With the Champions League Quarterfinals beginning this week, it is time to predict how we see the four games going. TWSN analysts Christian De Block and Michael Vasconcelos discuss their thoughts on each fixture as well as giving a score prediction.
Atalanta vs PSG:
Christian: Personally, I am extremely excited to watch this matchup on August 12th. Atlanta are one of the best attackings sides in all of Europe, and will cause plenty of problems for the PSG defense. Reports have come out in the last 48 hours that French attacker Kylian Mbappé could come off the bench if needed, which could be a major factor for PSG moving on. Brazilian international Neymar will need to come up with world-class performance to help his team advance to the semi-finals. Both teams will have plenty of chances to score, but I have Atalanta progressing to the last four. Score Prediction: 4-2 Atalanta over PSG
Mike: This fixture is perhaps going to become the most important narrative of Neymar’s controversial but storied career. If, in Kylian Mbappe’s limited presence and Angel Dí Maria’s absence, he is able to lead his team against a formidable opponent in Gian Piero Gasperini’s dynamic Atalanta side, he will be able to effectively silence his critics in regards to having to be a sidekick instead of a hero. However, Atalanta faces a difficult challenge of their own, as prolific Slovenian striker Josip Ilicic is still out of their starting XI. Without their motor, Duvan Zapata and Papu Gomez are left with the intimidating task of igniting Atalanta’s attack. With his back against the wall, a world class performance from Neymar should be enough for the Parisians to survive and advance.
Prediction: PSG over Atalanta, 3-2
RB Leipzig vs Atlético Madrid:
Christian: Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, this looked like one of the best upcoming quarterfinals matchups. Leipzig were coming off a dominant 180 minute performance against struggling Tottenham Hotspur, and Madrid shocked many by defeating European champions Liverpool. Former Leipzig forward Timo Werner decided to join English side Chelsea FC early, so he will not feature for the German side. Without Werner, they still have attacking quality including Christopher Nkunku, Dani Olmo, and Patrik Schick. With that being said, I still believe Atlético and their strong defense will prevail in the end. Score Prediction: 2-1 Atlético Madrid over RB Leipzig
Mike: The loss of Timo Werner is immeasurable for RB Leipzig, especially in the context of this draw against the always defensively-steadfast Atlético Madrid. If anything, this draw should serve to showcase a fantastic exhibition in the art goalkeeping between the criminally underrated Hungarian Peter Gulacsi and the well-renowned Slovenian Jan Oblak. Without Werner, Yussuf Poulsen remains to be the East German side’s most able attacker, and that simply isn’t enough.
Prediction: Atlético Madrid over RB Leipzig, 1-0
FC Barcelona vs Bayern Munich:
Christian: This matchup between two European powerhouses will have a lot of major storylines prior to kickoff. Bayern Munich are one of the favorites to win the entire competition after defeating Chelsea 7-1 over two legs, but every football fan knows Lionel Messi can produce a sensational performance at any time. Robert Lewandowski is having one of the best seasons in his career, and will likely score one if not more. If Barcelona are going to advance, they will need the likes of Luis Suárez and Antoine Griezmann to be at their best on the counter attack. Even with that, I only can see Bayern Munich being too much for the Spanish side to contain in the end. Score Prediction: 3-1 Bayern Munich over FC Barcelona
Mike: With every fixture in the quarterfinal, this seems to be the one with perhaps the most intrigue. Germany’s ever present titan, in some of their finest form in years, juxtaposed to the Spanish powerhouse that, although has shown some cracks in its foundation, still has arguably the finest footballer to ever grace this planet. However, for Barcelona to emerge victorious, much more weight suddenly gets placed on Leo Messí’s shoulders. With Luís Suarez in a noticeable scoring slump since the La Liga restart and Antoine Griezmann still without a definitive role in Quique Setien’s side, it’s up to somebody other than number 10 to provide in the final third, especially with the well-oiled Polish machine on the other side of the pitch that currently is hungry for both a Champions League winner’s medal in addition to his first Ballon D’or. Yes, that would be Robert Lewandowski, who is coming off a brace against Chelsea and has a staggering thirteen goals in seven Champions’ League matches for Bayern. Unless somebody else from Barca steps up, this is his round for the taking.
Prediction: Bayern Münich over FC Barcelona, 4-2
Manchester City vs Lyon:
Christian: Going into this fixture, Lyon will know they will have to contain one of the deadliest attacks in recent history. Even though Manchester City finished second in the Premier League, they still racked up 102 goals in 38 games. Lyon is coming off an excellent performance against Juventus, but City have shown throughout the year that they are a much better attacking side than the Italian champions. Even on a neutral site, I expect City to dominate across 90 minutes and move on to the semi-finals with plenty of confidence. Score Prediction: 5-0 Manchester City over Lyon
Mike: It’s fair to say that very few people expected Lyon to make it this far in a tournament of this caliber. However, as they are set to face off against Pep Guardiola’s embittered, hungry side due to their failure to win the Premier League, I’m expecting a performance that is nothing short of slaughter for the Citizens. Don’t be surprised if Sergio Agüero bags a hat trick against a suspect Lyon back line.
Prediction: Manchester City over Lyon, 4-0
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