The Belgians stunned everyone by getting out of this group at the expense of Valencia and Lyon. Getting a big home win over a previously-untouchable Zenit will give them huge confidence, but they are likely to be the minnows of the upcoming draw. With few heralded names -- but clearly a lot of grit -- this is their biggest accomplishment since the days of the Intertoto Cup.
AFP/Getty ImagesJOHN THYS
Zenit St. Petersburg (Winners, Group H)
Zenit are on a record-setting pace, making mincemeat out of this group. Lest one think the Russians had it easy, note that they took down a decent Lyon side and a good Valencia team as well; it's surprise packages Gent that shook up this bracket. Zenit don't get the respect they deserve, but any team with Danny, Hulk, Alex Witsel and Ezequiel Garay warrants more than just a look. Theyâre a wild card in the next round.
AFP/Getty ImagesOLGA MALTSEVA
Dynamo Kiev, (Runners-up, Group G)
Kiev looked pretty average this season, but they took full advantage of a winless Maccabi in their final game of the group stage play to move on. Boasting mainly domestic players, the Ukrainians boast few big names (Andiry Yarmolenko is about it) but they are a hard team to break down. Still, this is one of the weaker sides to qualify, and Porto are probably kicking themselves.
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Chelsea, (Winners, Group G)
Chelsea have not looked very good this year at home, but they won this group on the final day thanks to another solid show from Willian. How much the Blues have in their tank is a very real question: they have looked gassed from the opening whistle this season and have to be considered one of the easier teams a runner-up can face in the round of 16. Certainly, few in Europe will fear them.
AFP/Getty ImagesBEN STANSALL
Arsenal, (Runners-up, Group F)
After a dreadful start to group play, it was a very real possibility that the Gunners would fall at the final hurdle. Instead, they pulled off an assured show in Greece to advance for the 16th straight season into the knockout rounds despite having seven key players out injured. Arsenal still look a few bodies short, but they have shown resilience. Unfortunately, they have also gone out of the round of 16 consistently, falling every year since 2010-2011.
Getty ImagesMichael Regan
Bayern Munich (Winners, Group F)
Bayern were always going to get out of this group and were most likely to win it when the draw was made -- but there were shocks along the way, including a surprising 2-0 loss at Arsenal. Loaded with talent, Bayern boast one of the best attacks in the world, and inarguably the best goalkeeper in the game. But can Pep Guardiola get them back to the winner's podium? 2013 seems so long ago in restless Bavaria.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesAlexander Hassenstein
Roma (Runners-up, Group E)
Roma have been one of the better Italian sides this year but only snuck through here by the skin of their teeth. Netting just six points, they squeaked out of a group dominated by Barcelona despite a poor final day draw against BATE thanks to Leverkusen's wastefulness. Mohamed Salah, Edin Dzeko and Arsenal castoffs Wojciech Szczesny and Gervinho have been difference-makers for them, but how much they have in the tank is an open question.
AS Roma via Getty ImagesLuciano Rossi
Barcelona (Winners, Group E)
Arguably the team to beat this year (though Bayern might have say something to say about that) Barca have been dominant in La Liga and crushed their way through this weak group. The lone blemish? A 1-1 away draw against Roma. Barcelona's attacking trident of Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi is the best in the world; pity whatever poor runner-up gets to face the Catalans next.
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Juventus (Runners-up, Group D)
The rising Italian side missed a chance to win the group with a final-day upset by Sevilla (courtesy of their former star, Fernando Llorente). Still, no one should take this side lightly. After a terrible start in Serie A, they are heading back toward the top. In group play they beat City twice and showed real power and poise. Juve are the runners-up no one will wish to face.
Getty ImagesJean Catuffe
Manchester City (Winners, Group D)
City have a ton of money, a ton of talent, and a habit for making life difficult for themselves. This year, they finally got a lucky break on the final day, getting a win over eliminated Gladbach and seeing Sevilla upset Juventus. That could make a huge difference in the round of 16, but there are still real questions over their injuries (Kompany, Aguero) and their tactics. Still, they are in the knockout round -- while archrivals United are not.
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Benfica (Runners-up, Group C)
The Portuguese are a decent enough side -- but they were also an expected qualifier out of this rather weak group. They did little to shake off that impression, winning the games they had to but slipping up at the last hurdle, and at home, to miss out on top slot. Nicolas Gaitan and Kostas Mitroglou can score goals -- the question is whether or not the aging Julio Cesar can save them.
Getty ImagesGonzalo Arroyo Moreno
Atletico Madrid (Winner, Group C)
Atletico have shrugged off some early blues and are rising both at home and in Europe. The lone bad result on the Rojiblancos' record in group play was a curious scoreless draw at Astana, but a big final day win in Portugal gave them top slot. With power at virtually every position and getting a great year out of Antoine Griezmann, Atletico are a team few will want to face in the next round.
AFP/Getty ImagesJAVIER SORIANO
PSV Eindhoven (Runners-up, Group B)
PSV were a surprise qualifier out of a group that also boasted Manchester United and CSKA, but the Dutch side proved their mettle, downing the aforementioned duo and Wolfsburg when they had to. Their critical Match Day 1 win in Eindhoven over Louis van Gaal's men proved that they had the horses, with Andres Guardado and Luuk de Jong. Like Wolfsburg, there is a suspicion PSV may have hit their zenith.
Getty ImagesDean Mouhtaropoulos
Wolfsburg (Winner, Group B)
A stunning triumph for Dieter Hecking's men, who shrugged off two losses and won big on the final day to seize the top slot and dump Manchester United out of Europe. Wolfsburg can score goals at will, with Julian Draxler, Andre Schurrle, Bas Dost and Max Kruse all dangerous. But with a defense that can cough goals up and a goalkeeper that can be erratic, the question now for the Germans is: have they hit their level?
AFP/Getty ImagesJOHN MACDOUGALL
Paris Saint-Germain (Runners-up, Group A)
PSG were comfortable qualifiers behind Real Madrid, with their lone loss coming at the Bernabeau. Zlatan Ibrahimovic seems ageless heading up a vastly more resilient PSG side than we saw last season, and the Frenchmen are running away with the Ligue 1 title. Aside from Real Madrid, this round didn't give them many true tests: Tougher tests await in the round of 16, where they will face some heavy hitters.
AFP/Getty ImagesKENZO TRIBOUILLARD
Real Madrid (Winner, Group A)
The facts: Real are one of the best teams left in Europe. They crushed most comers, and finished up group play with a record-tying 8-0 thrashing of tiny Malmo. Real drew just a single game in group play behind Cristiano Ronaldo's record-setting scoring spree. While they have been exposed in La Liga, in Europe their hunt for an eleventh title looks well and truly on. Only Barcelona look forward to playing them.