As we all know, in an ideal world, everyone would have been looking forward to new seasons in Europe about two weeks from now. However, as it stands, the Champions League is still ongoing as the first rounds of knockouts are yet to still be completed.
Unfortunately, the pandemic practically changed the world and European football is not an exception. On the bright side, the games must go on and we are so here for it!
The likes of Atalanta, RB Leipzig, Atletico Madrid and Paris St. Germain have already made it to the last eight while there are still second leg games as Manchester City – Real Madrid (2-1 aggregate); Barcelona – Atalanta (1-1); Juventus – Olympique Lyonnais (0-1) and Bayern Munich – Chelsea (3-0) are still yet to be played.
So who will win the Champions League 1.5 2019/2020? “1.5” because this is not an entire revamp of the competition.
As we know now, all the games after the second legs of the remaining last-16 games – not like it matters as there will be no fans – will be played in Lisbon. This is due to the fact that UEFA considered it a “safe destination”. Also, the initially hosts, Istanbul, would hold the finals next year.
The slim margins for error in Europe’s top competition (see Liverpool – Barcelona 2018/2019) has even become slimmer as the rest of the games would be played in one knockout leg, as opposed to the traditional home and away knockout games and this may result in teams being a lot more cautious as there are no second-leg games to turn to.
As neutrals, we hope we are proven wrong.
Would it be free-scoring Atalanta?
Would it be RB Leipzig? Their chances have been made slimmer as their record goal-scorer, Timo Werner, has left to join Chelsea and cannot play for them in these crunch games as he is no longer under their employ.
According to The Telegraph, Manchester City and Bayern Munich are 3/1 favourites, although the absence of Sergio Aguero for Manchester City would be a huge blow for them, and this is also assuming that they are successful in their second leg games (never say ever no?), Paris St Germain is priced at 5/1, Atalanta at 17/2, Barcelona 8/1, Atletico Madrid 9/1, RB Leipzig 14/1, Juventus 18/1, Real Madrid 25/1, Napoli 75/1, Lyon 100/1 and Chelsea 250/1.
No more home advantage. No more crowds to spur teams on. Just one team against another. One thing is certain: Every team knows now that one mistake could cost you the chance of progress as there is no second leg for a possible redemption.
It is all to play for now.