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History favours Barcelona as round of 16 begins

UEFA.com has been delving into the history books for any round of 16 portents and finds Barcelona in fine fettle against ever-presents Arsenal, plus sides who are away first dominating.

Lionel Messi and Barcelona have fine round of 16 records to defend
Lionel Messi and Barcelona have fine round of 16 records to defend ©Getty Images

Ahead of this week's round of 16 first legs, UEFA.com has been studying the historical results at the same stage stretching back to 2003/04 and finds Barcelona looking to continue an impressive record, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo unsurprisingly leading the way in the scoring stakes and positive omens for away sides. 

• Arsenal and Real Madrid are the only teams to have featured in every round of 16, including this season – the pair have played 12 ties, 24 games, apiece. Barcelona, Bayern München and Chelsea have all played 11 round of 16 ties.

• Results in the round of 16 first legs are remarkably even, with 34 of the 96 matches finishing as home wins (35.42%), 30 as draws (31.25%) and 32 as away wins (33.33%).

• However, 69 of the ties (71.8%) have been won by the side playing away first. Of those, 31 featured an away first-leg victory, 23 a draw, while on 15 occasions sides overturned away defeats to progress in the home return leg. Meanwhile, 19 teams who won the tie registered a home first-leg victory and seven a home draw; only one, Internazionale Milano in 2010/11, came back from a home defeat in the first leg.

• An away side's chances of progress are further improved should they score an away goal in the first leg – 80.5% of the teams who advanced having been away from home in the first leg, scored a goal.

• However, the first goal in the tie is just as pivotal; 60 of the 96 round of 16 ties (all since 2003/04) have been won by the side scoring the first goal, or 62.5%.

• On average, home teams have scored 1.13 goals in the first leg – compared with 1.25 for their visitors.

• There is good news for the eight clubs who came top of their groups in the autumn – history shows they have a 71.9% chance of winning their round of 16 tie. Sixty-nine of the 96 group winners since 2003/04 have made it to the quarter-finals, an average of almost six a season, although only once – in 2013/14 – did all eight group winners progress.

Benfica have a 75% win record in the round of 16
Benfica have a 75% win record in the round of 16©AFP/Getty Images

• Of the sides in this season's round of 16, Benfica have the best record in round of 16 matches having won three of their four games (75%), ahead of Barcelona (15 wins from 22 matches – 68.2%). Atlético Madrid, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, PSV Eindhoven, Roma and Zenit all boast winning ratios of 50% while Real Madrid have won just nine of their 24 matches (37.5%).

• Including this term, England have had 43 teams in the round of 16, three more than Spain. Italy are the third most successful country with 32 participations, just ahead of Germany (29), with France on 20 and Portugal on 12. Czech Republic, Denmark, Cyprus and, this season, Belgium have all had one representative.

• Barcelona are the club with most home (nine) and away (six) wins in the round of 16.

• AC Milan hold the record for the biggest home first-leg victory, having beaten Arsenal 4-0 in 2011/12 – they squeezed through on aggregate after a 3-0 away loss. Bayern München (5-0 at Sporting Clube de Portugal, 2008/09) and Real Madrid (6-1 at Schalke, 2013/14) have posted the joint highest first-leg away victory. Bayern also have the record for the biggest aggregate last-16 success, having won that tie with Sporting 12-1 overall.

• Iker Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo have played in 22 round of 16 games each, more than any other player; Zlatan Ibrahimović and Frank Lampard have played in 21, with Lionel Messi, Didier Drogba and Víctor Valdés all on 20.

• Messi and Ronaldo are well clear in the scoring charts in terms of round of 16 goals, with the Argentinian on 17, two clear of the Portuguese. Thierry Henry is third on the list with eight goals, one more than Karim Benzema and Thomas Müller.

Highlights: watch Ronaldo's record scoring run
Highlights: watch Ronaldo's record scoring run