Odd odds: The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 draw

Stefan Klößner 1  and Martin Becker 1
  • 1 Statistics and Econometrics, Saarland University, Campus C3 1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany
Stefan Klößner and Martin Becker


The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 is characterized by restrictions that prevent teams from the same preliminary group and the same nations from matches against each other. Together with the draw procedure currently employed by UEFA, this leads to odd probabilities: in 2012/2013, there were more outcomes of the draw with German Schalke 04 facing Ukrainian Shakhtar Donetsk than there were results where they were matched with Galatasaray Istanbul. In contrast, the probability of Schalke being drawn against Galatasaray exceeded that of playing Shakhtar. We show that this strange effect is due to the group restriction and the mechanism used by UEFA for the draw. Additionally, we provide procedures with which UEFA could produce adequate probabilities for the draw.

  • Eugster, M. J. A., J. Gertheiss, and S. Kaiser. 2011. “Having the Second Leg at Home – Advantage in the UEFA Champions League Knockout Phase?” Journal of Quantitative Analysis of Sports (7): Article 6.

    • Crossref
  • R Core Team. 2012. R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing, R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria, URL http://www.R-project.org/, ISBN 3-900051-07-0.

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