When we wrote our Champions League preview back in November 2019, we had no idea that a pandemic would emerge that would halt sport for nearly half a year. But after the round of 16 was halted in March, the Champions League 2019/20 is due to resume on 7 August.
The tournament will resume with a continuation of the round of 16 games before the quarter finals follow less than a week later. All of the remaining matches will be single-leg affairs and they will all be held in Lisbon, Portugal.
Obviously these games will be held behind closed doors. While there will be no home advantage, it still promises to be a gripping competition in what’s perhaps the world’s toughest club football tournament.
In 2019 there were an estimated 400 million television viewers of the Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur. This time around, there’ll be plenty more people visiting betting resources such as www.betting.co.uk to pick up a welcome bonus and see whether they can get lucky in backing the winner. So who’s looking most likely to win the Champions League this time around?
The German titans are looking unstoppable at the moment. Bayern Munich comfortably topped the Bundesliga table for the eighth successive year a clear 13 points ahead of their nearest rivals, Borussia Dortmund.
It’s been similar easy progress for Hans-Dieter Flick’s team though the Champions League. The side put on a masterclass in the round of 16 to crush Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge. The second leg takes place on 8 August, and it’s almost impossible not to imagine Bayern booking their place in the quarter finals.
Interestingly, a win would see them playing against either Barcelona or Napoli in the next round. But such is the confidence of key players like Robert Lewandowski that we can see the German team going all the way.
Pep Guardiola’s team will be dying for Champions League success after they successfully overturned their European football ban. This is all the more true after losing out to Liverpool in the Premier League title race.
It’s hard to believe a team of Manchester City’s quality have never won the Champions League. The team have certainly looked promising in recent years, but have repeatedly squandered their opportunities.
While the team will be missing Sergio Aguero, with players like Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling in fine form, we can expect Manchester City to come out guns blazing against Real Madrid in the second leg of their round of 16 match on 7 August.
Manchester City won the first leg away 2-1, and the potential of facing either Juventus or Lyon in the next round looks to be a very tantalising prospect.
Quique Setien’s team will be very hungry for Champions League success. The Spanish legends have just had to suffer the agony of watching Real Madrid claiming the La Liga title for the first time in three years. Their star striker Lionel Messi even went on record to say that things have to change at Camp Nou.
All of which means that we can expect to see a pumped-up Barcelona team emerge when they take to their second leg against Napoli. Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw against the Italian team back in March, but we can expect a masterclass from the Spanish titans on 8 August.
It’s hard to pinpoint what’s gone wrong with Barcelona this season. Big name signings such as Antoine Griezmann haven’t settled into the team as well as expected, and there have been numerous bouts with injuries for important stars such as Luis Suarez. Despite this, it’s still hard not to picture Barcelona appearing in the Champions League final that kicks off on 23 August.
(Photo: “Champions Real Sociedad Leverkusen” by Josu Prilio is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)