Tactical analysis of the eight match-ups in the last 16 draw throws up some clashes of style and some similar approaches, such as Bayern Munich's and Arsenal's possession games
José Mourinho returns to the scene of his touchline sprint when Porto coach in 2004, while Cristiano Ronaldo will receive a great ovation from the Manchester United fans – but Real are currently underperforming in La Liga, and won't relish this encounter. The obvious pre-match debate will concern how United stop Ronaldo – he started as a right-winger and was used in a variety of roles in his final seasons in England, but now plays from the left and cuts in on to his right foot to devastating effect. Rafael da Silva will have the toughest test of his career so far.
These two sides know each other well, having met in both the group and the knockout stage of the Champions League last season. Barcelona triumphed over the course of the four matches, winning by a total aggregate score of 8-5 – but made heavy weather of it, with Pep Guardiola's formation experimentations causing them problems. Milan are now a very different side, featuring a more positive midfield and a fluid front three, but Barça start as strong favourites – although it remains to be seen who their coach will be, after the sad news of Tito Vilanova's illness.
These are not the biggest names left in the competition but this is arguably the most mouth-watering fixture of the second round. These are two inherently similar sides – they play 4-2-3-1, remain very compact and are devastating on the break, and feature some outrageously gifted, versatile attacking options. Whereas Dortmund will be juggling Champions League and Bundesliga commitments, the Ukrainian league resumes only on 3 March, shortly after this tie – will that leave Mircea Lucescu's side fresh, or will they be lacking match fitness?
This should be a fascinating contest between two sides intent on dominating the game – in Europe's major five leagues this season, Bayern (63%) and Arsenal (60%) are the closest two sides to Barcelona (69%) in terms of average possession. Toni Kroos and Santi Cazorla will play at the top of the triangles and try to create, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Jack Wilshere will provide a sudden burst of energy from midfield, while Mikel Arteta and Javi Martínez play typically Spanish, calm passing roles from deep positions.
Having conquered Barcelona thanks to some intelligent tactics and a fine goalkeeping performance, Neil Lennon will be relatively confident of getting a result in the first leg at Parkhead. The approach will be different – whereas Celtic showed Barcelona wide and forced them to cross the ball, this is something with which Juventus would be comfortable. Their attack-minded wing-backs, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Kwadwo Asamoah, get on the end of Andrea Pirlo's long diagonal balls. Juve lack a reliable centre-forward, though. The energy of the central midfielders Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio will give Celtic a physical test, too.
An intriguing tie between two teams that play with plenty of width and attacking flair – and both qualified with impressive ease from their qualification groups. Málaga's Isco is the star player – he has been one of the tournament's finest performers this season and is the catalyst for Málaga's movement and direct dribbling in the final third. Porto are, as always, 4-3-3 with a batch of promising South American attackers – James Rodríguez and Jackson Martínez have continued the Colombian influence after Falcao's impact – while João Moutinho, superb at Euro 2012, will dominate the midfield.
Two opposite clubs – Valencia are established in this competition yet have sold stars such as David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata in recent years because of financial woes, whereas PSG haven't reached this stage for over a decade, yet their Qatari millions have resulted in the signings of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Javier Pastore, among others. On paper, PSG are favourites for this tie, but they depend heavily on Ibrahimovic, who – aside from a fine double against Arsenal in 2010-11 – has a poor record in the knockout stages of the European Cup.
Probably the least glamorous tie of the round, this is a meeting between two ruthless strikers. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored 48 goals in 48 games last season, although he has been linked with a move in January, as his contract expires next summer, while Galatasaray's Burak Yilmaz is the competition's joint-top scorer with Cristiano Ronaldo, having hit six goals – including four headers – in the group stage. Schalke play with flying wingers while Galatasaray like to dominate the centre of the pitch, which should result in an interesting tactical battle.
Michael Cox is the editor of tactics website zonalmarking.net