Ranked! The 16 teams left in the Champions League... and who we think might win it
2014-15: Lost to Porto in round of 16 • 2015-16: Didn’t qualify • 2016-17: Group stage
Next opponent: Man City
Basel suffered the joint-heaviest knockout-phase defeat – 7-0 to Bayern Munich in 2012 – and now that they face free-scoring Manchester City in the last 16, there’s a small chance that record could come under threat. The 124-year-old, passionately supported lot from St. Jakob-Park nevertheless kept four clean sheets in their group – admittedly a comparatively weak one – and in 20-year-old forward Dimitri Oberlin, boast an intriguing talent.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel will be out of his depth, though, and it'll be a big surprise if Basel are still in this competition come the end of March.
2014/15: Didn’t qualify • 2015/16: Didn’t qualify • 2016/17: Group stage
Next opponent: Bayern Munich
Besiktas won Group G with 14 points: an impressive feat. But while Istanbul and Champions League miracles have featured in the same fairy tale before, there’s not much chance of Pepe, Adriano and Ricardo Quaresma taking winners' medals back to the city.
Besiktas’s bulging club of 30-something foreigners includes the aforementioned trio plus Gary Medel, Atiba Hutchinson, Ryan Babel, Jeremain Lens and Alvaro Negredo. Babel, Brazilian entertainer Talisca and multifaceted Germany-born Turkey forward Cenk Tosun have impressed this season – but the Black Eagles will have winced when five-time European champions Bayern Munich were drawn as their 'reward' for topping their group.
14. Shakhtar Donetsk
2014-15: Lost to Bayern Munich, last 16 • 2015-16: Group stage • 2016-17: Didn’t qualify
Next opponent: Roma
Condemning Manchester City – albeit a depleted version – to their first defeat in 29 games, and overcoming the odds to finish six points ahead of third-placed Napoli in Group F will have lifted Shakhtar.
Brazilian duo Taison and Bernard are pests to control on their day, but Facundo Ferreyra – who failed to see a second of Premier League action during a year at Newcastle – is the man entrusted with grabbing their goals. Shakhtar simply must build a lead during their first leg at home – or, as is the case, 200 miles from it in Kharkiv – to have any chance of besting Roma and reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.
2014-15: Lost to Bayern Munich in quarter-finals • 2015-16: Group stage • 2016-17: Lost to Juventus in last 16
Next opponent: Liverpool
Only PSG, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Chelsea scored more than Porto in the group stage. Their issue has been keeping goals out, with neither Iker Casillas nor the now-first-choice keeper Jose Sa able to prevent them.
The Manchester United-linked Danilo Pereira and Hector Herrera form a tough central midfield partnership, while winger Yacine Brahimi and striker Vincent Aboubakar – both of whom are having fine seasons – mean they could give Liverpool a fright or two. But their defence will be put to a serious test by the Reds.