Ajax (NED)

UEFA ranking: 22
This season: W8 D5 L1 F29 A12 (including qualifying)
Round of 16: 5-3 v Real Madrid
Top scorer: Dušan Tadić (6, 9 including qualifying)
Last season: third qualifying round (UEFA Europa League play-offs)
European Cup best: winners x 4 (1971, 1972, 1973, 1995)

  • Season in a nutshell: Last season Ajax crashed out of Europe in August; this time – while involved in another exciting title race with PSV Eindhoven – they came through three rounds of qualifying, then held Bayern twice in their group and took ten points off Benfica and AEK Athens. In the round of 16, after an unfortunate 2-1 home loss, Ajax stunned the holders 4-1 in the Spanish capital to end Madrid’s reign of over 1,000 days as European champions.

Barcelona (ESP)

UEFA ranking: 2
This season: W5 D3 L0 F19 A6
Round of 16: 5-1 v Lyon
Top scorer: Lionel Messi (8)
Last season: quarter-finals
European Cup best: winners x5 (1992, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2015)

  • Season in a nutshell: Looking odds-on to retain their Liga title, Barcelona have ridden through some rocky patches, including a couple of prolonged absences for Lionel Messi through injury. While they remain a cut above domestically, they have not made it past the quarter-final stage since 2015 and want to right that this year.

Juventus (ITA)

UEFA ranking: 5
This season: W5 D0 L3 F12 A6
Round of 16: 3-2 v Atlético
Top scorer: Paulo Dybala (5)
Last season: quarter-finals
European Cup best: winners x2 (1985, 1996)

  • Season in a nutshell: Juventus continue to dominate Serie A, with the prospect of an eighth straight Scudetto growing by the week. Hopes of a fifth consecutive domestic double vanished with a surprising Coppa Italia exit at the hands of Atalanta, though the real dream in Turin – and it’s no secret – is that Cristiano Ronaldo can inspire them to UEFA Champions League glory for the first time since 1996.

Liverpool (ENG)

UEFA ranking: 12
This season: W4 D1 L3 F12 A8
Round of 16: 3-1 v Bayern
Top scorer: Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah (3)
Last season: runners-up
European Cup best: winners x5 (1977, 1978, 1981, 1984, 2005)

  • Season in a nutshell: Perhaps not quite as explosive going forward as they were en route to Kyiv last season, Jürgen Klopp’s have arguably become a more rounded team this term. They have conceded just 17 goals in 30 Premier League games and remain neck and neck with Manchester City in the title race. Plotted their way through the group stage before overcoming Bayern in the last 16 thanks to an assertive second-leg display in Munich.

Manchester City (ENG)

UEFA ranking: 6
This season: W6 D1 L1 F26 A8
Round of 16: 10-2 v Schalke
Top scorer: Sergio Agüero (5)
Last season: quarter-finals
European Cup best: semi-finals (2016)

  • Season in a nutshell: One down, three to go? Josep Guardiola’s side lifted the League Cup in February, are through to the FA Cup quarter-finals and, despite a stumble in December, are back on track for another Premier League title. They covet a first UEFA Champions League most of all and showcased the threat their irresistible forward play poses with a round of 16 dismantling of Schalke.

Manchester United (ENG)

UEFA ranking: 16
This season: W4 D1 L3 F10 A7
Round of 16: 3-3 v Paris (through on away goals)
Top scorer: Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford (2)
Last season: round of 16
European Cup best: winners x3 (1968, 1999, 2008)

  • Season in a nutshell: Where to start? United were well below par under José Mourinho for the first half of the season and sat 19 points off the Premier League summit when making a change in December. Caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær has been a breath of fresh air, overseeing 14 wins in his first 17 games. United are therefore right back in the hunt for a top-four spot and into the last eight of the FA Cup and, in spectacular fashion, Europe too.

Porto (POR)

UEFA ranking: 9
This season: W6 D1 L1 F19 A9
Round of 16: 4-3 v Roma (aet)
Top scorer: Moussa Marega (6)
Last season: round of 16
European Cup best: winners x2 (1987, 2004)

  • Season in a nutshell: Struggling without key figures such as Vincent Aboubakar and Marega, Porto left Rome with a 2-1 defeat before rallying to secure their quarter-final berth. It marked another fine performance from the Dragons, who are still vying for Portuguese Liga supremacy with Benfica – despite a 2-1 home loss to the Eagles on 2 March – as they chase a domestic double.

Tottenham Hotspur (ENG)

UEFA ranking: 18
This season: W4 D2 L2 F13 A10
Round of 16: 4-0 v Dortmund
Top scorer: Harry Kane (5)
Last season: round of 16
European Cup best: semi-finals (1962)

  • Season in a nutshell: Against the odds, Spurs have had another impressive campaign. Despite a delayed stadium move, no signings for two transfer windows running and a host of injuries including to Harry Kane, they have been in the Premier League title race for much of the season and are still dreaming of European glory. Take a bow, Mauricio Pochettino.
 

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