The semi-finals for the Champions League is now complete, but before they get started, here’s our review of the quarter-finals of the 2020 mini Champions League tournament.
Three of the four quarter-final matches didn’t totally living up to expectations. Despite that though, they all had an element of drama and excitement in their own way.
First, there was late drama in the first two quarter-finals. Then we seen the one sided annihilation of Barca, and finally Man City’s text book example of how to shoot yourself in the foot.
2020 Champions League Quarter-Finals Review – Bayern the team to beat!
The rescheduled Champions League is a one-off-match knock out format, as opposed to the 2 legged ties we are used too.
This is just for this season to get the competition completed as quickly as possible. It is also regarded as the safest way, as there is minimal travel involved.
Starting on Wednesday, and we look back at the first quarter-final between free scoring Italians, Atalanta, and French champions, PSG.
Atalanta 1 – 2 PSG
Pre match this looked the ideal scenario for the under achieving (in Europe anyway) Parisians.
They had none of Europe’s big guns in their side of the draw, and the PSG players were well rested compared to most of their European contemporaries.
On paper at least, a match against Atalanta looked the perfect fixture.
Watching the match it looked like it was going to be yet another glorious failure for Neymar, M’Bappe and co.
It had the look of one of those nights, where no matter what PSG did, they wouldn’t score.
Neymar had a couple of great 1st half chances, and it just didn’t look like it would happen for him. That was up until the 90th minute when the Brazilian finally made a telling contribution.
Neymar’s cross for Marquinhos to toe in the equaliser was proof that you need to keep going to the bitter end, and it showed his never-say-die spirit.
Then Neymar threaded a sublime pass through to M’Bappe, allowing the latter to get the cross in for former Stoke City striker, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, to prod home the 93rd minute winner.
Finally PSG got some reward for their substantial investments in the two players.
Despite neither of the two star men getting themselves on the scoresheet, they both played significant roles in the late comeback.
It’s what they get paid the big bucks to do, and on this occasion they delivered.
Yes, they win Ligue 1 every year, but it’s the Champions League these two were really bought for!
RB Leipzig 2 – 1 Atletico Madrid
This one had extra time and penalties written all over it, and at half-time I thought it was heading that way.
So for the match to finish with over 2.5 goals in it, was a huge surprise to me.
RB Leipzig are one of the surprise packages of the Champions League. But taking on the dogmatic Atletico Madrid, was something they wouldn’t be used to.
Yes, they previously dismantled Spurs with ease in the last round. And even without the departed Timo Werner, they still looked dangerous enough opponents.
But this was Atletico Madrid, so would the up and coming Germans really know how to deal with the street wise Spaniards?
Well, they certainly did know. And personally, I though the better team on the night won.
Only one side was trying to win the match, and the Germans deserved their victory.
The problem I find with Atletico is they only have one way of playing.
Even when they got back to 1-1, after 71 minutes, they went straight back into their self imposed straitjacket.
They don’t seem to know any other method of playing.
When Leipzig scored their late winner, it was hard to feel any sympathy for the Spaniards.
They had the players to take the game to the Germans, but they decided to sit back – and ended up paying the price!
Barcelona 2 – 8 Bayern Munich
What can I say about this one. Yes, anybody who knows anything about football expected Bayern Munich to beat Barcelona, but not 8-2.
It’s obvious that Bayern have been flying since the resumption. While Barcelona have been abysmal since La Liga restarted.
So it didn’t take tipster of the year to predict a win for the Germans. Although I’m sure not many tipsters predicted 8-2!!
For me the result is more a reflection about just how bad things have got at Barcelona.
As good as Bayern are, I can confidently predict they won’t put 8 past anybody else in this season’s Champions League.
Barcelona are in a real mess. The manager has no grip on the team, and they currently look a disjointed bunch.
There is clearly something wrong in the Barcelona dressing room – and possibly the club, as a whole.
Whether that be the players, club president, or the manager, who knows!
The only thing certain in these situations though, is that it’s the manager that generally gets the chop.
It’s surely only a matter of time before we hear the news that Quique Setien has been sacked by Barca.
Man City 1 – 3 Lyon
From Manchester City’s perspective, the whole night was a disaster.
My initial thoughts were that it was a defensive side selected by Guardiola. It seemed to go against everything we usually get from Manchester City.
A starting XI with Rodri, IIkay Gündogan, and Fernandinho in it, is not what we expect to see from Pep.
The players are also used to being sent out to play attacking football. So I wonder if they were slightly bemused to see just Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling playing in attacking roles.
Apart from all the individual mistakes on the pitch, Pep only made the 2 changes in the 90 minutes.
Far be it for me to question Pep, but it did seem odd. A view echoed by Gary Lineker and Rio Ferdinand on BT Sports.
Credit has to go to Lyon though. They played a good game, and did what they needed to do.
The French side exploited City’s weaknesses. Yes, they got a lot of help from Pep’s team, but you can only carry deficiencies for so long.
The lack of central defenders at the club didn’t just happen yesterday. This problem has been obvious for some time now.
When we see a mistake like the one made by Eric Garcia last night, manager Pep Guardiola has to take some of the responsibility.
Pep simply hasn’t dealt with his problems at the back, and this result is partially down to that.
Latest Champions League Betting
In the latest football betting for the Champions League it will come as no surprise to see that Bayern Munich are the favourites.
The Bundesliga champions are 11/20 favourites, with PSG at 5/2. There is then a huge gap in the odds with RB Leipzig at 9/1, and Lyon at 17/1.