How does the UCL knockout phase work?

Sure, the World Cup is cool and all, but there’s just something magical about the Champions League knockout stages.

This truly is the most wonderful time of the year; when the finest footballers on the planet lock horns in a bid to embolden and tighten their respective legacies. It’s where the miracle-workers manifest and, despite the ever-increasing financial inequality, underdogs rise.

Who knows, 2022/23 might be one of the last times we enjoy the Champions League as we know it. The threat of a European Super League has re-emerged and questions over where the sport is headed at the highest level have resurfaced.

Only time will tell.

Anyway, as we prepare for yet another campaign of UCL lunacy down the stretch, it’d be wise to ensure you’re up to speed with the latest rules and regulations when it comes to the competition’s structure and format.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Here are the eight UCL round of 16 fixtures:

For the first knockout round (last 16), there are eight seeded teams (group winners) and eight unseeded teams (group runners-up). The seeded teams are then drawn against the unseeded teams.

Teams from the same group or the same association could not be drawn against each other.

Seedings disappear ahead the quarter-finals. At this stage, anybody can play against anybody.

The draws for the quarter-finals and semi-finals are made on the same day, meaning teams will know the two sides they could face in the last four should they win their quarter-final tie.

In the round of 16, the eight seeded teams will host the second legs. That’s pre-determined.

Then, in the quarter-final and semi-final draws, the team that is drawn out of the hat first will host the first leg and play the second away. However, there are instances where UEFA will alter the schedule to avoid teams from the same city playing at home on the same or consecutive days.

Each Champions League knockout tie up until the final is played over two legs, but there are no longer away goals.

Thus, if the scores are level following the conclusion of normal time in the second leg, extra time (a 30-minute period) will ensue. If the scores are still level after that, a penalty shootout will determine the victor.

Players will be given a one-game suspension should they accumulate three yellow cards between Matchday 1 of the group stage and the second leg of the quarter-finals.

The slate is wiped clean after the quarter-finals, with UEFA attempting to ensure no players will be suspended for the final.

A straight red card also warrants a one-game suspension.