UEFA Champions League Quarter Finals

For the first time in recent history the quarterfinal draw of EUFA Champions League involves the biggest of the names in European football. When Luis Figo stepped up to draw the balls he had a star studded line-up to pick from – 3 best teams in La Liga, 2 most consistent performers in Europe from England, 2 teams who shared the Bundesliga titles between them and also played last years’ CL final and the reigning French Champions. Only possible omission is presence of an Italian team but I would not swap any of the current 8 teams for any of the Italian teams. Well on a second thought, I may consider swapping either BVB or Manchester United with Juventus. But let’s not distract Juventus and let them focus on Europa League for the time being and we focus on the mouth-watering contests at hand.

Manchester United v/s Bayern Munich

The most talked after tie of the draw not because it’s the most competitive but rather the talk is about the margin of Bayern’s win. Some of the Bayern supporters have already started thinking about semi-finals. Other than the form of the teams and squads, the big contrast in this tie is the footballing philosophy of the two managers. Pep Guardiola, who was courted by United to replace Sir Alex, is the most tactically advanced manager of this generation and his opposite number is a proponent of an outdated footballing philosophy. Can United take advantage of not being favourites and play fearlessly as they have nothing to lose? Or can Moyes make Man United punch above their weight, like he used to do with Everton. With some luck, one never knows may be Man United can nick this one. However, purely on footballing considerations, I can’t see Man United beating Bayern Munich over two legs. In fact, I won’t be surprise if Man United lose both home and away.

Prediction: Bayern Munich to win

Barcelona v/s Atletico

One thing is sure; there will a Spanish team when the draws for semi-finals take place on 11th April. The downside of this is that European games between the same nation teams are often dull and cagey as the teams know each other very well. It may well turn out the same given the recent meetings between these 2 teams – they have already met thrice this season and all three meetings have been draws, with 2 being goalless draws. But there are two things that may go in Barca’s favour – one, they have been a regular at this stage of the competition and know how to progress and second, in Leo Messi they have a magician that can single-handedly turn any game on its head.

Prediction: Barcelona to win

Real Madrid v/s Borussia Dortmund

These two teams faced each other in last year’s CL at the semi-final stage and at that time BVB came out as deserved winners. In fact they just blew away Real Madrid in 1st leg when Lewandowski put 4 goals past them. Real Madrid is almost the same team with Bale in place of Ozil. But same can’t be said of BVB. Although they have just lost one key player so far (Gotze) from the side that beat Real Madrid, but injuries have played havoc with them and they have struggled to put together a good run. To make matters worse, their hero of this tie from last year (Lewandowski) is suspended for the first leg. Given the form that Real Madrid is in this year and the fact that the first leg will be played in SatiagoBernabau, I won’t be surprised if the tie is all but over by the time Lewandowski returns for the 2nd leg.

Prediction: Real Madrid to win

PSG v/s Chelsea

Arguably the trickiest tie of the quarter finals and not without some interesting sub plots. This is the first time that these two teams are meeting in the knock – out stages of this competition. Both clubs are bankrolled by billionaires – one by Russian money and the other by Qatari money and both the clubs have a player who can claim to be the best player in the world ( of course after Ronaldo and Messi). Although PSG are still novices at this stage of the competition, Chelsea have been regulars in the knock out stages and have come agonizingly close to lifting the trophy in 2008 before finally doing so in 2012. In Mourinho, Chelsea have a manager who has great experience in negotiating this stage of competition whereas for Blanc this will be his first major test. With due respect to French League, this is also a first time when PSG is playing a quality opponent this year. They will depend a lot on the experience of Ibrahimovic. I would however stick my neck out and go with PSG to upset Chelsea in a tight contest.

Prediction: PSG to win

– Rajneesh Verma [Rajneesh Verma is the Founder of Sportz Cosmos and leads the Football Galaxy]

10 thoughts on “UEFA Champions League Quarter Finals

  1. So far so good. Barca and Man United have work to do in 2nd legs as they have given slight advantage to their opponents by conceding an away goal. Real Madrid has already got one leg in the semi. Chelsea has to play like they played against Napoli in 2012 when they overturned 1st leg deficit of 3-1 defeat.

  2. Rajneesh, your predictions are proving to be quite accurate.

    Although Man United drew the first leg at home 1-1, they have conceded that vital away goal. Even a goalless draw at Allianz arena would see them go through.[Although I don’t believe that would be the case. Bayern should breeze into the semis]

    The Atleti-Barca scoreline is the same as above, but the pressure is on Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino’s men this time. A win would have been better for them at the Vicente Calderon, but now they have to deal with a team whose budget is a mere fifth of their budget.
    A team who might just win the the league this year by beating(or even drawing, depending on what happens in the coming matches) them at Camp Nou. La Liga BBVA has been dominated by 2 teams- Real and Barca. Barca have been the more dominant in the past decade. These two teams always have had the very best players in the world. From Zidane to Raul to the two Ronaldo’s.. And now Gareth Bale, Neymar.

    What Diego Simeone has proved since during his stay in the Madrid outfit is that you don’t need just money to be the best. His appointment have resulted in a turnaround for Atleti. Sure, money would buy you the very best players, but for actually winning you need performances, and Atletico have provided us with some breathtaking performances, both as a unit as well as individual displays. Costa, Koke, and Courtois are some examples.

    And for that very reason I want them to go through. True, Barca are a European powerhouse, so are Real Madrid, who are chasing their 10th European crown. But Atletico are a team on the up. It would be only fitting if they could win the league and make good progress in the Champions League.

    Chelsea have their work cut out for them. Sloppy defending from the otherwise consistent John Terry and [not-so-consistent] David Luiz have cost them. The game should have ended 1-1. And the game also highlighted just Mourinho thinks of Demba ba and Fernando Torres. Although they overturned a similar 3-1 deficit against Napoli 2 in 2012, it seems much harder now. Chelsea Fans might think Ibrahimovic’s injury would prove to be lucky for them, but the truth is, due to Ibra’s absence Cavani will play in his favoured Centre Forward role, flanked by two very pacy wing forwards. Cavani is far more dangerous in the CF role.

    I think Chelsea have a chance, albeit a slim one, of winning by a two-goal margin. They scores three against Stoke, but against PSG it would be very tough. They need the fans to create a great atmosphere at Stamford Bridge. But what they need most is not to concede another goal and score two goals.

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  3. @crazyaboutepl : thank you very much for your detailed thoughts. I share similar views. Like you, i want Atletico to win La Liga. I think Bayern is still favorite to go through but sure Man Utd has dented their confidence a bit with that performance and they went on to lose the next game in Bundesliga ( well we can put it down to a lack of motivation too). I think Man Utd will do well to start with Rooney Welbeck and Nani as front 3, Carrick, Fletcher and Kagawa as 3 in the middle and the best available back 4. This team has a bit of pace, variety (which Valencia doest provide) and some more assurance (which Fellaini doesnt provide). If Roo is not fit then Chicharito in his place. And I agree with you on PSG. Cavani is dangerous as center forward and it could also mean that they may start with Cabaye, his experience of playing against Chelsea could come handy. Interesting week ahead 🙂

  4. Crazyabout EPL, thank you for your detailed thoughts. As a sports site which looks at sports in general, we must compliment you on your wonderful site. It is rare to a site pick up a specialised topic like EPL rather than a more general one like football and then do a thorough job. Although I prefer the Spanish league sometimes, it is nice to see a tribute to a league as good as the EPL. I enjoy watching Arsenal and Manchester United!

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