If there’s anything the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals have taught us this year, it’s that you don’t count your chickens before your eggs hatch. Manchester City and Barcelona are out Europe and they must be thinking: What did they do wrong?
Bayern Munich and Real Madrid don’t want to see the fates of these eliminated clubs befall on them. But can they hold on to their leads?
Bayern Munich vs Sevilla (2-1 on aggregate)
Unlike City and Roma, Sevilla are at a disadvantage as they not only trail Bayern, but will play away at the Allianz Arena. Bayern have two away goals so Sevilla will have to beat the German giants either by two goals, or a single goal of 3-2 or higher to progress.
Sevilla have acclimatized, though:
— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) April 10, 2018
And Sevilla midfielder Franco Vazquez is as poetic as many other people before him who face long odds:
“If we had no chance, we wouldn’t have come.”
Franco, I hear Munich is great this time of the year! Seriously though: Sevilla have already fought great odds just to reach this point, having eliminated Manchester United in the Round of 16. But they haven’t won in all competitions ever since beating the Red Devils, and now face the newly-crowned German champions. If Spain’s oldest club need a win, they have to win now.
Bayern on the other hand are fresh from being named German champions and have won five of their most recent matches in all competitions. Robert Lewandowski is due a goal or two this time, as he hasn’t scored in his last two Champions League matches and Jupp Heynckes is confident ahead of the return leg:
“We’re in a good mood, we’re hungry and our big goal is to reach the semi-finals.”
Bayern are almost certain to advance at home, unless something goes terribly wrong.
Real Madrid vs Juventus (3-0 on aggregate)
What separates these upcoming ties from the previous two is that clubs who are hosting the second leg are leading, making progress for the trailing teams a difficult task. Juventus can lean on Gianluigi Buffon on preventing any incursions from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, but can the Juventus strikers attack the goal Keylor Navas is guarding more than they damage their own goal?
Zinedine Zidane’s La Liga season is all but lost, and this is the only competition that Real have any chance of winning. He emphasizes this fact:
“We have one final and it is tomorrow.”
Juventus have built this season around last year’s Champions League final appearance and a loss here would be damning.
The odds are indeed stacked against the club from Turin, but a Juventus fightback a la Roma would turn this tournament upside down. After all, Juve did beat Barcelona on their way to the final the last time Juve were in this position.
Real Madrid are without the suspended Sergio Ramos, while Juventus have Paulo Dybala and Rodrigo Bentacur also out with suspensions. Dybala’s absence is key as Juve would need to score if they want to continue playing in Europe in May.
Will it be “Hala Madrid” ringing loud in the Santiago Bernabeu, or will the Old Lady be singing loudly in Madrid?