced beyond the group stage.
UEFA ranking: 2
Group A: winners (W4 D0 L2 F18 A10)
Last season: runners-up (L 0-1 vs Chelsea)
European Cup best: runners-up (2020/21)
Campaign in ten words: Guardiola’s free-flowing outfit have been mesmerising to watch at times.
UEFA.com Man. City reporter: City have arguably taken their game to another level this season. They came so close to that elusive first title last term and Josep Guardiola has raised the bar once more as he chases a first Champions League triumph since 2011. When on song, their football is peerless.0 seconds of 45 secondsVolume 0%00:0000:45 Watch Man. City’s winner against Paris
Coach: Josep Guardiola
One of the most decorated coaches in the game, the 50-year-old won this competition twice with Barcelona. He has scooped three league titles apiece at the helm of the Catalan club, Bayern and City.
Key player: Kevin De Bruyne
The 30-year-old schemer passed 250 appearances for the club last season and remains a talismanic figure in their midfield despite the riches around him. He has endured something of a stilted campaign but remains key.
Did you know?
Guardiola reached his eighth Champions League semi-final last season – the joint-most in the competition’s history alongside José Mourinho.
UEFA ranking: 9
Group F: winners (W3 D2 L1 F11 A8)
Last season: group stage (UEFA Europa League runners-up)
European Cup best: winners (1967/68, 1998/99, 2007/08)
Campaign in ten words: Ronaldo has brought salvation to a topsy-turvy season so far.
UEFA.com Man. United reporter: Jadon Sancho thumped home his first Red Devils goal to confirm their spot in the knockouts with a game to spare. In the midst of a turbulent Premier League campaign, United recovered from an opening-day upset against Young Boys to stabilise their European season at least.0 seconds of 2 minutes, 26 secondsVolume 0%00:0002:26 Cristiano Ronaldo’s last-gasp goals
Coach: Ralf Rangnick
The 63-year-old ‘professor of football’ has replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjær as United’s interim manager until the end of the season. Having coached clubs including Hoffenheim and Schalke – whom he guided to the semi-finals in 2011 – Rangnick then oversaw Leipzig’s meteoric rise from fourth tier to Bundesliga and Europe’s elite.
Key player: Cristiano Ronaldo
The Portuguese veteran has justified his summer return to Old Trafford, scoring six times in five group appearances. His last-gasp heroics against Villarreal and Atalanta secured United’s last-16 berth.
Did you know?
United have been English champions a record 20 times, but have won only two major trophies – the 2015/16 FA Cup and the 2016/17 UEFA Europa League – since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 after 27 years in charge.
UEFA ranking: 7
Group A: runners-up (W3 D2 L1 F13 A8)
Last season: semi-finals (L 1-4agg vs Man. City)
European Cup best: runners-up (2019/20)
Campaign in ten words: Star-studded team with huge potential still seeking the right balance.
UEFA.com Paris reporter: Despite coming second in their group to Manchester City, Paris remain among the chief contenders for the trophy. The 2019/20 runners-up have everything required to go one better this term – not least attacking talent aplenty in Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi and Neymar – but they must improve their consistency in Europe and Mauricio Pochettino needs to find the best way to support his ‘MNM’ spearhead.0 seconds of 0 secondsVolume 0%00:0000:00 In the Zone: Paris’ counterattack against Leipzig
Coach: Mauricio Pochettino
The brains behind Tottenham’s surprise run to the 2019 final, the Argentinian replaced Tuchel at the Paris helm in January 2020, some 20 years after signing for the club as a defender.
Key player: Kylian Mbappé
Competing for the limelight with Messi, Neymar and Ángel Di María, the France starlet has been the main source of goals for Paris in this season’s tournament, providing devastating runs into the final third, assists and lethal finishes.
Did you know?
When Paris overcame Bayern in the 2020/21 quarter-finals, it was the first instance in Champions League history of the previous season’s runners-up eliminating the holders in the knockout stage.
UEFA ranking: 5
Group D: winners (W5 D0 L1 F14 A3)
Last season: semi-finals (L 1-3agg vs Chelsea)
European Cup best: winners (1955/56, 1956/57, 1957/58, 1958/59, 1959/60, 1965/66, 1997/98, 1999/2000, 2001/02, 2013/14, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18)
Campaign in ten words: Looking ominously back to their best after a shaky start.
UEFA.com Real Madrid reporter: Madrid’s strong form on the road – three wins, nine goals, none conceded – underpinned their progress. With Karim Benzema and Vinícius Júnior delivering the goods, the Merengues could afford a surprise stumble at home to debutants Sheriff. Madrid are where they want to be, and from here they’re always a threat.
