With domestic football around Europe on hold due to the 2022 Qatar World Cup, plenty of football’s elite will be recharging their batteries ahead of a much-needed winter break. The first-ever November tournament provides an unusual break in the Premier League season, and although games in England are due to return on Boxing Day, for other Champions League sides in Serie A, La Liga and the Bundesliga, players could be out of action for a long period of time.
The likes of Mohamed Salah and Erling Haaland will be plugging away with one eye on the next round of the Champions League, with a congested fixture list forcing the group stages into a nine-week slog for a spot in the last 16. Those looking at football betting at SkyBet.com will see how competitive this year’s competition is, with several sides capable of reaching the final in Istanbul.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best fixtures on display when the knockout rounds return in the Champions League.
Liverpool vs Real Madrid
We start things off with a rematch of last season’s final between Liverpool and current holders Real Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti’s side seem to have Liverpool’s number, beating them in Paris back in May as well as the 2018 final in Kyiv and the quarter-finals of the 2020-21 campaign. The Reds will be out for revenge but following an inconsistent start to the season, it could be a tough task for Jurgen Klopp.
The first leg is at Anfield, and the crowd will need to play their part as they have done in years gone by if the Reds are to take any kind of momentum with them to the Spanish capital. But with the experienced Karim Benzema continuing his fine form, and the likes of Vinicus Jr and Thibaut Courtois a consistent thorn in Liverpool’s side, the champions might have too much for Liverpool on this occasion.
Paris Saint-Germain vs Bayern Munich
Despite spending so much money since their takeover a decade ago now, Paris Saint-Germain have always been rather underwhelming in Europe. In something of a transition year, the Parisians struggled in last season’s competition, with a lack of chemistry between a number of new signings including Lionel Messi resulting in a round-of-16 exit to Real Madrid.
This year they face an equally tough task in 2020 winners Bayern Munich. The German champions continue to dominate their league under Julian Nagelsmann even after losing Robert Lewandowski, and it will be interesting to see how the firepower of Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane and Sadio Mane compare to PSG’s triumvirate of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. There should be goals galore in this tie.
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Napoli
One for the footballing aficionados, the tie between Frankfurt and Napoli is one that would have hardly constituted Champions League quality in years gone by, but is now a battle between two of the most in-form teams in the world.
The Germans won the Europa League last season against Rangers and showed they can compete amongst the best when they qualified in a competitive group amongst Tottenham Hotspur, Sporting Lisbon and Marseille. Napoli come in as favourites though, with Luciano Spalletti justifying the departures of Lorenzo Insigne and Kalidou Koulibaly over the summer. They are unbeaten in the Serie A and lost just one game in the Champions League — 2-0 at Anfield having already qualified. Expect the likes of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Victor Osimhen to entertain throughout.