The Champions League Round of 16 kicks off today at 3pm ET.
Each Champions League stage, we’ll have a combination of writers and former players weighing in with their picks. For this round, we have High Press Soccer contributors Chops, Tyler Everett, Harrison Hamm, as well as former Premier League striker Carl Cort. After a stint with the NASL, Carl now conducts Las Vegas private soccer training and clinics.
|Roma vs. Porto||Porto’s true form is hard to pin down, but Roma isn’t exactly on fire. This is supposed to be a coin-flip, so heads, Porto.||It’s hard to know if Porto’s strong play in Group D was a result of weak opposition or a sign of the Portuguese side’s quality. Will nevertheless take Porto to emerge from two matches I expect to come down to the final minutes.||Roma are a wild team, not far removed from a 7-1 loss to Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia. A non-Big Five club always seems to end up in the quarters, so Porto here.||
Leg 1 I think it will be a close game. Porto are in good form but I just think being at home the Italians will be too disciplined and sneak a win.
|Manchester United vs. Paris Saint-Germain||Was leaning PSG until the Cavani injury. Have to go Man U now, although they need to pour it on at home in Leg 1.||I see this one as essentially a tossup, but believe ManU will upset the French team, which will struggle without Neymar. This is a different ManU club than the one that was languishing under José Mourinho.||United are playing pretty well, but it won’t be enough against PSG, who wait just a little longer to disappoint in the Champions League.||
No Cavani, no Neymar. With the recent sacking of José Mourinho much to the players delight Man U have hit great form.
Man U win.
|Schalke 04 vs. Manchester City||City could play their bench and handily win this one.||Man City will easily handle a Schalke 04 club that was in 12th (!) place in the Bundesliga as of Friday.||City are rampaging right now. Hopefully Weston McKennie plays.||Leg 1, and the match-up in general, will be over by halftime. Easiest pick of the round. Man City win.|
|Lyon vs. Barcelona||Barca could play their bench+Messi and handily win this one.||Barcelona has too much firepower for me to doubt them against any Ligue 1 club other than PSG.||Don’t complicate it. Over/under on total Messi goals+assists should be three. Maybe four. Barcelona advance.||
The only positive outlook for Lyon is that they are at home for Leg 1. Other than that they don’t stand a chance.
|Atlético Madrid vs. Juventus||All Ronaldo does is preen. And win CL rounds.||Another tough call, but I’ll go with Juve, as Cristiano Ronaldo will once again thwart his former crosstown rivals.||An Atletico win would be another mark in the column of “La Liga is superior to the Premier League.”||Leg 1 will be a close game but a disciplined performance will see Juve through with CR7 giving them that edge.
|Ajax vs. Real Madrid||A month ago, I was going to grow a beard, wear skinny jeans, and go with the hipster pick of Ajax. Real Madrid’s recent form is too good to ignore. Los Blancos advance.||I’m buying in on a hot Real Madrid team. Like ManU, they’ve drastically improved since sacking their coach — even though the first leg will make it three road games in a row in tough environments.||I was heavily tempted to pick Ajax. I can’t quite get there.||It’s hard to go against Real at this stage of the CL. Even with Ajax being at home and always good on the eye this is the end of the road for them.
|Liverpool vs. Bayern Munich||With VVD and Gomez out, if Leg 1 was in Germany, the pick would be Bayern. Game 1 being at Anfield, as well as Klopp’s experience managing in Germany, are the difference makers. Although now I’m worried that everyone else also picked Liverpool.||The Reds will squeak by the perennial German power to move one step closer to a chance to avenge last season’s disappointment in the final against Real Madrid.||Bayern aren’t winning the Bundesliga. They’re not beating this Liverpool team in the Champions League.||Two top teams with a long history of CL football. I think the difference between the teams will be Klopp’s tactical experience with CL and German football.
|Tottenham vs. Borussia Dortmund||This is another coin-flip. Both are underrated. Tails, BVB.||I could see this one going either way, but I’ll go with the Bundesliga leaders, who will prevent the EPL from going 3-0 against the Bundesliga in the Round of 16.||Full disclosure: I mainly hope Christian Pulisic plays. But I’m picking Tottenham.||Another close one for me. You have a Dortmund team who are very dynamic and doing well domestically but even with a Spurs team who are missing Harry Kane I think with Leg 1 being at home they still have enough to win the game.