The UEFA Champions League is all set to resume from August 8 after the unexpected break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The second leg of the remaining Round of 16 matches will be held on August 7 and 8 at the home grounds of the respective teams. For the remainder of the tournament, we’ll move to Lisbon, Portugal, where the teams will have single-leg knockout matches starting from August 12.
The UEFA Champions League final will be hosted in Lisbon on August 23 where the new kings of Europe will be crowned, possibly behind closed doors. In today’s piece, we’ll look at frontrunners to lift the coveted UEFA Champions League trophy this season.
FC BAYERN MUNICH
The German champions will play hosts to Chelsea following a 0-3 win at the London club’s home ground, Stamford Bridge. With three away goals, this tie seems all but over and Bayern can start planning for their quarter-final match against either Barcelona or Napoli. The German giants last lifted the UEFA Champions League in 2013 under manager Jupp Heynckes, as a part of their historic treble season where they also won the Bundesliga and the German Cup. Post the restart, Bayern have shown their class and have gone on to win both the Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal. Can they go on to replicate their 2013 treble season? Only time will tell.
Under Pep Guardiola, Manchester City have failed to go past the quarter-final stage of the UEFA Champions League. However, this year could be City’s best chance to lift that elusive trophy, though they still have a daunting task of beating Spanish champions Real Madrid at home. They go into this match leading Madrid 2-1 and would be confident to get the job done at their home ground, where they are pretty much unstoppable. If they get past this stage, they’ll have a tough quarter-final tie against either Lyon or Juventus and that’ll test the mettle of Guardiola’s Citizens.
Juventus go into the second leg of their Round of 16 match against Lyon with a deficit to clear. They trail the French team by one goal after failing to find the net in the away match. Lyon will come into this game with barely any football under their belt post the suspension of the French League, while Juventus will be riding high on confidence after most probably securing their 36th Italian title. Having Mr. Champions League, Cristiano Ronaldo in their squad will be an added boost for the Turin club. If they were to overcome this deficit, then they’ll definitely fancy their chances to go all the way in the tournament.
Paris played their hearts out in their Round of 16 second leg against Dortmund. They came into their home match down 2-1 and went on to win the tie 3-2 on aggregate. They face underdogs Atalanta in their quarter-final match, a club who have been absolutely fabulous this season. Atalanta have scored 94 goals in the 2019-20 Serie A and seems like exactly the kind of team you’d want to avoid in knockout matches of a tournament. That aside, PSG have enough quality in their side to jump past this challenge and go onto to lift their first-ever UEFA Champions League trophy.
Barcelona are in bad shape currently as a club and have just lost the La Liga race to their arch-rival Real Madrid. Even with the bad form and turmoil in the management side of things, you can never rule out Barcelona when it comes to the UEFA Champions League. With Lionel Messi shattering all the records in the Spanish League and winning the Pichichi trophy for a record seventh time, the club will definitely be top contenders for lifting the trophy come August 23. They will face the winner of the Chelsea vs Bayern Munich tie in the quarter-final and Quique Setien would hope to turn this season into a successful one by lifting their sixth UEFA Champions League trophy.
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