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The History of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16

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On Tuesday evening, European Football’s most prestigious competition, the UEFA Champions League, resumes with Group H runners-up Manchester United taking on Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford. 

Last season’s semi-finalists AS Roma are also in action as they take on Group D winners FC Porto at the Estadio Dragao. 

The other Round of 16 ties include:

  • Tottenham Vs Borussia Dortmund
  • Ajax Vs Real Madrid
  • Lyon Vs Barcelona
  • Liverpool Vs Bayern
  • Atletico Madrid Vs Juventus
  • Schalke 04 Vs Manchester City

The Round of 16 was established back in the 2003/04 season to replace the the Second Group Stage which existed previously. 

Since then, this round of the competition has produced 2.6 goals per leg, that’s a whopping 633 goals in 240 games played amongst Europe’s elite.

From 2003/04 onwards, 58 sides have participated in the Round of 16. Nine of those have been British and include the likes of former Premier League Champions Leicester City as well as Glasgow clubs Celtic and Rangers.

This stage of the competition invites plenty of excitement and suspense, with 11 previous ties going to extra time and six going all the way to penalties.

This season’s Round of 16 will be played across February and March, and with what promises to be a highly eventful stage of the competition, here we detail everything you need to know about the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.  
 

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The Current Crop

Every one of the 16 sides left in the competition have competed in the newly formatted knockout stages before.

Real Madrid have never not participated in the Round of 16, making appearances in 15 ties. Barcelona and Bayern Munich have the second most appearances (14), missing out in 2003/04 and 2007/08 respectively.
Barcelona boost a highly impressive 85.7% tie win percentage. They’ve only ever been eliminated twice in the Round of 16, failing to overcome English sides Chelsea and Liverpool. 

Liverpool have the second highest tie win percentage (83.3%), followed by Atletico Madrid (80%) who have competed in 5 ties in total. 

Out of the sides in this season’s competition, Ajax, who are competing in the last 16 for only the second time, have the lowest tie win percentage (0%). 

Porto (30%), Schalke 04 (40%) and Premier League Champions Manchester City (40%) are the other remaining sides with the lowest tie win percentage.

Despite competing in 14 out of a potential 15 Round of 16 ties, Bayern Munich uphold the highly impressive record of producing 5.1 goals per tie, edging Barcelona (4.6) to the accolade. 

FC Porto and AS Roma, who are competing at this stage of the Champions League for the eleventh and seventh time respectively, have produced the least goals per tie out of the teams remaining in this year's competition. 

Their 1.8 goals per tie is only considerably worse than both Tottenham and Ajax’s two goals per tie. 

When it comes to stability at the back, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid have only conceded 1.2 goals in the ties they’ve participated in. Manchester United, who are only competing in the round of 16 for the third time in six seasons, follow their bitter rivals with a 1.8 goals conceded per game record.

According to Transfermarkt.com, Barcelona have the most valuable squad left in the competition. They value Ernesto Valverde’s playing staff at a whopping £1.03bn, more than Manchester City (£909.9M) and Real Madrid (£856.9M) , who’s squads have been valued as the second and third most valuable. 

Bundesliga side Schalke 04 have been adjudged to have the least valuable squad (£217.1M), with Porto (£255.2M) and Ajax (£324.9M) also being ranked amongst the squads remaining in the tournament with the lowest value.

PSG boast the two most valuable players competing in the round of 16. Kylian Mbappe has been valued by Transfermarkt at £176M, whilst his teammate, and supposed Barcelona and Real Madrid target, Neymar is valued at £158.4M.

Arguably the world’s best player Lionel Messi is valued below his Barcelona teammate at £140.8M. 
 

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All-Time Records 

When it comes to wins per leg, Barcelona boast a considerably impressive 19 wins from 28 games. No other side in the history of the competition have won more individual games in the round of 16. 

Arsenal on the other hand have the unwanted record of the most defeats per leg, with their 13 losses being four greater than Real Madrid’s nine.

The Madrista’s have the second highest number of defeats per leg and hold a surprisingly low 60% tie win percentage.

Arsenal (42) and Real (33) also top the list for the sides to have conceded the most goals in the Round of 16. Bayern Munich have conceded the third highest amount, letting in 32 goals.

Despite their defence woes in this stage of the competition, Bayern certainly know how to find the net too. Their 71 goals is more than any other side has scored in the last 16, nine more than Barcelona’s 64.

Bayer Leverkusen, who have appeared in five Round of 16 ties, have a number of unsavoury records to their name.

Out of any side to compete in four ties at this stage or more, Leverkusen have the lowest percentages for tie victories (0%) and away wins (0%, They’re also joint leaders the for lowest home win percentage with Manchester City (20%). 

When Bayern Munich face Liverpool at the Allianz Arena on March 13th, the current Bundesliga title winners best be worried. 

Last season’s finalists Liverpool have an 83.3% away win percentage, which is just under 28% more than Juventus who have the second best record (55.6%). 

The Goalscorers 

The 633 goals have been produced from 349 different goalscorers and 17 own goals. Former Chelsea defender Alex and Napoli forward Dries Mertens both hold the bizarre honour of being the only players to score for both teams in a single leg. 

118 goals have come as a result of braces, with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi being the only player to score six braces at the this stage of the competition, one more than his La Liga compatriot and nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo. 

The Argentinian is also one of the eight players to score a hat trick in the Round of 16. Former Arsenal forward Nicklas Bendtner and forgotten man Adriano are amongst the other seven players to reach the feat. 

Messi has scored 24 goals at this stage of the competition, four more than Cristiano Ronaldo and double the amount scored by Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller, the player with the third most goals ever in the short history of the Round of 16.

Back in 2004/05 a Sylvain Wiltord hat trick set Lyon on their way to a comprehensive 7-2 second leg victory over Werder Bremen. To this date, there hasn’t been a single fixture to produce more goals.

The most goals ever produced across a whole tie occurred in 2008/09 when a rampant Bayern Munich humiliated Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon 12-1 on aggregate. Since then, there has never been 13 goals to occur in a Round of 16 tie.

Brazilian’s certainly know how to found the net in this stage of the competition. 11.5% (73) of the 633 goals scored in the Round of 16 have been provided by Brazilian players.

Former Lyon set piece specialist Juninho Pernambucano is the most prolific Brazilian in the Round of 16, scoring five goals.
 

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The Managers

Former long-term Arsenal gaffer Arsene Wenger holds the record for the manager who has taken charge of the most Champions League last 16 ties (14). 

Wenger’s former rival Jose Mourinho, who sits second on the list, has competed in 12 Round of 16 ties during his spells with Manchester United, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Chelsea and Porto. 

Unlike Wenger, Mourinho has got his hands on the Champions League trophy on two occasions.

Laurent Blanc, who hasn’t managed in club football since his departure from Paris Saint-Germain in 2016, has the most impressive tie win percentage by a manager who has competed in four ties or more (100%). 

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, who has led his side to two Champions League Finals during his tenure, also shares a perfect tie win percentage.

On the opposite end of the scale, current Leicester City manager Claude Puel and former Porto boss Jesualdo Ferreira have the worst tie win percentage (4 ties or more). 

Their 25% tie win rate is slightly worse than World Cup winning manager Didier Deschamps’ 35.7% tie win percentage. 

Deschamps also has the the third highest number of defeats by leg (5). Only former Premier League title winners Arsene Wenger (13) and Manuel Pellegrini (6) have more defeats to their name.

Despite his 13 defeats, Arsene Wenger sits joint top of the list for most wins by leg (11) alongside fellow Champions League veteran Carlo Ancelotti. 

Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho both have nine victories to their name.

With the Champions League set to get back underway midweek, check out everything you need to know about the Round of 16 below in this extensive infographic:
 

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