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More Champions League? Yes, please.

This is the best time of the year for soccer. Domestic leagues and cups are near their final stages and both European competitions have started back up. It seems like every three days there is at least one game that is a must-see because of the participants and the implications surrounding the result.

Last week, the Champions League returned with four matches, and like it usually does, the most competitive tournament in soccer did not disappoint.

Real Madrid had a comfortable matchup that had the potential to get uncomfortable pretty quickly, but the Spaniards took care of business and are practically in the next round. Like Madrid, Porto had a favorable rival in Basel and the 1-1 tie on the road also puts them in a comfortable situation and with one foot in the next round.

Bayern Munich should have no trouble advancing at home despite the surprising tie in the first leg.

Paris Saint-Germain gave Chelsea all they could handle, but they still head to Stamford Bridge with a disadvantage. The game promised to be the best of the first four that the champions had to offer­—it was.

I can’t say it was back and forth, but the game was still entertaining with plenty of chances on goal and an inspired Thibaut Corutois. The Chelsea keeper was brilliant and is the sole reason the Blues left Paris with just one goal against them and an advantage on the scoreboard.

Jose Mourinho’s men are definitely favorites, but I would not be surprised if Zlatan and company came up with the upset—once again this will be a must-watch match.

In this week’s games, Barcelona and Manchester City headline the last set of matches of the round of 16, pitting two elite teams with numerous elite players against each other.

Before this weekend, Barcelona was a freight train that was sparking almost as much fear as Pep Guardiola’s team that won it all. City, on the other hand, was a team that has been good, but not nearly good enough at this stage—failing to get past the group stage twice in the last two years.

Like as often happens in sports, it can be very easy to become prisoners of the now. Barcelona lost to Malaga at home, Manchester City rolled through Newcastle United, and all of a sudden this matchup seems even more interesting than it already was.

Let’s slow down though. It’s a good game—the best of this stage—but Barcelona is still the clear favorite.

City has a good team, with elite players in every line. Vincent Kompany is in the conversation for best defender in the world, Yaya Toure is as good a midfielder as there is and Sergio Aguero can be as lethal in front of goal as anyone. The Citizens are good, but Barcelona is better, deeper and more versatile.

For every name you throw out for Manchester City—Nasri, Silva, Navas, Dzeko, Milner—there is someone as good or better defending the Blaugrana colors.

Messi, playing from the right but with the liberty to go anywhere at any time, is playing closer to the level that marveled us on a weekly basis. Neymar is as dangerous as any and Suarez provides a dimension that Barcelona has not had in a while. There is no better attack in soccer right now than Barcelona’s.

It’s rarely easy in soccer­—just ask Bayern—and I don’t know if Barcelona has what it takes to win it all, but they will advance to the next round.

The second game of the day is strange. At one point not long ago, Borussia Dortmund was playing in the Champions League Final. Today,  the 12th-best team in a league that is nowhere near among the top leagues of Europe. Juventus, who seems like a lock for their fourth-consecutive Italian league title, might be as good as any of the big guns, but it’s hard to tell when they also play in a rather uncompetitive league.

The matchup should be interesting because Dortmund seems to have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of thing going on when it comes to playing in the German Bundesliga and the Champions League—getting terrible results in one competition, good ones in the other.

Still, Juventus is simply better.

The Italian squad has enough talent in the classy Andrea Pirlo, the consistent Arturo Vidal and the extraordinary Paul Pogba to outplay any midfield in the world, and with Carlos Tevez up top this team can be the dark horse who surprises one of the elite teams in the next round.

Atletico Madrid was just minutes away from lifting the Champions League trophy last season and they have only improved from that point on.

The confidence and trust this team plays with are admirable. Diego Simeone has better players than a season ago, but has been able to keep that intensity and hunger that a so-called small team plays with. The Spanish squad might be the best defensive team among the 16 left in this tournament and Bayern Leverkusen will finish its European adventure at this stage.

Finally, to round out this week’s games and all of the round of 16 first legs, Arsenal and Monaco will play London. The Gunners have won eight of their last nine games, including one against Manchester City, and should be able to handle the French in the span of 180 minutes. We all know they won’t win the tournament because it is Arsenal, but they are playing some good soccer led by Alexis Sanchez.

That would be an interesting storyline for the quarterfinals, Sanchez against his old team Barcelona. Last week was fun and gave us plenty of things to talk about, and this week should be even better.

Luis Gonzalez may be reached at [email protected].

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More Champions League? Yes, please.