Michael Ballack gives his verdict on who will progress in the Champions League as well as Dortumund's decision to sack Peter Bosz...
"The speed at which Dortmund moved to appoint him is quite remarkable. I am sure that Hans-Joachim Warzke and Michael Zorc will have their reasons for their decision but all we can do is give this new setup at Dortmund a chance to succeed."
Bayern more than capable of progressing
The often mentioned Bayern-luck has struck again. With all due respect to Besiktas and the Turkish league, Bayern will be more than happy with their draw for the next round of the Champions League. There is no doubt that Besiktas are a strong opponent, one that Bayern will have to take seriously (of course, as professionals, they take every game and opponent seriously). Over two legs, Bayern have the strength in their first XI and the depth in their squad to get past Besiktas and into the quarter-finals.
It would have been a much tougher result to call had they been drawn against any of the five very strong English teams that were in the pot. Pep Guardiola is now showing the English league what he is all about. This was emphasised by their Derby win over their closest challengers at the weekend, Jose Mourinho's Manchester United. The win put them 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League table, reinforcing that City are the top team in Manchester right now.
Both teams however will be happy with their Champions League opponents. For all their quality, Basel should not trouble Man City too much over two legs. Sevilla will prove a greater challenge for Man Utd, with their pedigree in the Europa league over recent years; I would also expect Liverpool to go through against Porto.
Barca & Chelsea closer than you might think
As for my former club Chelsea, they will have one of the most eagerly anticipated games as they face off against current La Liga leaders, Barcelona. For me, this will be a very evenly matched game. Barcelona will have the slight advantage with the second leg being played in the Camp Nou. But, you never know, away goals can change the complexion of a game in an instant.
Despite the well-matched nature of this tie, I don't see either as favourites to lift the trophy. Manchester City and the winners of Real Madrid v Paris St. Germain could be the front-runners. You have to feel for PSG, they topped a group featuring Bayern Munich but then get the defending champions in the Round of 16. It was the toughest draw for any of the group winners and I am really curious to see which team will come out on top.
Only time will tell if Stöger is the man for the job
While the Champions League draw is big news, it has not overshadowed the craziest managerial change we are ever likely to see in the Bundesliga. Peter Stöger had just three points and zero wins with Cologne this season. The speed at which Dortmund moved to appoint him is quite remarkable. I am sure that Hans-Joachim Warzke and Michael Zorc will have their reasons for their decision but all we can do is give this new setup at Dortmund a chance to succeed.