There’s nonetheless so much to type out earlier than the Champions League quarterfinals get underway in Lisbon subsequent month. After play was halted attributable to the coronavirus pandemic, it left a quantity of fixtures unfulfilled.
As such Actual Madrid should journey to Manchester for the second leg of their last-16 conflict towards Pep Guardiola’s Manchester Metropolis whereas Juventus will likely be seeking to full a comeback towards Lyon.
Far unlikelier is the probability of Chelsea turning round their second-round conflict towards Bayern in Bavaria. And Lionel Messi’s Barcelona will likely 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 no matter the end result.
On one aspect of the draw is the bulk of Europe’s heavyweights in Juventus, Barcelona, Actual Madrid, Bayern and Manchester Metropolis. On the different 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 gained the large one. Having put defending champions Liverpool out, they are going to be optimistic of going one step additional this yr.
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 wished, Italian outsiders Atalanta, who’re seen as maybe the weakest group assured a spot in the quarterfinals.
Champions League success has been an obsession for the French membership and the end-of-season match might be their greatest alternative lately to lastly win it.
Whereas many of their rivals have been again in motion, and selecting up accidents in a busy schedule, PSG have been resting and had been declared Ligue 1 champions early in the Covid-19 outbreak.
The focus can now be on increase in the direction of Portugal with a quantity of friendlies adopted by cup finals towards Saint-Etienne and Lyon at the finish of July, which ought to see them absolutely ready for the begin of the competitors.
Atalanta, third in Serie A, are nonetheless harmful having coming via a bunch with Manchester Metropolis and Shakhtar Donetsk earlier than knocking out Valencia. Nevertheless it’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 report for the Spanish membership. However a form quarterfinal draw towards RB Leipzig and all of the sudden something will really feel doable for Atletico.
Simeone’s aspect had been heading out of the competitors in March to reigning champions Liverpool earlier than a outstanding extra-time turnaround at Anfield noticed them profitable each legs.
That kind of never-say-die efficiency and a winnable tie may give them the confidence to imagine that their luck has lastly modified.
Their La Liga problem has light however Champions League soccer for subsequent season is nearly assured which means they will throw their concentrate on Portugal.
Simeone gained’t have the ability to pump up his followers to spur his aspect onto victory as he usually does at the Wanda Metropolitano, however he could have his cussed defence as successfully organised as ever and will view this as an enormous alternative to make it third time fortunate as a supervisor.
Winners: Actual Madrid
5 months in the past, few folks would have given Zinedine Zidane’s aspect a lot of an opportunity of reaching the quarterfinals however the undeniable fact that the second leg will likely be behind closed doorways has boosted their prospects of a 14th Champions League success.
In February, Madrid had been deservedly overwhelmed 2-1 by Manchester Metropolis and Zidane’s unbelievable report of profitable the Champions League as a supervisor — thrice from three makes an attempt — regarded prefer it was lastly going to have its first failure.
However since the restart of soccer, Madrid have regained their confidence, moved clear at the high of La Liga and seen key gamers together with Eden Hazard come again from damage.
Ought to they safe their first home title in three years, Madrid will head to Manchester rejuvenated and capable of throw all the things at overturning their dwelling defeat.
Inspirational captain Sergio Ramos will likely be lacking via suspension however few would guess towards a membership that even Pep Guardiola describes as the “kings of the tournament”.
Loser: Pep Guardiola
The Manchester Metropolis supervisor will discover out on Monday whether or not this will likely be his final alternative to win the Champions League along with his present membership and, whether it is, the draw has not made his activity any simpler.
First his aspect should get previous Actual Madrid of their delayed second leg and will then face Juventus if the Italian champions can win their very own reverse sport towards Lyon.
And it gained’t get any simpler as the match progresses with the probability of former golf equipment Bayern Munich or Barcelona ready in the semifinals.
Metropolis will discover out the choice of their Courtroom of Arbitration of Sport attraction subsequent week after they had been handed a two-year ban for breaching Monetary Truthful Play laws. Guardiola has only a yr left at the Etihad Stadium so, ought to the attraction fail, this could be his closing probability to ship the trophy to the membership for the first time.
Many insist his legacy will rely upon whether or not he can ship a first-ever Champions League success to the Premier League membership in addition to profitable it with out Lionel Messi. His activity doesn’t appear to have obtained any simpler.
Loser: Timo Werner
The RB Leipzig striker has already said that he won’t play in 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 won’t be simple nor would PSG in a possible semifinal, however Julian Nagelsmann’s aspect have averted the larger beasts of Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Juventus, Actual Madrid and Manchester Metropolis.
Werner, nevertheless, won’t be concerned and will as an alternative full his change to Chelsea. His loss may even be Leipzig’s.
The 24-year-old is comfortably the membership’s high scorer with 34 objectives 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 objectives this season — none in the Champions League — and simply three assists.
Leipzig won’t be amongst the favourites in Portugal however wins away to final yr’s finalists Tottenham in the final 16, and Benfica and Zenit St Petersburg in the group stage, present how harmful they are often.
Werner should look to subsequent season however there aren’t any ensures he could have Champions League soccer. Chelsea are at the moment third in the Premier League however Leicester are only a level behind with Manchester United an additional level again as the three golf equipment struggle over two Champions League locations.