Last-16 draw kicks off real Champions League race

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GENEVA (AP) — With the group stage over, the Champions League enters the next phase when the last-16 knockout draw is made on Monday.

The past four winners — Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and Barcelona — all won their group, with only Barcelona pushed hard in the process.

Borussia Dortmund and Porto, last season's runner-up Atletico Madrid and surprise club Monaco are also seeded as group winners.

Juventus is the only former champion among unseeded group runners-up, which all host first-leg matches Feb. 17-18 and 24-25. Return matches are March 10-11 and 17-18.

The others are: Arsenal, advancing for a 15th straight year, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Basel, Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Clubs cannot face an opponent from their own country or qualifying group.

Defending European champion Madrid was perhaps most impressive in the group stage with a perfect record, contributing six of the club's current Spanish record streak of 20 straight wins.

Madrid advanced with two matches to spare and its 11-point lead over runner-up Basel was a competition record.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a Champions League-record 17 goals last season, has five so far, allowing Lionel Messi to build a 75-72 lead in their ongoing duel for the all-time competition scoring record.

In a season of heavy scoring and lopsided wins, even Messi's eight goals for Barcelona does not top the standings.

Shakhtar forward Luiz Adriano has nine — matching Ronaldo's group-stage record last season — with eight scored against BATE Borisov of Belarus.

The Ukraine champion's 7-0 and 5-0 routs of BATE were among 15 matches in the group stage won by at least four goals. There were just 16 such wins in the past two group phases combined.

Also, half the teams in Monday's draw racked up double-figure goal difference in the groups.

Monaco bucked that trend, scoring only four in six matches after letting star Colombian forwards James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao leave in the summer.

A pairing with Monaco would send Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger back to where he made his reputation in the 1980s. It would also be rare good Champions League fortune for Arsenal, who recently exited the last-16 stage against Barcelona and Bayern.

Dortmund is the most unpredictable seed with the 2013 runner-up shining in the Champions League while spending much of the season near the bottom of the Bundesliga.

PSG, which was runner-up in Barcelona's group, could be the toughest unseeded option, though English champion Manchester City has momentum from its unlikely turnaround sparked by Sergio Aguero's hat trick to defeat Bayern last month.

Ten of the 16 teams come from three nations — Spain, England and Germany — and only one is from eastern Europe.

However, Shakhtar plays closer to the west than it would choose. Donetsk is the center of conflict with pro-Russian separatists, so Shakhtar plays "home" matches in Lviv, near Ukraine's western border with Poland.

The final is played June 6 at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.


Seeded teams: Atletico Madrid (Spain), Real Madrid (Spain), Monaco (France), Borussia Dortmund (Germany), Bayern Munich (Germany), Barcelona (Spain), Chelsea (England), Porto (Portugal).

Unseeded teams: Juventus (Italy), Basel (Switzerland), Bayer Leverkusen (Germany), Arsenal (England), Manchester City (England), Paris Saint-Germain (France), Schalke (Germany), Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine).

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