Christian Coman is a lifelong Paris Saint-Germain fan. His son, born in Paris, took to football and became a senior professional at PSG. He was from the academy no less. In 9 years of senior football, Christian’s son has won 9 league titles. Yet, the Champions League eluded both, him and his boyhood club. Until August 2020. PSG found their way to a Champions League final. Christian’s son was named in the starting line-up. And as fate would have it, it was Kingsley Coman’s goal that won his team the biggest club competition in Europe.
Only caveat – he was playing for Bayern Munich. And all parties will now renew those dynamics. Bayer Munich, PSG and Kingsley Coman will have a European rendezvous to determine Champions League semi-finalists. Perhaps to the wider world, champions elect. Not if are of Mancunian blue disposition though. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are one of Europe’s most dangerous teams and are themselves harbouring serious hopes of unprecedented continental glory.
And then are the traditional big hitters – Real Madrid and Liverpool. 19 trophies and myriad tales of footballing romance and nostalgia from their global fanbase. Two of football’s most global attractions, however, will not be present in this season’s showcase event hence. Both, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, have been knocked out in the Round of 16. The latter’s exit caused sizeable shock. And it was rather poetic that the Portuguese’s Italian club Juventus was knocked out by FC Porto.
With surprises still and glitters galore awaiting to serenade the world, Real Fantasy Teams previews the Champions League quarter finals.
UCL quarterfinal preview: Real Madrid vs Liverpool
Yet another Champions League final rematch. Yet another rendezvous between old foes – Sergio Ramos, Mo Salah, dislocated shoulder and shattered dreams. A lot of water, however, has flown under the proverbial bridge since that meeting in Kiev. Liverpool fulfilled their European dream next season, ended their Premier League drought the season after and have been in free fall this term.
Real Madrid are themselves faltering in their domestic title defence. Los Blancos have not been at their best in Europe either. However, they have managed to navigate through to the quarterfinals. The Spanish team possesses a smart amalgam of experience, mentality and pedigree to mount a serious dash to Istanbul. However, they will be without the services of their captain Ramos. It has been report that he will miss both ties.
Pedigree and mentality are two abstracts Liverpool will also seek as they aim to compensate their domestic tribulations with European headway.
Prediction – Liverpool
UCL quarterfinal preview: Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund
Two men who could very well have been regulars in Manchester will make their way across the M62. Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland will bring the German challenge to Manchester City. For Sancho, this will be a homecoming of sorts. He became a pioneer for young English players when he left City for Dortmund in 2017. And he returns as one of football’s most sought after young gems. Haaland, on his part, is the primary priceless entity in world football at the moment.
Priceless, however, is a word that can aptly sum Manchester City this season. For one, no price is big enough for them. But, closer to purely football, they are a dream to watch. Crispy passes, rehearsed movements, unchartered half-spaces and silky finishes. Manchester City have the ability to daze and transport the onlooker. Sometimes, even their opposition. To the extent that it seems a futile exercise in trying to hurdle their progress. It is as though City’s greatest adversary are their own selves.
And so, one never knows. Most often City turn up, win games and render their opponents redundant. But, ever so rarely, City forget to turn up and send clones dressed in Etihad sponsored Blue. It has happened before in this competition. And Dortmund will need that bit of chance to progress.
Prediction – Manchester City
UCL quarterfinal preview: Bayern Munich vs Paris Saint-Germain
This is the big-ticket game of the round. A rematch of last season’s final to send one genuine contender home. And whoever gets knocked out would have underachieved irrespective of domestic achievements. Such are the expectations, and such is the reputation of both teams.
There are plenty of interesting subplots in this game. Both teams have dominated their domestic leagues. It almost seems like a foregone conclusion in Germany and France that Bayern and PSG would win the respective national leagues. Thus, both teams are judged on their European achievement. Whether fair or lofty, depends on one’s disposition of spending and poaching in football. However, fact remains that PSG have been viewed disappointingly for lack of European success. Meanwhile, Pep’s time at Bayern was deemed underwhelming for the same reason.
There is also the matter of Neymar and fulfilment of a prophecy. The Brazilian left Barcelona to be the sole owner of the spotlight and came close to Promised Land. Only to be denied by a Parisian. This time, once again, he and his team will be faced by familiar foes led by the indomitable Robert Lewandowski. The Polish striker is deemed the best player in the world on current form. And looks set for an unprecedented Ballon d’Or. However, a Champions League exit can upset the applecart in favour of Neymar and co.
Prediction – Bayern Munich
UCL quarterfinal preview: Porto vs Chelsea
Fresh off a Houdini act in the last round, Porto will summon the David-act once again as they face English Goliath, Chelsea. The London-club have been relatively unaffected by the economic downturn of COVID-19. And they went around Europe with a spacious shopping bag. They even grabbed a new manager from Paris. Since this acquisition, Chelsea are still to lose a game.
Their German manager is known to be a meticulous taskmaster. Punctuality, strict mannerisms, idiosyncratic greetings and an obsessively irreversible style of play. It all seems to be working just fine. And has, in fact, discovered an extra gear in Chelsea’s expensively assembled dressing room. The young guns have enjoyed playing in the Tuchel set up. Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi have all excelled.
Meanwhile, for Porto, it was a tale of experience trumping odds. Pepe, who has seen a few summers, stood tall for a 10-man team as Juventus faltered. Not even the tournament’s ultimate goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo could find a way beyond his former compatriot. Chelsea start favourites but this beautiful game has little regard for reputation.
Prediction – Chelsea
Predicted Semi Final Line up
- Bayern Munich vs Manchester City
- Liverpool vs Chelsea