Our Champions League predictions
We got to see eight great matches in the first leg of the 1/8 UEFA Champions League knock-out phase. A single one of them ended with a draw, but this doesn’t mean that the outcome of the other seven is easy to predict. We’re talking Champions League here, so there is always enough room for surprises and unexpected turn of events in this competition.
However, I dare to make all the predictions for the second leg, based on the way these sixteen teams have played in the previous weeks.
RB Leipzig – Tottenham (1st leg result: 1-0)
Looking at the way Spurs are playing under Jose Mourinho, I think even a tie against Burnley FC would put them in real trouble. With no disrespect for the last season’s finalist, Tottenham is struggling in the absence of both Kane and Son. Leipzig rested a couple of players on the weekend and looks incredibly solid on home soil this season. They only lost here twice this season, across all competitions.
Second leg prediction: RB Leipzig 2-0 Tottenham
Valencia – Atalanta (1st leg result: 1-4)
This is the easy one. The only concern for the Italians should be their defence, which is a bit ironic. Gasperini’s side is incredibly good upfront and Valencia needs a miracle to qualify further. They need to score at least three goals, but they only managed to do that once at the Mestalla in the last five months!
Second leg prediction: Valencia 2-2 Atalanta
Liverpool – Atletico Madrid (1st leg result: 0-1)
It’s harder to come back after a 1-0 loss to Atletico than a 3-0 loss against Barcelona. This is something that Klopp already knows. The winter break didn’t bring any good to The Reds and my guess is they will leave the competition after Wednesday’s game. Liverpool looks inconsistent now, and all Atletico needs to do is defend…the thing they do best.
Second leg prediction: Liverpool 0-0 Atletico Madrid
PSG – Dortmund (1st leg result: 1-2)
This will come down to Thomas Tuchel’s decisions. He seemed to lack courage in the first leg, but now I think he is forced to play four attacking players, not three. Dortmund’s form is really good, but if PSG starts with Mbappe, Neymar, Di Maria and Icardi I just don’t see how Hummels, Zagadou and Piszczek will be able to stop them. It could be a goal galore!
Second leg prediction: PSG 4-2 Dortmund
Juventus – Lyon (1st leg result: 0-1)
Cristiano Ronaldo knocked-out Atletico Madrid last season all by himself, after a 2-0 loss in the first leg. Lyon doesn’t compare to Simeone’s side, so I think Juventus will turn this tie around. I expect them to get just the result they need, now that they are also boosted by the win against Inter, one of their rivals in the battle for Il Scudetto.
Second leg prediction: Juventus 2-0 Lyon
Manchester City – Real Madrid (1st leg result: 2-1)
Champions League is the only big trophy that Guardiola can still win this season. As City’s presence in this competition in the next couple of years is questionable, I am sure they will do their best to go all the way this season. They won against Madrid at the Bernabeu, a performance that few teams experienced this season. I back them to win again in the second leg, as the Spaniards will have more energy to fight for La Liga.
Second leg prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Real Madrid
Bayern – Chelsea (1st leg result: 3-0)
The first leg looked like it was a game of men vs. boys. Although Chelsea has improved since that heavy result, I don’t think they can go to Munich and deliver the shock of the night. The Germans have depth in all of their compartments, while The Blues always struggle to keep a good rhythm for more consecutive games.
Second leg prediction: Bayern 2-1 Chelsea
Barcelona – Napoli (1st leg result: 1-1)
Probably the most boring game of the knock-out phase, so far. At the Camp Nou, things will be slightly different. The Catalans will seek to attack, as they can’t rely only on the away-goal advantage. They need to be careful not to get caught on the counter-attack by Napoli’s quick wingers. We’ll see more of Setien possession-based style of play, but I am counting on Messi to deliver the killer blow in this match.
Second leg prediction: Barcelona 2-0 Napoli
How many of the above will come true? Time will tell. The only thing we can be sure of is that another chapter of the UEFA Champions League story will reveal even more drama, joy and passion for this game!
Nicu Vădan Quality Assurance