So, the 1st legs in the Round of 16 in the Champions League finished. It’s a return we’ve been waiting for more than two months. But the wait is over and the European giants delivered the spectacle we expected, let’s do a quick recap on what happened.
RB Leipzig 0-2 Liverpool
Upamecano is one of the hottest names in European football right now, and the word is he’s going to Bayern in the summer. My opinion about him was confirmed, he’s dodgy on the ball and risky at times. He might be great in the Bundesliga but he had a lot of problems in the group stage. Upamecano was outplayed a couple of times against PSG and Manchester United, so when Liverpool’s fast forwards put him under pressure he made mistakes that cost Leipzig a lot.
The Champions League is Liverpool’s last chance for silverware and, although they have so many problems in England, they’ll be highly motivated to deliver on the European stage again.
Barcelona 1-4 PSG
I already wrote about Barcelona’s problems; you can find it here. After reaching their 1st even CL final last season, the Parisians want to take their revenge and win it. With Mauricio Pochetino, it looks like they have a great tactician on the bench to navigate this talent-filled squad. They already proved that they can beat any team in the world, so will this be their season? Only time will tell.
Sevilla 2-3 Borussia Dortmund
Borussia’s problems from the Bundesliga are visible in Europe too. They have an amazing attack that can cause problems to any defense, but their own defense lets them down. They allow the opponents to endanger the keeper a lot and therefore they receive a lot of goals.
In recent years, Sevilla made the transition from Europa league to Champions league. They look like a steady team that belongs to this group of teams. They are causing problems to the big names in Europe for a couple of years, their progress is clear and they’ll keep going forward.
Porto 2-1 Juventus
After last year’s fiasco and missing on the CL group stages, Porto made their statement this season. After a solid group stage, this win against the Italian’s Champion I a good indicator that Porto is a team that everyone should comply with. Usually, Cristiano Ronaldo delivers when his team needs him most and is under pressure. Will he do it again? Can’t wait to see it.
Lazio 1-4 Bayern Munich
To pull up the short stick. That’s what we say in Bulgaria and that’s what Lazio did. Bayern seems to keep their standards as high as last season’s. Robert Levandowski is now the 3rd highest goal scorer in the competition’s history with only Cristiano and Messi ahead of him. Bayern’s big interchangeable team looks on the road to another treble. Who can stop them?
Atletico Madrid 0-1 Chelsea
Just a couple of weeks ago Atletico was looking like no one can stop them from winning La Liga and they should keep their focus on the Champions League. After a bit of drop of form, they are now only three points ahead.
When the draw for the round of 16 was made, Chelsea looked like the underdogs here. Now Chelsea has a small advantage ahead of the 2nd leg hopefully at their “Stanford Bridge”. Thomas Tuchel may be managed to implement his ideas to Chelsea, and they look like a European giant again.
Borussia Monchengladbach 0-2 Manchester City
The Champions League is Manchester City’s big aim this season. I already wrote an article about the changes Guardiola made to his team this season. They looked determined to take the result they need without using too much energy against the German side. One of the favorites for the Ol’ Big Ears.
Atalanta 0-1 Real Madrid
This game was supposed to be the most entertaining in the Round of 16. At least the games these teams played before suggested so. Unfortunately, an early questionable red card for Remo Freuler ruined that. However, the Bergamas showed character and gave Real Madrid a real test. It’s only the 2nd time Atalanta plays Champions League football but they look like they’ve been here for ages. The second leg will be a massacre.
The Champions league delivered. If only fans could attend these games; football is not the same without the fans singing in the stands. Those empty grounds and games played at neutral venues are killing the game we love. Let’s hope we will watch football as it’s supposed to be as soon as possible.