The UEFA Champions League is finally resuming! Football is now back in all its glory. The UCL was heavily rumoured to be cancelled this year, but owing to the valiant efforts of all the healthcare workers, we now have the UCL officially returning.
Heading into the draw, FC Bayern Munich were the clear favourites to win the competition. Their Round Of 16 tie is as good as won, and their dominance in Germany was a impressive indicator to the rest of Europe that they will go all out for the trophy this season. But of course, a little bit of luck is needed for any success. Bayern unfortunately have not had that luck. Lets take a look at all the matchups, and make some predictions.
Manchester City/Real Madrid vs Juventus/Lyon
I feel for Manchester City and Real Madrid, I really do. First, they were paired up with potential finalists (each other) even before the quarterfinals! And the one who manages to win that matchup (City is currently leading 2-1) still has to encounter Juventus (probably) to reach the semi-final. But thats not it! The team who wins that will most probably have to go through Bayern or Barcelona, two of the strongest teams in the competition, if they want to get to the final. So yeah. They probably aren’t going to make it.
As for this quarterfinal matchup, I believe its going to end up being Man City vs Juventus. Madrid are already down a goal, and the match is going to be away from home for them. And even though Juventus lost the first game against Lyon, it was only a 1-goal margin, and the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo alone should cover for that. In the Man City vs Juventus quarterfinal, I think City will have the edge considering the 4-0 thrashing they gave to World Champions Liverpool earlier this week. A City-Juve machup is definitely more likely, but a Real-Juve one would be much more entertaining, because of Ronaldo facing his former club Real Madrid. In that matchup, I believe Juve would be in with a fighting chance, since Ronaldo probably know Real’s weaknesses, and can exploit them easily. Either ways, fun games are guaranteed!
Bayern/Chelsea (Bayern) vs Barcelona/Napoli
This matchup is unfortunate, considering there were much weaker teams that could’ve been paired against these European giants. Bayern winning their tie against Chelsea is a mere formality, but Barca may encounter some problems Napoli. Especially with their recent bottling of the La Liga title, and their dip in form post lockdown. But talking about bad form, Napoli have had one of the worst season’s in their club’s history. So they probably won’t put up much of a fight.
Bayern vs Barcelona will almost surely be the quarterfinal we will end up with here. It will definitely be entertaining, but it will be painful seeing a top team go out in the quarters itself. Oh, wait, sorry for the error. It will be painful seeing Barcelona go out in the quarters itself. But, such is life. Barca fans, you guys are in for a series of disappointments in the near future (a certain Lionel Messi is leaving their club, shhhh).
RB Leipzig vs Atletico Madrid
Now on to the definite quarterfinals! I think Atletico are the clear favourites here, in spite of Leipzig’s insurgence to the top. Their defensive masterclass against Liverpool makes it an easy game to predict. Plus, the fact that Timo Werner will no be playing for them anymore doesn’t help their case. Admittedly, Atletico aren’t performing too well in the La Liga, but it shouldn’t matter too much against Leipzig, who may be affected by a 1-month long break they will be taking since their league is now over. I predict a 2-0 scoreline in favour of Atletico.
Atalanta vs PSG
Ahhhh, alas the Cinderella story of Atalanta must come to an end. PSG have been assigned the job of telling the kids that Santa isn’t real. It has to be done, but its difficult. But I’m sure PSG don’t mind it too much, given their hunger for European glory! PSG have a very easy route to the final this time. If they don’t win it now, they have to give up. They play Atalanta in the quarters (Easiest team possible) and Leipzig or Atletico in the semis (2nd and 3rd easiest teams possible). So they have their work cut out for them. Their only real challenge will come in the final against Bayern or Barca or Man City or Real Madrid or Juventus. Oh wait, sorry for the error. Their only real challenge will come in the final against Bayern.
As much as it hurts to admit, PSG do have the highest probability of winning the UCL now, purely because of the draw. It is almost certain that they will reach the finals. The question is, who will face them there? Bayern are the most likely, that is if they play like they have been in 2020. The 1-month long break they will be taking may affect their players, and they might not play like themselves. Plus, these are just one off ties, anything can happen. If Bayern don’t make it, Manchester City or Barcelona probably will. As for the eventual winner, I say Bayern, but statistics say PSG have an overwhelming advantage. We’ll see…
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