Current Champions League holders Chelsea faced an uncharacteristic 3-3 draw in their final group stage match in the tournament against Zenit. This means that the club can only finish 2nd in the group behind Juventus.
Chelsea was in the prime position to secure the top spot in the group going into their Champions League match against the Russian opponent. However, the result meant that the club will have a tougher opposition going into the next round.
With all other Premier League sides finishing as group winners, there are only 4 possible opponents for Chelsea in the round of 16 of the Champions League. These teams are Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Ajax, and Lille. Let us look at how these teams fare up against Chelsea.
POSSIBLE OPPONENTS FOR CHELSEA IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ROUND OF 16
The 13-time Champions League winners finished as toppers of Group D with 15 points. Under Carlo Ancelotti, the club won 5 of their 6 matches, with the only loss coming against FC Sherrif at home. They scored 14 goals in the group stage while were very mean in their defense conceding just 3 goals.
Los Blancos are also the leaders in the La Liga with 39 points, 8 points ahead of second-placed Sevilla, who have a game in hand. With Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior hitting excellent form, they are a strong opposition. Chelsea will find it hard to overcome the Spaniards, but they have enough quality to do it.
The Bavarians are one of the favorites for the tournament and are in immaculate form. They won their Champions League Group E with a perfect record of 6 wins, scoring 22 goals while conceding just 3. Bayern is also leading the Bundesliga at the moment.
For Chelsea, getting Bayern as the opposition could be the most challenging of them all. The Germans are a free-scoring side that has a solid defense to back it up. They are ruthless and with Robert Lewandowski out to get revenge for missing out on Ballon d’Or, they will be more deadly on the European stage.
The Dutch champions also have a perfect record in their Champions League group stages. They have been an exciting side to watch scoring 20 goals while conceding just 5. Ajax also leads the Eredivise by one point.
Sebastian Haller has been the star of the Champions League so far, scoring in all 6 group stage matches and totaling 10 goals so far. Under Erik Ten Hag, the side will be looking to create upsets and move further in the competition. While Chelsea has better quality, the hunger of the young Dutch side could cause trouble.
The French champions won the Group G of the Champions League with just 11 points. This includes 3 wins, 2 draws, and a loss in their 6 matches. Lille had the luck of drawing in a favorable group featuring RB Salzburg, Sevilla, and Wolfsburg.
Their form in the Ligue 1 is also not good. Chelsea hence will be hoping to draw Lille in the Round of 16, as they are the easiest opposition compared to others. However, Champions League is known to bring big upsets and the Blues will not be taking anyone for granted.
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