Different than ever, the Champions League quarter-finals and semi-finals draw took place in Nyon. The final three stages of the competition will be held in Lisbon over 12 days period from 12-23 August. All the matches will be played as single-leg ties making it an unpredictable encounter. Below, we analyze the draw of the Champions League quarter-finals in detail.
Manchester City/Real Madrid vs Juventus/Lyon
Any of the four teams can still progress to the quarterfinals having completed only the first leg of their round-of-16 ties.
Man City has a 2-1 lead after the first leg against Real Madrid which was played in late February just before the coronavirus outbreak. In contrast, their potential opponents Juventus have a lot of work to do having lost their first leg in Lyon by one goal to nil.
Although Lyon does have a narrow lead against Juventus coming into the second leg, the seven-time French champions were under severe pressure for the majority of that game. Juventus have scored at least once in every match at home this season which leads to the inevitable – Lyon will have to score and probably more than once to go through.
On the other side, when Real hosted City at the Santiago Bernabeu in late February, Zinedine Zidane’s men were not in the best of forms having picked up only one point from the last two matches. However, things have changed drastically since the restart of the season with Real winning eight on the trot. Additionally, the game will be played behind closed doors that eliminate the home advantage for City making it an even more unpredictable encounter.
If the games pan out how they should on paper, it is most likely that Manchester City and Juventus would be the first pair of the first quarter-final. However, with various factors affecting the teams, making predictions at this stage is of little use.
RB Leipzig vs Atletico Madrid
On paper, this might not look like the most mouth-watering tie of all the quarter-finals. However, the styles of play proposed by both teams are so contradicting to each other that it makes a very intriguing tie indeed.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side battered Tottenham over the two legs in a scintillating attacking fashion. Leipzig’s preferred formation this season has been a variation of 3-4-3 or 3-5-2, which often sees the Germans playing with three forwards. Timo Werner, Christopher Nkunku, and Patrick Schickhave scored a combined total of 43 goals this season with the front three sharing some similarities to Liverpool’s attacking trio. Nonetheless, Leipzig’s energetic and individually skilful front three may have a few problems facing Atletico’s well-drilled and rigid low-block.
Even though Atletico are not the strongest of the teams left in the competition, but they are definitely the one to be avoided. Over the years, Diego Simeone’s side has proved to be incredibly hard to break down which makes life unpleasant even for the best teams in Europe.
Atletico reached the Champions League final on two occasions in 2014 and 2016 but lost it both times to their rivals across the street Real Madrid. Despite that, “Los Colchoneros” is arguably the most suited team for a single leg tie where staying in a game for as long as possible and grinding out the result is a key factor for success.
Offence wins games, but defence wins championships is the saying. In Atletico’s case, solid defence in a single leg format tournament may take them to the third Champions League final in six years.
Barcelona/Napoli vs Bayern/Chelsea
The second group of teams that are yet to complete their round-of-16 battles.
Barca managed to grab a precious away goal in Naples back in February putting them as favorites to advance further. However, QuiqueSetien’s side has not been in the best of forms recently having drawn three games since the restart of La Liga season. The front three of Messi, Suarez, and Griezmann are yet to establish themselves as a deadly striker partnership with the Frenchman, in particular, finding it difficult to adapt to his new role at Barca.
Nevertheless, Napoli has just won the Coppa Italia and although their domestic campaign has been far from successful this season, they have more than enough attacking talent to score at Camp Nou.
On the flip side, the second leg between Bayern and Chelsea is now only a formality. Bayern has a three-goal lead after the first leg and only a miracle could save Frank Lampard and his team. The Bavarians will no doubt have one eye on the quarter-final already with a possibility of facing Barcelona making it highly intriguing. The Bundesliga champions have scored 27 goals in this Champions League campaign with Robert Lewandowski (11 goals) and Serge Gnabry (7 goals) as the top scorers of the competition.
Atalanta vs Paris Saint-Germain
The Parisians perhaps can consider themselves as the luckiest of all the teams having been drawn on a weaker side of the draw. At first glance, it looks like a perfect path to their first-ever Champions League final. The PSG trio of Neymar, Icardi, and Mbappe has scored a total of 57 goals combined being the deadliest striker unit in Europe. However, with the Ligue 1 season declared over in late April due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Parisians will have not officially kicked the ball for four months prior to their meeting with Atalanta.
On the other hand, Atalanta are the third-highest scoring team in Europe having scored a whopping 85 goals in the Serie A season so far. The Italians are on a nine-game winning streak and only behind Bayern (13) in this respect. Gian Piero Gasperini has created an astonishingly fluid machine that will need some stopping. The attacking talent of both teams makes this tie a mouth-watering prospect with no team prepared to sit back.
The semi-finals draw
- Manchester City/Real Madrid or Juventus/Lyon vs Barcelona/Napoli or Bayern/Chelsea
- RB Leipzig/Atletico Madrid vs Atalanta/PSG