Atlético Madrid discovered its Champions League Round of 16 opponent on Monday afternoon, and it is a familiar side standing in Atlético’s way of a fourth straight quarterfinal appearance.
Bayer Leverkusen will be Atlético’s next adversaries on the road to Cardiff and the 2017 Champions League final. Leverkusen may only be eighth in the Bundesliga this term, but emerged in second place from Group E, collecting 10 points from six games with CSKA Moscow, Monaco and Tottenham Hotspur and recording the best goal difference (+4) in the group.
These two sides have previous history in Europe, facing each other in the 2010-11 Europa League group stage (two 1-1 draws, Leverkusen won the group) and the 2014-15 Champions League Round of 16, which finished 1-1 after 210 minutes. Atlético won on penalties in a game that saw Mario Suárez score, Jan Oblak arrive as Atleti’s goalkeeper and Fernando Torres notch the winning penalty.
It will not be easy, of course, but overall Atleti could have drawn worse here. There will be no Round of 16 battle with Pep Guardiola and Manchester City or a duel with Paris Saint-Germain, and a flight to Germany for the first leg isn't arduous. Los colchoneros will be favored pretty heavily to advance, although it's worth keeping in mind that Roger Schmidt’s side is talented, disciplined and could well be a tough out.
The first leg will be played at BayArena on Feb. 21 and the Vicente Calderón will play host to the return leg on March 15.