The eight teams that will play in the quarter-finals of the Champions League have been revealed. In the previous round, the defensive strength of Manchester City and Chelsea particularly impressed, as did the ease of Bayern Munich, defending champions still undefeated. Paris, Liverpool and Real Madrid are still missing something. For their part, Porto and Dortmund seem a cut below.
Two matches, two victories and not the slightest fear. The pattern was the same for Manchester City, Chelsea and Bayern Munich. The Bavarians even killed the suspense in the first leg by crushing a very clumsy Lazio Rome (4-1), who also had no illusions in the return match, lining up a very overhauled eleven to lose again ( 2-1). If Hans-Dieter Flick’s men almost interrupted their crazy streak of unbeaten match against Atlético de Madrid in the group stage (1-1) and witnessed defensive shortcomings this season, they have not lost the strike force who had guided them until the coronation in Lisbon last August.
These shortcomings, Chelsea and Manchester City do not know them. The Citizens have not yet conceded a single goal in seven matches of the 2020/21 Champions League. For the Blues, this defensive serenity is a gift brought in the suitcases of Thomas Tuchel, who arrived in London at the end of January. Since taking office, his team has conceded only two goals in thirteen games in all competitions. Against Atlético de Madrid, Chelsea have asserted themselves as other than a simple outsider, thanks to a coherent game plan, materialized by impressive solidity.
Paris could have asserted itself among the teams sure of their strength, but the club of the capital once again failed to keep a conquering face during the two parts of a return match. His visceral fear in the first period at Camp Nou recalled dark hours, obviously not yet fully digested. If Mauricio Pochettino’s men eliminated Barça by remaining undefeated (4-1, 1-1), the impression left is not ideal. Especially since the performance of the first leg has perhaps been overestimated as the Blaugrana have missed their subject. But the qualification and the probable return of Neymar could put the last French representative in a more convincing dynamic.
For Real Madrid and Liverpool, the question of content is not the main problem. The two glorious formations respectively titled in 2018 and 2019 especially need to reaffirm their status on the European scene, one year after an early elimination in the round of 16. The Reds from the first half of the 2019/20 season are still missing, but they will still have a chance to come back, knowing the Premier League title race is already lost. In any case, they easily passed the obstacle Leipzig, yet a semi-finalist coming out of C1. The Merengues do not yet have a benchmark match this season, but the last outing against Atalanta Bergamo reminded that White House executives know the winning formula.
Less flashy and above all jostled in the previous round, FC Porto and Borussia Dortmund are likely to be the hoped-for opponents in the draw for the quarter-finals on Friday March 19 (12 noon). The Portuguese achieved the feat of leaving Juventus Turin and sending Cristiano Ronaldo home (2-1, 2-3). But the workforce available to Sergio Conceiçao and the qualification acquired in the overtime defeat in the return match, are a downside to consider. Heckled, Borussia was also. If we retain the still phenomenal performances of Erling Haaland (4 goals in the 2 matches), they did not entirely mask the fact that Sevilla posed a lot of problems in the game for the Yellow Army (3-2, 2-2).