With the Champions League competition reaching its final stages. Let’s look at all the competitors of this years last eight and evaluate their chances of lifting the European Cup.
Ajax proved their quality by thrashing Real Madrid 4-1 at the Bernabeu to progress to the quarter finals. Their youthful fearless nature of play has earned them many admirers. The problem is that their age brings inexperience, especially at this level. As many as many nine of the match day squad in Madrid were in the 18-man group two years earlier in the Europa League final against Manchester United, but the Champions League is a different beast. They are not used to play at this level of competition.
One of the favorites if not the favorites to win the competition this year. The catlans are in fine form. Messi their talisman is on his way to another European golden boot scoring 36 goals in as many games. Their lead at the top of La Liga standings helps their cause. But Champions League is no ordinary competition. Barcelona are accused of being over reliant on Messi this can be a factor in their quest for glory.
The old lady of Turin is on its way to the eighth domestic crown. They have played 2 finals in last 4 years. With Cristiano Ronaldo on their side they can finally win it. But same as the case with Barcelona they also seem to be heavily reliant on their talisman. The added pressure of winning the competition can play a key role in their journey.
Jurgen Klopp has transformed the fortunes of the team from Anfield. His high octane football philosophy has powered Liverpool to champions league final last year. This season the team is vying for its first premier league title in 29 years. The front line of Salah, Mane, and Firminho can terrorize the best of defenses. Their quest for both domestic and continental success adds extra pressure.
Probably one of the least likely teams to go through. Tied against an impeccable Barcelona side Manchester united have their work cut out. After their heroics in Paris in the last round the team is bursting with confidence. The feel good factor is back as they are rejuvenated under their new manager. But Manchester United have their hands full with competition for top 4 places in the premier league. And a European draw might be too much to ask for.
The team from the blue half of the Manchester has set their sights on the ultimate prize now for long. Guardiola’s men have been in some fine form for over a year now. Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero’s goalscoring form is what the citizens need. Although they are facing stiff competition from Liverpool for the Premier League crown. This might just be their chance to be the European Champions.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side is young explosive and is capable of achieving good results. Having said that their tendency to bottling up in the pressure situations make them vulnerable. Spurs are not contenders but can be taken as a dark horse. They have a tough opponent in Manchester City and City’s priority for European glory makes their task even more difficult.
Not many people will give the Portugese side much chance to progress furthermore. Their inspirational comeback over Roma was a good game to watch. Their triumph in 2004 was way back and don’t have many hopes of progressing further. There have been some bright players that have caught the eye. They have a monumental tie against Liverpool that may well mark their end to this year’s Champions League journey.