Coach: Carlo Ancelotti
The manager who steered Madrid to ‘La Décima’ in 2014 returned last summer for a second stint in charge. He is one of just three coaches to have won the European Cup/Champions League on three occasions.
Key player: Karim Benzema
Many people wondered where Real Madrid’s goals would come from when Cristiano Ronaldo left in 2018, but the France forward has more than stepped up to the plate to become the club’s talisman. Fittingly, he scored Madrid’s 1,000th European Cup goal against Shakhtar earlier this campaign.
Did you know?
Madrid have never failed to make it through the group stage of the Champions League.
UEFA ranking: 22
Group G: runners-up (W3 D1 L2 F8 A6)
Last season: group stage (UEFA Europa League round of 32)
European Cup best: group stage (1994/95, 2019/20, 2020/21, 2021/22)
Campaign in ten words: Nerves jangled after a brilliant start, but potential is there.
UEFA.com Salzburg reporter: Salzburg looked to be cruising after taking seven points from their first three games, but faltered as they prepared to take the final step towards the knockouts. Results have not been quite as sparkling since November, but this exciting young team will be a force to be reckoned with once they regain their composure.
Coach: Matthias Jaissle
It was a considerable surprise when Salzburg announced that a 33-year-old former Hoffenheim defender, who had never coached a top-flight team, would be their new boss last summer. He made the move up after two years in command of their U18s.
Key player: Karim Adeyemi
The striker has big boots to fill but could be the next top-class forward to come off the Salzburg production line, after Patson Daka and Erling Haaland. The 19-year-old is quick, versatile and shows no mercy in front of goal. He has also worked his way into the senior Germany team.
One to watch: Luka Sučić
What the 19-year-old midfielder lacks in experience, he makes up for in quality. Already a central component in Salzburg’s system, his success in the Champions League earned him a first cap for Croatia.
Did you know?
Salzburg have made it to the round of 16 for the first time in their history; they reached the final of the UEFA Cup in 1994, losing 2-0 on aggregate to Inter.
UEFA ranking: 28
Group C: runners-up (W3 D0 L3 F14 A12)
Last season: UEFA Europa League play-offs (L 1-4 vs LASK)
European Cup best: quarter-finals (1982/83)
Campaign in ten words: Mightily impressive recovery after September setbacks for vibrant young side.
UEFA.com Sporting reporter: The outlook was bleak after the Lions opened their first group stage in four years with back-to-back defeats but three straight wins – and big ones at that – saw them through to the knockouts for only the second time. Some debut campaign for 37-year-old coach Rúben Amorim.
Coach: Rúben Amorim
The former Portugal midfielder masterminded Sporting’s first Liga title in 19 years during his first full season as coach. The Lions set a league record for the longest unbeaten sequence in a single campaign – 32 matches unbowed – and dispatched Braga in the League Cup final.
Key player: Pedro Gonçalves
He had netted just seven career goals for Famalicão before joining Sporting in August 2020 but ended his first term in Lisbon as the league’s top scorer with 23. The 23-year-old started this campaign in similar form after winning his first two Portugal caps in June.
Did you know?
Sporting had progressed from the group stage on only one of their eight previous attempts in the Champions League era.
UEFA coefficient ranking: 21
Group F: runners-up (W3 D1 L2 F12 A9)
Last season: UEFA Europa League winners (W on penalties vs Man. United)
Best European Cup performance: semi-finals (2005/06)
Campaign in ten words: Lack of a finisher nearly cost them a knockout place.
UEFA.com Villarreal reporter: The Yellow Submarine played some excellent football during the group stage, in particular dominating Manchester United for large swathes at Old Trafford. Gerard Moreno’s injury issues meant that they lacked a natural goalscorer, which cost them dearly on more than one occasion, but they got the job done.
Coach: Unai Emery
The former Almería and Valencia coach made the Europa League his own with a hat-trick of successes at Sevilla. Led Paris to the treble in 2017/18 and Arsenal to a European final a year later, before joining Villarreal in summer 2020 – and promptly winning the Europa League again.
Key player: Arnaut Danjuma
A summer arrival from the English second tier might not have had fans overly excited, but the Dutchman has been a revelation both domestically and in Europe for Villarreal, terrorising defences with his skill, pace and directness – as well as his eye for goal.
Did you know?
Just under half of Villarreal’s 52,000 inhabitants can fit inside their 23,500-seater stadium.