Yet another advantage of being a soccer fan–our March Madness arrives a month early. The knockout phase of the Champions League starts today, with a sweet collection of 16 teams remaining. If you were one of the fans that was caught up by the World Cup last summer, but haven’t watched a game since Spain-Netherlands, now is the time to tune back in.
See below where and when to tune in. US-based fans, set your DVRs accordingly–or make plans to duck out of whatever responsibilities you may have in the afternoons (all matches kickoff at 20:45 CET = 2:45pmET/11:45amPT).
For tomorrow’s two games, see here for a preview of Milan-Tottenham by our resident Spurs fan, and here for a preview of Valencia-Schalke by Sean (who honestly didn’t know much about either side until researching this piece).
(A rather detailed aside on the structure of the tournament: there are four games this week, two on Tuesday and two on Wednesday, featuring 8 of the 16 teams that advanced from the group stage; and four more games next week (again two on Tuesday and two on Wednesday) featuring the other 8 teams. Together these 8 matches constitute the first leg of the Round of 16. Each round of the tournament from here until the championship game (Saturday May 28 at Wembley) consists of home-and-away legs. So we’ll see these same 8 matchups again in a few weeks time (on March 8-9 and 15-16) for the return leg. For instance, Tottenham Hotspur play AC Milan tomorrow in Milan; in three weeks AC Milan will travel to London to play Spurs at White Hart Lane. Which team advances to is determined by aggregate goals, with away goals as the tiebreaker.)
Here are details regarding this week’s four fixtures (pulled from UEFA.com–click thru for club/match pages), followed by next week’s four fixtures, and for good measure the eight fixtures of the 2nd leg of the Round of 16 following that: