The 2022/23 round of 16 draw, at the UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland
The round of 16 draw on Monday produced two rematches of recent Champions League finals between some of Europe’s best heavyweights. Madrid defeated Liverpool in the finals of 2018 and 2022 to increase its record of title victories to 14; Bayern defeated PSG in 2020
to win the European Championship for the sixth time.
Even after the first pairing in the Europa League draw was made at UEFA headquarters an hour later, the pattern persisted.
A challenging road to the title is nothing new for the defending champion Madrid. During its incredible run last season, the Spanish side defeated PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Liverpool ready to travel to winning the title.
PSG being placed with Bayern means that the French champion also had a thrilling draw at this point. Karim Benzema‘s amazing late hat trick in the second leg in Madrid put an end to PSG’s hopes of winning their first European championship in March.
The difficult draw was made possible by PSG’s second-place finish in its group, behind Benfica, which won 6-1 last week at Maccabi Haifa as a result to a critical stoppage-time goal by the Portuguese team.
Luis Campos, the director of sports at PSG, rejected the idea that the team was made to pay dearly for last week’s outcomes. After eking out a 2-1 victory against Juventus, PSG’s players said they were unaware that Benfica’s dominant performance in Israel put the group win in risk.
“It’s really motivating for us to play this match. (against Bayern),” Campos said at the draw.
“It’s a great opportunity to take a revenge, many players played the (2020) final against Bayern.”
One PSG player, Lionel Messi, did not participate in the final two years ago. The final time Messi faced the German champion was with Barcelona, where he was crushed 8-2 in a single-leg quarterfinal by Bayern.
On Monday, Benfica was rewarded with a match against Club Brugge, the 15th-ranked team in the draw.
The lowest-ranked team, AC Milan, will play Tottenham at home in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 matchup after a nine-year absence.
The side with the most goals in the group stage, Napoli, will play Eintracht Frankfurt, and Inter Milan will host Porto first.
In the round of 16, teams from the same nation or those that competed against one another in the group stage could not be placed together.
Games for the first leg will take place between February 14 and 22. March 7–15 are reserved for the return matches.
The fact that the World Cup in Qatar was played in November and December was the reason for the abnormally long gap of more than three months between the group and knockout phases.
The six-round group stage began earlier than normal in September because to the crowded schedule, and it was finished in in nine weeks.
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The Europa League format features a playoff phase in February where the group stage runners-up will face the third-place clubs from the Champions League groups.
The first-leg games will be played on February 16, with the return games taking place one week later. The eight playoff winners will face the eight Europa League group winners, including Arsenal, in the round of 16.