There may be nonetheless quite a bit to type out earlier than the Champions League quarterfinals get underway in Lisbon subsequent month. After play was halted as a result of coronavirus pandemic, it left a lot of fixtures unfulfilled.
As such Actual Madrid should journey to Manchester for the second leg of their last-16 conflict in opposition to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester Metropolis whereas Juventus might be trying to full a comeback in opposition to Lyon.
Far unlikelier is the possibility of Chelsea turning round their second-round conflict in opposition to Bayern in Bavaria. And Lionel Messi’s Barcelona might be hopeful of eliminating Napoli earlier than storming into the final eight.
As soon as these fixtures are settled, the much-changed Champions League will go forward. Straight knockout soccer with no second legs, it guarantees to be a breathless and thrilling match regardless of the consequence.
On one aspect of the draw is the majority of Europe’s heavyweights in Juventus, Barcelona, Actual Madrid, Bayern and Manchester Metropolis. On the opposite stand Atalanta, Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig and Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.
Three of these groups have by no means been to the Champions League closing and Atletico, regardless of two latest appearances there, have by no means received the large one. Having put defending champions Liverpool out, they are going to be optimistic of going one step additional this 12 months.
Right here then are the winners and losers of the Champions League draw.
Winners: Paris Saint-Germain
PSG have been handed the draw that everybody needed, Italian outsiders Atalanta, who’re seen as maybe the weakest staff assured a spot within the quarterfinals.
Champions League success has been an obsession for the French membership and the end-of-season match may very well be their greatest alternative lately to lastly win it.
Whereas lots of their rivals have been again in motion, and selecting up accidents in a busy schedule, PSG have been resting and have been declared Ligue 1 champions early within the Covid-19 outbreak.
The main focus can now be on build up in the direction of Portugal with a lot of friendlies adopted by cup finals in opposition to Saint-Etienne and Lyon on the finish of July, which ought to see them totally ready for the beginning of the competitors.
Atalanta, third in Serie A, are nonetheless harmful having coming by way of a gaggle with Manchester Metropolis and Shakhtar Donetsk earlier than knocking out Valencia. But it surely’s the opposition that Thomas Tuchel would in all probability have hand-picked.
Winner: Diego Simeone
Can El Cholo lastly finish the Champions League curse for Atletico Madrid?
Three finals — two with Simeone in cost — however no victories is a tragic document for the Spanish membership. However a form quarterfinal draw in opposition to RB Leipzig and immediately something will really feel doable for Atletico.
Simeone’s aspect have been heading out of the competitors in March to reigning champions Liverpool earlier than a exceptional extra-time turnaround at Anfield noticed them successful each legs.
That form of never-say-die efficiency and a winnable tie may give them the boldness to consider that their luck has lastly modified.
Their La Liga problem has light however Champions League soccer for subsequent season is nearly assured that means they will throw their give attention to Portugal.
Simeone received’t be capable of pump up his followers to spur his aspect onto victory as he typically does on the Wanda Metropolitano, however he may have his cussed defence as successfully organised as ever and can view this as an enormous alternative to make it third time fortunate as a supervisor.
Winners: Actual Madrid
5 months in the past, few individuals would have given Zinedine Zidane’s aspect a lot of an opportunity of reaching the quarterfinals however the truth that the second leg might be behind closed doorways has boosted their prospects of a 14th Champions League success.
In February, Madrid have been deservedly crushed 2-1 by Manchester Metropolis and Zidane’s unimaginable document of successful the Champions League as a supervisor — 3 times from three makes an attempt — appeared prefer it was lastly going to have its first failure.
However because the restart of soccer, Madrid have regained their confidence, moved clear on the high of La Liga and seen key gamers together with Eden Hazard come again from harm.
Ought to they safe their first home title in three years, Madrid will head to Manchester rejuvenated and capable of throw every part at overturning their house defeat.
Inspirational captain Sergio Ramos might be lacking by way of suspension however few would wager in opposition to a membership that even Pep Guardiola describes because the “kings of the match”.
Loser: Pep Guardiola
The Manchester Metropolis supervisor will discover out on Monday whether or not this might be his final alternative to win the Champions League along with his present membership and, whether it is, the draw has not made his process any simpler.
First his aspect should get previous Actual Madrid of their delayed second leg and can then face Juventus if the Italian champions can win their very own reverse sport in opposition to Lyon.
And it received’t get any simpler because the match progresses with the probability of former golf equipment Bayern Munich or Barcelona ready within the semifinals.
Metropolis will discover out the choice of their Courtroom of Arbitration of Sport enchantment subsequent week after they have been handed a two-year ban for breaching Monetary Honest Play rules. Guardiola has only a 12 months left on the Etihad Stadium so, ought to the enchantment fail, this may be his closing probability to ship the trophy to the membership for the primary time.
Many insist his legacy will depend upon whether or not he can ship a first-ever Champions League success to the Premier League membership in addition to successful it with out Lionel Messi. His process doesn’t appear to have bought any simpler.
Loser: Timo Werner
The RB Leipzig striker has already said that he is not going to play within the latter phases of the competitors however he could also be having second ideas after the draw doubtlessly opened up for the German membership.
Opponents Atletico Madrid is not going to be straightforward nor would PSG in a possible semifinal, however Julian Nagelsmann’s aspect have prevented the larger beasts of Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Juventus, Actual Madrid and Manchester Metropolis.
Werner, nevertheless, is not going to be concerned and can as an alternative full his change to Chelsea. His loss may also be Leipzig’s.
The 24-year-old is comfortably the membership’s high scorer with 34 targets in all competitions in addition to contributing 13 assists. The onus will fall on Czech striker Patrick Schick however his figures are a good distance behind.
Schick, on mortgage from Roma, has simply 10 targets this season — none within the Champions League — and simply three assists.
Leipzig is not going to be among the many favourites in Portugal however wins away to final 12 months’s finalists Tottenham within the final 16, and Benfica and Zenit St Petersburg within the group stage, present how harmful they are often.
Werner should look to subsequent season however there are not any ensures he may have Champions League soccer. Chelsea are at the moment third within the Premier League however Leicester are only a level behind with Manchester United an additional level again because the three golf equipment struggle over two Champions League locations.
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