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Champions League knockout stage: Key dates for quarters, semi and final plus rule change

The Champions League returns this week as the knockout stages get underway, in which Europe’s elite prepare to do battle once more ahead of the first legs of their Last 16 ties over the next fortnight

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The UEFA Champions League is finally back on our TV screens for the first time since early December as the first legs of the Last 16 ties are set to take place over the next two weeks.

Manchester City and Liverpool are in action on February 15-16, before Chelsea and Manchester United have their turns on February 22-23.

Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola’s sides then play their second legs on March 8-9, before Ralf Rangnick and Thomas Tuchel compete in their reverse fixtures the following week on March 15-16.

But then comes the rest of the tournament after that, while there is also an important rule change to this season’s knockout stages.

Here are all the key dates and information you need to know ahead of the remainder of the Champions League for the 2021/22 season.

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Who is your favourite to win the Champions League this season? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

The UEFA Champions League return this week with the first legs of the Last 16 ties


UEFA via Getty Images)

Away goals rule

The usual away goals rule will not be in place for the knockout stages of the 2021/22 Champions League.

This means that, should the scores be level after both legs, then extra-time and penalties will take place in order to determine the winner who will advance to the next round, no matter who has scored the most away goals.

Cup tied players

UEFA has also changed the rule on the usage of cup tied players for this season’s knockout stages.

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Normally, if a player has already featured in European competition for another club, they then can’t participate in other European fixtures for their new club within the same season.

However, that rule has been scrapped this year and as long as a player has moved to their new club before the knockout stages begin, they will be made available for selection.

Luis Diaz will be able to feature for Liverpool in the knockout stages despite playing against them for Porto before his January move to Anfield


Getty Images)


Clubs can now name up to 12 players on their substitutes bench for Champions League knockout matches.

Managers will also be able to use a maximum of five substitutions within the 90 minutes of the game, as long as the changes are made in no more than three separate intervals of play.

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Should a second-leg go to extra-time, then a sixth substitution is allowed to be made.

Five substitutions can now be made within 90 minutes in the knockout stages



Upcoming Last 16 ties

First legs

Tuesday 15 February

Sporting CP vs Manchester City

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Paris vs Real Madrid

Wednesday 16 February

Salzburg vs Bayern

Inter vs Liverpool

Tuesday 22 February

Chelsea vs LOSC Lille

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Villarreal vs Juventus

Wednesday 23 February

Benfica vs Ajax

Atlético vs Manchester United

Second legs

Tuesday 8 March

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Bayern vs Salzburg

Liverpool vs Inter

Wednesday 9 March

Manchester City vs Sporting CP

Real Madrid vs Paris

Tuesday 15 March

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Ajax vs Benfica

Manchester United vs Atlético

Wednesday 16 March

LOSC Lille vs Chelsea

Juventus vs Villarreal

Key dates

18 March: Quarter-final & Semi-final draw

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5/6 April: Quarter-finals, first legs

12/13 April: Quarter-finals, second legs

26/27 April: Semi-finals, first legs

3/4 May: Semi-finals, second legs

28 May: Final – Gazprom Arena, Saint Petersburg

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