This time of year always generates a focus on the UEFA Champions League, as the knockout stages yield their first casualties and the field winnows down to the favorites. But focusing too much on Europe can cause a fan to miss out on another competition with a pedigree nearly as long in South America. The Copa Libertadores, started just four years after UEFA’s premier club competition, pits the greatest clubs of the southern game against one another in a multi-stage tournament every bit as fierce as the one being played out on the opposite side of the Atlantic.
This year’s edition is currently halfway through its group stage, with 32 teams vying for the 16 slots in the knockout stage. The basic format will look familiar to fans of the UEFA Champions League and European football in general, so the essence is in learning the vagaries of the group dynamics. Click through to see how each group is shaping up and how the knockout stage will likely look when the final series of group matches wraps up on April 22.