Five months later … the Champions League is back! But before the ‘Final 8’ scheduled by UEFA in Lisbon, half of the teams that must play in Portugal must still seal the pass, among them this Friday two classics, Real Madrid and Juventus, whose European future is pending. .
The last duels of the most prestigious club tournament in the world took place in March, behind closed doors, despite the fact that the new coronavirus has already reached much of the continent, which eventually led UEFA to suspend its competitions.
The last day of the competition was March 13th, and then half of the knockout stages had not yet been decided.
The last quarter-finals will be known over the next two days, starting in Friday’s first two qualifiers, Juventus-Lyon and Manchester City-Real Madrid, and the other two on Saturday, Bayern Munich-Chelsea and Barcelona-Naples. . All games, of course, will be played behind closed doors.
In Turin, Juventus should clear doubts about Lyon, who start with the 1-0 advantage reached in France. It is true that the Italians won the ninth consecutive ‘Scudetto’, but the game and the results (two wins, two draws and four losses in the last eight games) were not convincing.
“But Juventus won (the title) in 36 days, so the last two games do not count physically and were able to prepare themselves better. The disadvantage is especially for us due to the lack of pace,” said the coach. Lyon’s Rudi Garcia, whose team played just one official game, the League Cup final, lost on penalties against Paris SG just a week ago.
But García also did not go unnoticed that, since the return of competitions, Juventus “concedes more goals”. If Memphis Depay and his team score on Friday in Turin, they will have Juventus on the ropes.
An elimination in this stay would be disastrous for the Italian club, which can count on Cristiano Ronaldo, a true specialist in this tournament, who has won five times and scored 129 goals.
– Guardiola or Zidane –
Last season, the Portuguese saved the Italians from a much more dangerous situation: after losing 2-0 in Madrid to Atlético, the Bianconeri returned to Turin with a Portuguese hat-trick, which this time will have the reason for which the final tournament will be played in your country.
In the other tie decided on Friday, one of the big favorites for the title will necessarily be out of the ‘Final 8’, as the city of Guardiola faces the king of this competition, Real Madrid, with 13 titles, the last three consecutive victories ( 2016-2018) with Zinedine Zidane on the bench, who is back in that position.
Both Guardiola and Zidane know what it is like to win the European title as a player and as a coach, although the Catalan coach is under pressure to do so for the first time with a club that in the last decade has spared no millionaire investments to try to achieve continental glory. .
The city starts with the advantage that gives them a 2-1 victory in March at the Bernabéu stadium, but the Spanish team has improved a lot since the return of football, winning the last championship in their country.
“We have to win because I don’t know how I would feel if we weren’t successful,” the Catalan joked this week in an interview with the DAZN channel.
“I tried it in the first year, in the second, in the third, in the fourth … Every year I spent here. If I don’t win, I will fail, but you have to try,” he added.
City and the other teams have yet to confirm their presence in Lisbon, an unprecedented tournament for which Paris SG, Atlético de Madrid, Atalanta and RB Leipzig are already qualified.
stt / mcd / dr / mar