The final eight teams in the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League quarterfinals are all set. RB Leipzig will play Atletico Madrid, Atalanta will play Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City will play Lyon, and Barcelona will play Bayern Munich. The games will take place from August 12 to the 15 and all will be played, as will the semifinals and finals, in Lisbon, Portugal.
Today, Manchester City defeated Real Madrid 2-1 to progress 4-2 on aggregate, Lyon lost 1-2 to Juventus, reaching a 2-2 on aggregate but progressed on the away goals rule, Barcelona defeated Napoli 3-1 to progress 4-2 on aggregate, and Bayern Munich defeated Chelsea 4-1 to progress 7-1 on aggregate.
The results of the final leg of the Round of 16 seemed mostly preordained. Man-City were by far the better side against Madrid and despite Raphael Varane’s nightmare of a night, it was the English team that deserved to progress. Bayern came into their match having won 3-0 and their 4-1 victory was deserved as a severely diminished Chelsea were simply no match for the Germans.
Barcelona were the better team against Napoli but it took a missed “push in the box to get free” before the first score for Barca to break Napoli’s control of the match and then a number of additional and unnecessary homer calls ensued to deprive Napoli of a chance. Lionel Messi’s score from a prone position on the pitch was as pretty as it was sad for it showed all three of the Napoli players surrounding him knew it was best to take their chances with that attempt than to try and block it and be called for a sure penalty. Barca’s prize will be meeting Bayern in Lisbon.
Juventus needed a miracle against Lyon when they conceded within the first 12 minutes as their previous 1-0 loss away, added to the visitors away goal meant Juve needed to score three times to win. Cristiano Ronaldo did come to the rescue with two of them, a thunderous left-footed shot from distance and a no-chance score off a penalty. But, coach Maurizio Sarri seemed always a day late and a penny short on all of his decisions this year, despite winning Serie A, and he was unable to find the right substitutions, let alone the right timing for them, to manage what was a winnable home game. Andrea Pirlo will now be given the chance to lead Juventus as Sarri was sacked right after the loss. Rumor is he will be heading for Lisbon to watch for potential purchases.
On paper and just four days away from the quarterfinals, it is hard to make predictions, but here we go. First, one must note that PSG has finally gotten a break and will not meet a top contender until the finals, as even if Atletico win their match French should be considered the favorites in that semifinals if Kylian Mbappe is healthy. Atletico should be the contender in that semifinal. Second, in the Lyon-Man-City match, it will be the English team that has the advantage and they will probably await Bayern Munich who should put an end to Barca’s run. The match between Spanish and German giants should be fun to watch, nevertheless. Similarly, a Bayern—Man-City match in Lisbon, with Pep Guardiola on the sidelines, should be a can’t-miss experience.
In the end, it will most likely be Bayern v PSG in the final with the Germans the heavily favored. But it is an upset that this competition most needs and methinks PSG has the chance to provide it. Either way, if these two meet in the final it should provide another great match for all fans.