Twelve months ago UEFA.com's team of boffins assessed the trends and deduced that Real Madrid would win the UEFA Champions League: so, who has the edge in 2017?
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Top your group
Ten of the last 11 champions finished first in their groups – early momentum, it seems, is key. The exception came in 2010 with Internazionale Milano, who needed a matchday six win against Rubin Kazan to pip the Russian side to the runners-up spot behind Barcelona. They quickly found their groove in the knockout stage, however.
Bad news for: Paris Saint-Germain, Benfica, Manchester City, Bayern, Leverkusen, Real Madrid, Porto, Sevilla
Get errors out of your system
The team with the best defensive record after the group stage have not won the competition since the current format was introduced in 2003. Back in 2009, Barcelona's back line ranked 18th. It appears advisable to get those defensive errors out of your system, though there is a limit: no side have lifted the trophy after shipping more than eight in the group stage.
Bad news for: Juventus, Atlético, Dortmund, Benfica, Manchester City, Real Madrid
No club advancing from the group phase for the first time have reached the final under the current format. Villarreal came closest in 2006 when Arsenal scraped a 1-0 semi-final win, Juan Riquelme having a late penalty saved by Jens Lehmann that would have forced an additional 30 minutes.
Bad news for: Leicester
Twenty-one different teams picked up the European Cup over the course of its first 42 campaigns; 19 seasons on and the solitary name of Chelsea has been added. If you haven't won it before, you are up against it.
Bad news for: Arsenal, Atlético, Leicester, Leverkusen, Manchester City, Monaco, Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain, Sevilla
So, according to this (not exactly) scientific survey, the side the omens favour as the round of 16 gets under way is ... Barcelona. But, as ever, it won't be easy. For starters, the Spanish champions will have to arrest one emerging trend: none of the last five winners began the campaigns as domestic title holders.
What do you reckon?