Manchester United to Face P.S.G. as Champions League Draw Is Made

Manchester United to Face P.S.G. as Champions League Draw Is Made

December 18, 2018

Liverpool vs. Bayern Munich and Manchester United vs. Paris St. Germain are two of the more enticing matchups in the round of 16 of the Champions League, which was drawn on Monday.

Manchester United is in disarray, standing only sixth in the Premier League and coming off a loss to Liverpool. It will face a daunting task against P.S.G., unbeaten and already 10 points clear in the French league, which it has dominated in recent years. But the prize P.S.G. most covets, the Champions League, has so far eluded it. This will be the first European meeting between the teams.

The attacking trio of Kylian Mbappé, Neymar and Edinson Cavani will be particularly imposing against a Manchester United defense that has surrendered 29 goals in 17 games, the fifth highest total in the Premier League.

Liverpool is in first place in the Premier League and looking like a strong contender for its first title since 1990. It faces a major obstacle in mighty Bayern, though that team is unexpectedly back in third place in the Bundesliga, which it has won six times in a row.

The two other English teams also drew German opposition. Spurs will play Bundesliga leaders Dortmund, and Manchester City will face Schalke.

The other games will be Lyon-Barcelona, Ajax-Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid-Juventus and Roma-Porto. The first legs will be played on Feb. 12, 13, 19 and 20 and the second legs on March 5, 6, 12 and 13.

Oddsmakers have Manchester City as the favorite to win the event for the first time, followed by Barcelona, Juventus and P.S.G. The winner of the last three Champions Leagues, Real Madrid, is unfancied this year; it stands only fourth in the Spanish League and fired its new manager, Julen Lopetegui, in October.

Porto, of all teams, had the best record in the group stage at 5-0-1. Though still a long shot to take home the top prize, it does have a relatively kind draw in Roma.

The longest shot in the field, at 400-1, is Schalke, which is only 13th in the Bundesliga and must play megabucks Manchester City in the round of 16.

On balance the last 16 is quite strong; there were few if any upsets in the group stage.

Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich leads the competition in scoring so far with eight goals.

The Champions League Final is June 1 in Wanda Metropolitano, Atlético Madrid’s home stadium.

Also drawn Monday was the Europa League. The 16 matchups include: Malmo vs. the tournament favorite Chelsea, Celtic vs. Valencia, Zurich vs. Napoli, Seville vs. Lazio, and BATE Borisov vs. Arsenal.

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