Just when you thought if the International break could be over, we are back with more Champions league action starting today!
The quarterfinal stages are here and the fans can’t wait any longer. Although, some of the shocking news are the fact that in this years quarterfinals, we don’t have a Messi vs. Ronaldo final in a long time.
Allow me to refresh your memory a little. Ronaldo and his Juventus side were dealt a tough blow at home due to goal differential and they fell to Portuguese underdogs, Porto. Moving onto Barcelona, Lionel Messi’s side were manhandled by a Kylian Mbappe man on a mission. So could there be a new era in the beautiful game? Who knows. The real question is, with the quarterfinals lining up, who could come out victorious in leg 1 of 2? Let’s dive to it, shall we?
CLASH OF TITANS – TUESDAY
Real Madrid vs. Liverpool – Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.
Anyone remember that it was thanks to Sergio Ramos why Mohamed Salah couldn’t finish what he started in 2018? Well, now things have a chance to even the score.
The quarterfinal draw brings an opportunity for Liverpool to write a new transcript and the story is already in the works. Zidane has been throwing praises over to Jurgen Klopp’s way as Real Madrid are dealt two massive blows with Eden Hazard and Sergio Ramos out of the 21 man lineup for this upcoming match due to injury. Liverpool on the other hand are looking strong in the Champions League.
For Real Madrid, it will be extremely important to not let Liverpool get too far ahead especially as they barely have a defense with Raphael Varane set to be the leading factor defensively for the Madrid side. Meanwhile for Liverpool, all they need to do is their own thing. Klopp’s offensive game could be a nightmare coming up for Madrid as Salah, Sane, Jota and even Firmino are incredibly deadly and have been all along in this competition. My score prediction is a 1-0 Liverpool victory. However, this could be a blood bath coming to Zidane’s side and maybe a piece of humbling pie needed for Madrid.
Manchester City vs. Borussia Dortmund – City of Manchester Stadium (Etihad).
The gates of hell have been opened! What a huge matchup we got here and one that could be a roller-coaster ride.
Borussia Dortmund are riding comfortable but their striker Erling Haaland might make a move this summer if Dortmund can’t make Champions League competition next year.
Meanwhile, the English Premier leaders are coming “all or nothing”.
News last week broke out that Sergio Aguero is set to leave Manchester City after the end of the season.
Manchester will be a treat to watch especially against a strong competitor in Haaland and company. The key factor here though is how the City defense shuts down Haaland, meanwhile for Dortmund there is a bit to panic.
Manchester City have an incredibly lethal core, when playing them it feels like they have 7 strikers. Why? well, players like KDB, Gundogan, Foden, and more can make a difference at any given point. So, the question here is if Dortmund has what it takes to control City’s powerful attack.
Score prediction for this game is a strong 3-1 for City. Dortmund’s defense is just too shaky to give them this much credit.
BATTLE ROYALE! DAVID VS. GOLIATH – WEDNESDAY
Bayern Munich vs. Paris St-Germain: Allianz Arena (rematch, much?)
Biggest match of the quarter finals is literally just hours away! The match everyone was hoping for which is the rematch of last years’ Champions League final.
In this match, there is a massive worry ahead for the German side, Bayern Munich. Bayern comes into this match missing their #1 man offensively as Robert Lewandowski is out due to injury. For Hans Flick, Erick Chuopo-Mouting has got to provide for Bayern, otherwise they are a completely different team. However, there are the likes of Kingsley Coman and Thomas Mueller who at any point could deliver a big blow to PSG.
Speaking of PSG, their man Neymar returns to the lineup and could be as dangerous as ever before. With Kylian Mbappe firing off on all cylinders, Neymar’s return just adds to the odds being stacked against Bayern Munich.
My prediction here is a 2-1 victory for PSG and it hurts me to say that as I’m a Munich fan.
LAST… BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST! UNDERDOG VS. TOP BRASS! – WEDNESDAY
Porto FC vs. Chelsea FC: Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan (Sevilla Stadium).
What a good battle we got between this two coming. Could Chelsea face a potential “Phillippe Coutinho” moment this year?
While Chelsea on paper looks to be the stronger side, on the field, the story is yet to be told until this game is played. For Tuchel, this could very well be the first time that him as manager win all 3 rounds as new manager for Chelsea in the Champions League. The one thing though is, they can very well have a Phillippe Coutinho moment coming to them. Are you asking yourself what am I talking about?
Earlier in the season, Chelsea loaned center defenseman, Malang Sarr to Porto FC. Sarr has been a key component to the defensive game for Chelsea and will be allowed to play against them come Champions League. Usually, loaned players are not allowed to play against their team but this rule applies to the EPL and not UCL.
For Chelsea, this game will be crucial for them to be on their A game and do what they know to do, attack! Meanwhile for Porto, the element of surprise has got to continue to be their game in order to be successful. My prediction for this game is a tied score at 1/piece. Honestly, both teams have enough weaponry and maybe Chelsea more-so than Porto but it is important to see chemistry happen from the 1st minute otherwise, it could be a very even game.
While the quarter finals are here for the Champions league, expect to see some drama unfold! It will not only be how each team does over the other or how close the games will be. In addition to the games in themselves, refereeing and the VAR system could play a big factor once again and could potentially be big decision makers at the end of things in this first leg.
~Diego Galvis (@Diego_TheDJ On Twitter).
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