We’ve known for weeks now that Paris Saint-Germain would top Group A in the UEFA Champions League but we didn’t really have a firm grasp on who they could potentially play in the Round of 16 until now.
With the group stage coming to a close on Wednesday, and the draw set for Monday, we now know there are six teams PSG could draw in the next round.
As with every year, there are some teams you hope to draw and some that you hope to avoid. This season though, the tournament is wide open and for the first time, all 16 teams come from Europe’s top five leagues.
There are no cupcakes but there are one or two teams that rank below the others and a few who could cause PSG some trouble.
Below, I ranked the teams PSG could draw in the next round starting with the perceived easiest team and worked my way down to what I believe is the team that will cause PSG the most trouble.
6. Atalanta B.C.
Let’s be honest, Atalanta is a nice story but they don’t belong in the Champions League much less the Round of 16. They were a nice story in Serie A last season where they finished third in the table but they simply don’t have the squad capable of competing at this level. I don’t expect an Ajax-like run from them. At this point, they’re likely hoping to draw a big team like PSG to cash in big one last time before ducking out of the tournament.
Napoli is a dumpster fire right now. Not only did they recently sack their manager, but some of their best players could be sold in January. There is the potential that new manager Gennaro Gattuso could turn the ship around and work wonders with the team he has, but I just don’t see him being able to do that so soon. On paper, Napoli is a scary team but they haven’t played well at all this season as their seventh-place standing in the Serie A table confirms.
4. Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund would be an interesting matchup because it is where manager Thomas Tuchel was before joining PSG. It’s also where he had a toxic relationship with the Dortmund hierarchy so his return would certainly provide extra motivation for the PSG boss. In terms of Dortmund’s team and how they match up against PSG, I don’t think they match up well at all. Dortmund has some talented young players but they lack the experience to compete with a determined PSG side with several players in the team who have won the Champions League.
3. Chelsea FC
I feel like PSG has drawn Chelsea more than any other team since they started making regular appearances in the Champions League. Who could forget Thiago Silva’s header at Stamford Bridge that sent PSG into the quarter-finals? Things have changed quite a bit since then. PSG is by far the superior team while Chelsea is going through a youth movement with manager Frank Lampard. They’re a quality side with talented players like Dortmund, but like the Germans, they lack the firepower and experience to compete with PSG over two games.
2. Atlético Madrid
Some may put Atlético Madrid as the toughest team PSG could draw but I disagree somewhat. Los Rojiblancos have struggled in La Liga this season where they currently sit in seventh place and with Diego Costa sidelined for a significant amount of time with an injury, Diego Simeone has had to rely on Álvaro Morata and João Félix to carry the scoring load. I like PSG’s chances with Neymar Jr., Kylian Mbappé, and Mauro Icardi leading the attack. I believe they’re more than capable of outperforming those two any day.
1. Tottenham Hotspur
José Mourinho recently took over for Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham after years of being rumored to be interested in the PSG job. What makes me most nervous about drawing Spurs is the fact Mourinho knows how to win the Champions League. He doesn’t care about playing beautiful football and he is ruthless. I’m not sure Tuchel is built the same way. Harry Kane is the type of striker that can cause Thiago Silva and Marquinhos a lot of trouble and Spurs have several former PSG players in their squad who will be extra motivated for this tie. My biggest fear in drawing Spurs is watching Mourinho celebrate at the Parc des Princes and the media lauding him for taking down PSG. It would be sickening.
Let us know in the comments who you want PSG to draw in the next round or find us on Twitter @PSGTalk.
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