The nights are drawing in and temperatures have plummeted across Europe. For football fans across the continent it can only mean one thing: the beginning of the Champions League knockout stages.

This season's edition has already thrown up surprising results, controversy and plenty of entertainment. Except for Porto and Paris Saint-Germain, the rest of this season's draw is made up of Europe's top four leagues.

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The teams to have reached the last-16 are:

Seeded: Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain

Unseeded: Atletico Madrid, Borussia Monchengladbach, Porto, Atalanta, Sevilla, Lazio, Barcelona, RB Leipzig

With the draw for the knockout stage set to take place on Monday, we take a closer look at the stories that have captured our attention.

You can follow the draw live with us from 11am with our free livestream

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HIGH-PROFILE EXITS

Some big clubs fell at the first hurdle. Perhaps the greatest shock departure is Manchester United.

United won their opening two games against last year's finalist Paris Saint-Germain and thrashed RB Leipzig 5-0 before losses against Istanbul Basaksehir and PSG in Paris. United had to get a point against Leipzig on matchday six, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side ended up losing 3-2.

The likes of Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez are not in the pot either as Inter Milan were held to a goalless draw by Shakhtar in their final group game. The result condemned Antonio Conte's side to fourth and not even a Europa League spot.

The other notable name to have missed out is 2019 Champions League semi-finalist Ajax who lost 1-0 to Atalanta. The Eredivisie champions will join United in the hat for the Europa League last-32 draw on Monday afternoon.

Manchester United failed to qualify for the knockout stages after losing in Germany

Image credit: Getty Images

NEW FACES

Thanks to Shakhtar Donetsk's goalless draw with Inter Milan, Borussia Monchengladbach have progressed to the knockout stages for the first time in their history.

The Bundesliga club have impressed since former Salzburg coach Marco Rose took charge a year-and-a-half-ago. He has now led Gladbach through the groups in only their third ever Champions League campaign. Gladbach scored a remarkable 16 goals en route to the knockout stages, joint second with Barcelona - behind only Bayern (18) - as their high-octane, swashbuckling brand of football saw them over the line in group B.

Lazio will be making their first appearance in the Champions League knockout stages since the 1999/2000 season and the Biancocelesti go into it undefeated. Ciro Immobile, with five goals in four matches, spearheaded their progress with two wins out of three at home.

Sevilla, serial Europa League winners, are back into the knockout stages since reaching the quarter-finals two years ago. The La Liga club, managed by former Spain and Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui, qualified with two games to spare despite being thrashed 4-0 by Chelsea thanks to four Olivier Giroud goals on December 2.

GERMAN DOMINATION

With Monchengladbach securing their place in the knockout stages on matchday six, the tournament has a very strong German presence in UEFA's most prestigious club competition. Spain are the only other nation to also have four teams in the knockout stages, but it is hard to overlook how strong the German lineup is this year.

Last season's winners Bayern Munich cruised through their group undefeated and are one of the favourites to win the whole thing again, while an exciting Borussia Dortmund side will be hoping to progress beyond the last-16 for the first time under Lucien Favre with goal machine Erling Haaland up front.

Gladbach's impressive attacking displays in the group stage will make them a serious threat for any side, while RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann will think he has a good chance of getting his plucky team into the last four for the second year in a row in just his second season in charge.

Bayern Munich are looking to win the Champions League for a second year in a row

Image credit: Getty Images

THE DARK HORSES

Atalanta will be feeling bullish. The Serie A club defied the odds last year to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in their history and this campaign have reached the knockouts by impressively winning all three of their away games, including an emphatic 2-0 victory against Liverpool at Anfield.

With greater European knockout experience under their belt and a mostly unchanged squad from last season, Gian Piero Gasperini's men will not go down quietly.

Leipzig showed great grit and determination to recover their Champions League campaign after disappointing away defeats to PSG (1-0) and United (5-0) and will have taken great confidence from beating both European heavyweights at home.

Leipzig reached the semi-finals last year and have since grabbed a win against the side that knocked them out in Lisbon in August. Why could they not go one step further this time around?

WHO IS BEST PLACED TO WIN IT?

There are five teams widely regarded as the favourites: Bayern Munich, Juventus, Manchester City, Liverpool and PSG.

Liverpool and City are in the midst of a gruelling title race that none of the others are, while Juventus with Cristiano Ronaldo and PSG with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will ultimately be relying on their star names to get them over the line in Europe.

Could Cristiano Ronaldo lead Juventus to the Champions League this season?

Image credit: Getty Images

Bayern and City had the strongest group stages - finishing 16 points apiece - but with Bayern not even fielding full-strength teams in their final two group games against Atletico Madrid and Lokomotiv Moscow, it shows the strength in the depth they have. It is no surprise the Bundesliga champions are the heavy favourites with the bookies to lift the trophy for the second season in a row.

But as we know, this is the Champions League and quite literally anything can happen.

WHEN IS THE LAST-16 DRAW?

The draw will take place at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, on Monday December 14 at 11am (GMT).

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