The Champions League draw couldn't have worked out much better for English clubs — or English pubs.

All five teams that qualified this season are through to the knockout stages, a record for clubs from these shores.

And with a few favourable ties coming out of the hat, you would expect most to make it to the last eight.

This week Liverpool and Manchester City all but guaranteed their safe passage to the quarter-finals and Spurs will feel confident of seeing off Juventus at Wembley after coming back from a 2-0 defecit to level the tie.

It should hopefully represent a change of fortunes for the Premier League sides, which have had to watch on as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus have dominated the latter stages in recent years.

The chances of an English team progressing all the way to the final in Kiev in May have been given a further boost, with Real Madrid playing PSG at this stage, meaning only one of those giants can make it to the quarter-finals. Real are in the driving seat after winning the first leg 3-1.



Multiple matchdays

Pubs also have plenty of chances to make the most of the action, with games being played over eight different matchdays on Tuesdays and Wednesdays up to March 14.

Perhaps the only thing that could have made it better would have been Celtic making it through as well — but fans of the Scottish champions can still catch them in Europe, in the Europa League on Thursdays, along with Arsenal.

So what do the professionals think? We caught up with a pundit and some publicans.



The pundit: Michael Owen

The England legend (pictured above with Vicky Martin, licensee at the Sup & Chow in Cheltenham) scored goals for some of the biggest clubs in Europe, including Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United. He is now a pundit for BT Sport.

"We are doing great in terms of the English clubs," he says. "Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United have had good draws and I would expect them to go through to the quarters.

"Tottenham have got a trickier one with Juventus, but maybe they are not quite as good as they have been in recent years. Chelsea have had a bad draw with Barcelona and that shows how important it is to win the group.

"The English teams are definitely stronger this year but the Spanish teams know how to win the competition. Real Madrid have won it three out of the last four times, so, for me, they are still the favourites.

"Everyone says they are playing poorly but they only need to start playing well in March to put themselves in a position to win it."

And the former Liverpool man is delighted to see his old club make it through to this stage for the first time since 2009. He adds: "Liverpool did really well to finish top of the group and they have got the reward. There is something very special about a European night at Anfield."




The Fox & Hounds. Putney, London

London Sports pub The Fox & Hounds can expect two bumper nights when local side Chelsea take on Barcelona over two legs.

Colin Woods, manager at the Stonegate pub, says: "As well as getting a lot of Chelsea and Fulham fans, we also have a large Spanish community that uses us.

"We will have a mixture of Chelsea and Barcelona fans, so we should have two great nights. It was similar when Chelsea played Roma in the group.

"We have different communities we appeal to and we keep in touch with them on Twitter and Facebook as well as in the pub and through newsletters and our noticeboard."



Game On Sports LoungeTotton, Southampton

You might not find Southampton in European competition this year, but licensee Godfrey Cook still expects a busy bar.

"The group stages were good but the knockouts is when it gets really interesting," he says.

"We have got a lot of fans of the clubs that are through — apart from Manchester City — so we should have some good nights.

"Spurs and Liverpool games are often good for us, it's just making people aware of it, which we will be doing with social media.

"Real Madrid v PSG is a game I am excited about, but for us as a bar it is important that the English clubs stay in the competition."