Barca-PSG is round’s plum tie

Barca-PSG is round’s plum tie

PARIS • Barcelona will face Paris Saint-Germain and former striker Neymar while title-holders Bayern Munich are up against Lazio in the last 16 of the Champions League after the draw was held yesterday.

The prize clash as the knockout phase begins will be a repeat of the remarkable Barca-PSG meeting at the same stage in 2017.

The Catalan giants overcame a 4-0 first-leg loss to beat the French champions 6-1 at the Nou Camp with Neymar scoring twice for the La Liga side.

“We know them (PSG) well, they’ve got some exceptional players. Paris want to fight for the Champions League. Last year, they came very close to winning it (losing in the final) and they want to go one better this time, but we’ve got something to say about that,” said Guillermo Amor, Barca’s director of institutional relations.

Bayern will start as favourites in their tie but will be wary of Simone Inzaghi’s side, who have reached the knockout phase for the first time in 20 years.

“Lazio are an uncomfortable opponent, you saw that in the group,” said Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic. “It is always uncomfortable against Italian teams.”

Premier League champions Liverpool will play last year’s semi-finalists RB Leipzig.

The match-up pits Germany’s most highly-rated young coach Julian Nagelsmann, 33, against Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp, 53.

The Reds are unbeaten in their last 10 matches against German teams in all European competitions, a run going back to 2002.

There will also be a reunion for Naby Keita, who will be returning to the Red Bull Arena he left to join the Reds in 2018. Both sides have never played each other, but Leipzig are looking forward to the tie, with the club’s Twitter account writing: “Looking forward to welcoming you back to the RB Arena, Naby!”

There will be another reunion of sorts as Atletico Madrid will take on Chelsea in a game which could see Spain striker Diego Costa return to Stamford Bridge for the first time since departing in 2018.

    CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LAST 16 DRAW

    Monchengladbach v Man City

    Lazio v Bayern Munich

    Atletico Madrid v Chelsea

    Leipzig v Liverpool

    Porto v Juventus

    Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain

    Sevilla v Dortmund

    Atalanta v Real Madrid

    * Home and away matches in February and March

Real Madrid, the record 13-time European Cup winners, face Atalanta, who reached the quarter-finals in their maiden Champions League campaign last season.

But the Italians have their work cut out as Zinedine Zidane’s men have won 10 of their last 11 games against Serie A teams. Taking a leaf out of US President Donald Trump’s book, Atalanta midfielder Marten de Roon joked to “stop the count” after Uefa put up a poll – that showed Atalanta leading by one vote – on who fans thought would be the likelier victors.

Manchester City take on Borussia Monchengladbach, in the last 16 for the first time in the Champions League, while Italian champions Juventus play Porto.

The two-legged ties will commence from Feb 16.

For the Europa League, both Manchester United, who joins the competition after their loss to Leipzig last week, and Arsenal were handed tough draws.

The Red Devils face current Spanish league leaders Real Sociedad and the struggling Gunners have to contend with Benfica.

Tottenham got the luck of the draw after being pitted against Austrian minnows Wolfsberger, while Leicester will face Czech side Slavia Prague up next in the last 32.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE