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The UEFA Champions League round of 16 draw will take place in Nyon, Switzerland on Monday, 15 December at 12.00 PM CET. It is then that FC Barcelona's next opponent will be determined. The next round is set for February and could pit Barça against any of seven potent sides including: Juventus, Basel, Bayer Leverkusen, Arsenal, Manchester City, Shakhtar and Schalke. Let's take a quick peek at each possible opponent.
Right now they are the best side in Italy, and are the three-time defending champions of the Serie A. Massimiliano Allegri's team have experienced players in Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini and Patrice Evra plus talents like Paul Pogba, Carlos Tévez, Fernando Llorente and Claudio Marchisio. And the glue holding it all together is midfielder Andrea Pirlo.
In European matches, though, they've been a bit of a mixed bag. In their last group match versus Atlético Madrid, they could have either won the group or been eliminated from the tournament, depending on the final score. But in the end this defensive-minded team finished second, thus winning a date with a first-place side. Will it be Barça?
The Swiss always produce a team with good clockwork. Paulo Sousa's team have once again overcome the loss of some key players in the offseason and continue to lead the Swiss Super League while staying competitive against European competition. This isn't their first time as in the past they did well when dealing with the losses of players like Shaquiri and Salah.
This year has been especially good to them in the Champions League, having taken four points from English giant Liverpool in the group stage, celebrating their trip to the round of 16 at Anfield. They also beat Ludogorets twice while falling twice to Real Madrid.
BAYER 04 LEVERKUSEN
Discreet and serious, Bayer Leverkusen has been lurking in the Bundesliga shadows of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund for years waiting for their moment to break out. This year is no different as they sit in fourth place in the Bundesliga while winning second place in group C of the UCL behind Monaco, but ahead of Zenit Saint Petersburg and Benfica.
Roger Schmidt's offensive scheme has brought out the best of players like Bellarabi, Çalhanoglu and Son, the team's top scorers this season. If not for some unlucky late game collapses, they would have several more points would be closer to Bayern than the 13 points that currently separate them.
This is a team that are always around at this time of the year. Arsène Wenger's men are in their eighth straight round of 16, this time led by ex-Barça forward Alexis Sánchez, a rare bright spot on an Arsenal hat have not played well in the Premier League, currently sitting sixth, 13 points behind leaders Chelsea.
However, they haven't looked bad against European competition, clearly besting Anderlecht and Galatasaray while managing a first-place tie in the group with Dortmund, but falling to second place on a tiebreaker. They've got plenty of talent with Ramsey, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain and the injured Özil. Their big challenge is to get to the quarterfinals, something they haven't done since 2010.
Manchester City got two big wins to just get by. Kun Agüero scored against Bayern in the last minute gave them a do-or-die win, which they followed with a 2-0 victory over Roma.
Barça know them well from last season's round of 16. Pellegrini still has names like Agüero, now injured, Kompany, Lampard, Milner, Mangala, Kolarov, David Silva, Dzeko, Nasri and the ex-Barça player Touré Yaya.
Schalke 04 has virtually been a lock for the round of 16 in recent years. This year they got there in their last game with a 1-0 win at Maribor to snatch second place away from Sporting Lisbon.
The German side has an experienced goal scorer in Dutchman Klas-Jaan Huntelaar, two up and coming stars in Julian Draxler and Max Meyer plus mainstays like world class defender Benedikt Howedes and Kevin Prince Boateng, back with Schalke after a stint with AC Milan.
The Ukrainian team have overcome political strife at home in Donetsk to make it into the round of 16, thanks to their 1-1 draw at group winners Porto which gave them 9 points and the edge over Athletic Club.
With Mircea Lucescu in charge over the past several seasons, Shakhtar boasts a nice combination of homegrown Ukrainians and creative Brazilians, including Bernard, Douglas Costa and, above all, Luiz Adriano, who scored 9 goals in the group stage to tie the record set by Cristiano Ronaldo last season.
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