The Champions League returned on the 7th of August after a 6 month hiatus and it very much reminded us why we were missing it so much. The Round of 16 gave us some pretty spectacular sites and fiery match ups and we finally have the 8 teams who will be competing in Lisbon, Portugal for the 65th edition of the Champions League which will be remembered in the history books for a plethora of reasons.
Atalanta BC V/S Paris Saint Germain
In the first match which will kick off this unique single legged format of the quarter finals, the Italian side Atalanta will be taking on the French champions PSG. Both the teams rely heavily on their attacking prowess so a flurry of goals is to be expected. Atalanta possess the 3rd highest goal tally in the top 5 leagues with 98 goals to their names after Manchester City’s 102 and Bayern Munich’s 100 goals. All the while PSG ran riot in the Ligue 1 scoring a whopping 75 goals in just 27 games and might have beaten the above mention team’s tallies had the French League not been ended early.
The biggest hurdle in PSG’s road to glory is the 5 month break in football the team got due to the coronavirus. In July, PSG played 3 friendlies winning all of them and though they won both of the official games they played the, the concerning part is that they scored only 1 goal and won the match against Lyon in penalties even though the match went into extra time. To make matters worse, PSG is missing a lot of their heavy hitters in the form of Edinson Cavani who left the club after his contract expired, Angel Di Maria who is suspended, Marco Verratti to an injury in his calf and the biggest blow is definitely whose injury concerns have the entire PSG fanbase trembling.
On the other side of that coin, Atalanta will be coming into the game with high confidence finishing 3rd in Serie A and since the return winning 9 games, drawing 3 and losing only 1. However, they will also be missing a major part of their team ie. Josep Ilicic for reasons still unclear.
RB Leipzig V/S Atletico Madrid
The second match of the quarter finals is in complete contrast to the first one. While PSG and Atalanta will both be looking to outscore each other, the focus of these two teams will be keeping the opposition out of their own net. Atletico Madrid has one of the best defensive structure in the world, meticulously perfected by the master tactician Diego Simeone. The loss of Antione Griezmann to FC Barcelona has increased their dependence on their defensive capabilities. RB Leipzig will heavily relate to Atletico Madrid in the matter since their very own talisman, Timo Werner, has left the club even before their season has ended to join his new club Chelsea leaving a big gaping hole in their attack.
Atletico Madrid will be favouring their chances in the match up for another reason, RB Leipzig haven’t played a single official game in the past 45 days. All the while, since the restart the Rojiblancos haven’t lost a single game since the restart and beating the reigning champions Liverpool FC at Anfield, the Red and White army will be feeling particularly confident of advancing to the next round. However, Julian Nagelsmann will not let it be a cake walk, he too is a great tactician and will make Atletico press their limits to advance to the next round.
FC Barcelona V/S Bayern Munich
Perhaps the most anticipated tie among the lot, this match will attract the most eyes around the world. These 2 European superpowers are meeting after 5 long years since the semi-final of the 2014-15 Champions League when Barcelona’s infamous MSN spearheaded them to a record 2nd treble. Hansi Flick’s Bayern side will be looking for revenge with both squads consisting of several of the players who participated in that match. Unlike their last meet, this time the Bavarian Giants are the favourites against the Catalan giants.
Both of these teams boast a world class squad, with one consisting of the greatest player on the planet, Lionel Messi, and the other with the man, Robert Lewandoski, who was most anticipated to take that title away from him. Though Bayern will be favouring their chances, they know it’s not going to be a cake walk. The Blaugrana are perhaps in the worst shape of their history but you can never count out any team whose rankings consists of a certain little magician known as Lionel Messi as Jerome Boateng will rightly agree.
Manchester City V/S Olympique Lyonnais
The Quarter Finals will be concluded on 15th August with Ol Lyon taking on Manchester City. The Cityzens are the clear favourites to win the tie but given Lyon’s performance against Juventus, nobody can question the ability of the French club to pull off an upset. As we saw in the Premier League this year, Manchester City has been relatively inconsistent away from home which Lyon could take advantage of. Although City possesses arguably the greatest mid-fielder of this generation, their attack greatly misses the clinical finishing of Sergio Aguero.
Lyon have surprised many by reaching the Quarter Finals but this hasn’t been Juventus’ greatest ever seasons and when it came to Cristiano Ronaldo, they weren’t able to contain the Portuguese goal machine. If they want to progress to the next stage of the competition they will need to put a performance of a lifetime against this in form Manchester City side.