The Return of the Champions League


Jasmine Machmouchi, Contributor '25

Many of us last year have been keeping up with the 2022 World Cup, but what some may not know is that the World Cup interrupted another incredibly important soccer league. That is The Champions League, also known as the UCL. The 2022 World Cup was held in Qatar and due to its geographical locations – in the gulf, it was way too hot outside to play during the time period the World cup is usually held in, which is the summer; therefore, the tournament had to be moved to November-December 2022. However, the time slot that it was moved to interrupted the UCL.


At what point did we stop? And where will be returning?


The Champions League is made up of several tournaments and sort of ‘levels’, those being: Group stages, Round of 16, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and the Finals. You may be asking, during what point in the tournament did the WC interrupt? Or you may be asking, what even are group stages or round of 16? Well, we ended right at the end of the group stages. Therefore, are returning during the Round of 16?

The Group Stages

The Group Stages is right at the beginning of the tournament and it is made up or 8 groups of 4 clubs, ergo 32 teams in total. Every club will play against every other club in their group. The two clubs that after all games within a group, have the highest number of points – which is determined by how many goals and games you win – proceed forward in the tournament. This happens with every group.

However, it is important to note that just because a club lost a match in the group stages, does not mean they are eliminated; they do not have to win every game they play they just simply have to have more points than other teams, and that does not require a win in every match. However, this only applies for group stages.

Round of 16

After two clubs out of four per group qualify, we are left with half the number of clubs – 16. At this point each club from those who qualified is paired with another qualifying club from another group to play a match. However this is when the game gets very risky and the entire tournament is on the line for you and your club. This is when the group stage rule of not winning every game stops applying. Every game after the group stages is called The Elimination Stage/ Round, especially Round of 16 due to the amount of clubs it eliminates. This point and onwards, whoever loses the game, is out of the tournament.


Surprising eliminations


This UCL there were many surprising eliminations after the group stages and many of them stick out to me. The prime examples of this that I can think of include: Fc Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, and Juventus. Considering FC Barcelona is (arguably) the biggest Spanish club, maybe excluding Real Madrid depending on who you believe is better, it was a shock that they came in third in their groups; to be fair, they were in the same team as Bayern Munich (München) who was the only club who can say they have a perfect record in the 2022-2023 UCL group stage as they won all their games with 18 goals and only 2 goals scored against them. However, from a team like Fc Barcelona who have always been one of the greatest teams of all time, you would expect them to qualify.

Going Forward


After the World Cup’s disruptions, Round of 16 will now proceed and begin on February 14th, 2023.

Here is the schedule:

February 14 -February 22

– PSG vs Bayern Munich

– AC Milan vs Tottenham

– Club Brugge vs Benfica

– Dortmund vs Chelsea

– Liverpool vs Real Madrid

– Frankfurt vs Napoli

– RB Leipzig vs Man City

– Inter vs Porto

March 7-March 15

Then proceeding after that the same teams will play each other once again but in the other clubs home stadium rather than the one they previously played at.

There are definitely certain games fans are a lot more excited about. One that many people are excitedly waiting for (definitely including myself) is PSG vs Bayern. This is due to the history between this club and the more recent games they have played.

The last couple times they played against one another; the scores were:

– PSG 0 – 1 Bayern (2019-2020 UCL final)

– PSG 3 -2 Bayern

– PSG 0 – 1 Bayern

Another game many are excited for is Liverpool vs Real Madrid and this is due to last seasons UCL final being between the two, which Real Madrid ultimately won with a score of 1-0.

Who do you think will win?


Once the Round of 16 is over, we will move into quarterfinals, semifinals, and of course the final, but who do you think will win? As a big and long-time fan of Bayern Munich I definitely hope to and believe that they will make it far this year but that’s only my opinion.