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Champions League: who are the most probable pairings for last 16?

Real Madrid, Bayern, Liverpool, Man City, Juventus, PSG all qualified as a top seeds and we've looked into who, statistically, they are more likely to be drawn against?

Real Madrid's most probable Champions League opponents

Wednesday evening’s 2-0 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach sealed Real Madrid’s place in Pot 1 for the Champions League round of 16 draw. The UEFA ball picking ceremony takes place on Monday 14 December at midday CET and we’ll bring you it live, along with immediate reactions, on AS English.

Real Madrid most likely to get Leipzig

A quick look at the two pots shows a significant disparity in historical, and recent, club strength, with a couple of notable exceptions. This means that most, if not all of the seeded sides will be expected to reach the quarter-finals. But football tournaments are rarely that predictable.

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Due to country and group restrictions Real Madrid can already eliminate the idea of playing four of the eight sides in Pot 2. The Spanish sides Barcelona, Atlético Madrid and Sevilla will not be matched with their LaLiga rivals, while the German side defeated in the final group game can also be ignored. This leaves four potential opponents standing between Zinedine Zidane’s troops and the quarters: Atalanta, Lazio, RB Leipzig and Porto.

To dig further into the probability of which of these four clubs is most likely to be picked out along with Los Blancos, we turn to our regular number-crunching contributor, Mister Chip. As you can see from the table below, which takes into account all the other restrictions placed on other clubs and potential opponents, RB Leipzig is statistically the most probable.

The Germans took care of Manchester United in their final group game to qualify at the expense of the Old Trafford side, and have a 31% chance of ending up battling with Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema.

The next most likely side are the Serie A hopefuls, Lazio and Atalanta, with a probability of 26% and 23% respectively. And then comes the Portuguese club with 14%.

Zidane has had plenty of fortune in this competition since taking over the managerial role in the Spanish capital and he’ll be expecting to make it to the next round no matter who is drawn against his side. On Monday we'll all find out who that is.

Barcelona, Bayern, Liverpool, City

The table also gives the probability of the other clashes that we may expect, although clearly as soon as the draw begins, this can change very quickly. Looking at some of the other favourites here is what the analysis points to:

UCL outcome probability

CLUBMost likely opponentLeast likely opponent
BarcelonaBayern MunichMan City
Bayern MunichBarcelonaPorto
Man CityGladbachLazio
Atlético MadridDortmundMan City

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