For years, the Champions League group stages were seen as a formality, with many claiming that the action didn't really start until the knockout rounds began. While the group stages have become ever-more tight, that sentiment still holds -- it's not until the two-legged knockout ties begin that the competition really grabs the undivided attention of the footballing world.
This year, the field is dominated by German, Spanish and English giants, and with both Manchester City and Arsenal finishing second in their groups and guaranteeing themselves draws against the behemoths of the continent, we were always going to get some huge matches. The balls didn't disappoint -- here's what we get to look forward to.
- Manchester City vs. Barcelona
- Olympiakos vs. Manchester United
- AC Milan vs. Atletico Madrid
- Bayer Leverkusen vs. Paris Saint-Germain
- Galatasaray vs. Chelsea
- Schalke 04 vs. Real Madrid
- Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Borussia Dortmund
- Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich