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UCL Begins

Currently after the end of the first legs of the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League, many interesting contests remain to be replayed. 


Here are our predictions for who will advance and who will become the eventual champion.


Benfica vs. Club Brugge


Away from home, Benfica easily dismantled Club Brugge 2-0 in the first leg. Benfica is currently leading Primeira Liga by a significant margin and has never looked out of place throughout any of this season’s competitions. On the other hand, Club Brugge looks anything but comfortable. They sit 4th in the Belgian League, and seem destined for a round of 16 exit.


Prediction: Benfica


Chelsea vs. Dortmund


The first leg was not spectacular, with the sole goal coming from Dortmund’s Karim Adeyemi, however, the second leg should be quite a contest. Chelsea has spent by far the most of any club in the past year under new owner Todd Boehly. Despite this, the results have been subpar. Chelsea sits 10th in the Premier League, having won just one out of their last ten matches. Graham Potter will be under serious pressure if they cannot progress in the Champions league. Dortmund has been on fire, equal on points with Bayern Munich in the German Bundesliga.


Prediction: Dortmund


Bayern Munich vs. PSG


Much like the Real Madrid vs. PSG matchup of last year’s Round of 16, this second leg should be fiery and exciting. A rematch of the 2020 Champions League Final, PSG will be looking for revenge, as they seek their first Champions League title. While the Messi and Mbappe tandem shall be powerful, Neymar will miss the match up with an injury, preventing the entire first team lineup from playing. Bayern remains strong as always, co-leading the Bundesliga. Importantly, Bayern lead on aggregate 1-0 after the first matchup in Paris, courtesy of former PSG player and 2020 Champions League Final scorer Kingsley Coman.


Prediction: Bayern Munich


Tottenham Hotspur vs. AC Milan


Tottenham is a very fickle team. In the past month, they have beaten Manchester City, Chelsea, and West Ham. They have also been destroyed by Leicester City in the Premier League and knocked out of the FA Cup by second-tier English league squad Sheffield United. After going through a rough patch early in 2023, Milan has won their last four games. Going into the second leg with an aggregate lead will inspire some hope in Milanese fans.


Prediction: AC Milan


Porto vs. Inter Milan


Coming off a successful season, Inter has underperformed this season. They sit 3rd in Serie A, 18 points off of leaders Napoli. Likewise, Porto also not continued their dominance in Primeira Liga, finding themselves 8 points behind Benfica. Despite the troubles of the season, Inter retains a 1 goal aggregate lead and with a host of attacking talent like Lautaro Martinez, Romelu Lukaku, and Edin Dzeko, Inter remain the favorites.


Prediction: Inter Milan


Man City vs. RB Leipzig


Man City has been a juggernaut in European football for the past decade, with the exception of winning the UCL itself. In the Premier League this year, Man City has also been formidable, perhaps a little weaker than usual even with the addition of Erling Haaland. However, they are even with RB Leipzig on aggregate after the first match. Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku was absent for much of the first leg but his return from injury could spur Leipzig to an upset victory.


Prediction: RB Leipzig


Napoli vs. Eintracht Frankfurt


Napoli may have the best chance of advancing out of any team going into the second leg of the Round of 16. They are up 2-0 on aggregate, with the second leg being played at home. Napoli looks like an overwhelming favorite to win Serie A, with a current lead of 18 points. Eintracht’s Kolo Muani, star of the French World Cup team, received a red card, putting him out for the second leg. Napoli should see little trouble in advancing to the quarter-finals.


Prediction: Napoli


Real Madrid vs. Liverpool


A classic UCL rematch. The 2018 final, 2020 knockouts, and 2022 final. In all of these contests, Real Madrid has had the upper hand. They have retained that upper hand in the first leg by coming back from a 2-0 deficit to trounce Liverpool 5-2 at Anfield. They will go into the match at the Bernabeu up by 3 with no away goals rule against a historically poor Klopp side. Real Madrid should advance quite easily.


Prediction: Real Madrid

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