Defending champions Real Madrid will take on free-scoring Paris Saint-Germain while English champions Chelsea will slug it out with Barcelona on the specified dates for this year’s UEFA Champions League round of 16.
Here are some facts you probably didn’t know, or so we thought:
- Lionel Messi has never registered against Chelsea in eight previous matches, the most he has faced any club without scoring.
- Chelsea have had the better of 12 previous meetings with Barcelona, with four wins to the Liga side’s three. The Blues prevailed in the most recent clash, edging a 3-2 aggregate victory in the 2011/12 semi-finals (when Messi missed a second-leg penalty).
- Paris’s tie with Real Madrid has special meaning for Ángel Di María, who spent four seasons in the Spanish capital and was man of the match in the 2014 UEFA Champions League final, his penultimate outing for the Merengues.
The first installment of a heavyweight European contest takes place at the Santiago Bernabéu as holders Real Madrid cross swords with Paris Saint-Germain.
Madrid finished second to Tottenham Hotspur FC in Group H – the second year running they have been runners-up in their section – while Paris won their first five Group B games to top the standings ahead of FC Bayern München.
However, while the Spanish side have got to the semi-finals or better in each of the last seven seasons, Paris will need no reminding of their remarkable exit at this stage at the hands of FC Barcelona 12 months ago – their most recent tie against Spanish opponents.
The teams last met in the 2015/16 group stage, when a 0-0 draw in Paris preceded a 1-0 Real Madrid win in Spain, Nacho scoring the only goal in the 35th minute having come on only two minutes earlier. That helped the Merengues to finish first in the section, three points ahead of their French rivals.
The line-ups at the Santiago Bernabéu on 3 November 2015 were:
Madrid: Navas, Danilo, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo (Nacho 33), Modrić, Casemiro, Kroos, Jesé (Vázquez 63), Ronaldo, Isco (Kovačić 82).
Paris: Trapp, Aurier, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Maxwell, Verratti (Rabiot 17), Motta, Matuidi (Lucas 75), Di María, Ibrahimović, Cavani.
Paris knocked Madrid out of Europe two years in a row: in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup quarter-finals (1-3 a, 4-1 h), and in the 1993/94 European Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-finals (1-0 a, 1-1 h).
On 3 March 1994 George Weah scored in the first half to win the first leg for Artur Jorge’s Paris against Vicente del Bosque’s Madrid, the Spanish side’s sole home defeat against a French club.
The line-ups at the Santiago Bernabéu were:
Madrid: Buyo, Chendo, Goicoechea, Alkorta, Sanchís (Morales 56), Ramis, Luis Enrique, Míchel, Zamorano (Muñoz 85), Milla, Dubovský (Prosinečki 88).
Paris: Lama, Sassus, Colleter, Ricardo, Roche, Llacer, Fournier, Guérin, Weah, Valdo, Ginola.
Image shows Real Madrd vs Atletico Madrid’s 4-1 defeat in the 2014 finals
- Group winners (the teams playing home second legs) have progressed in 72.3% of round of 16 ties since the current competition format was introduced.