The Champions League Restart Top Questions We Can't Wait To See Answered!
Recent weeks on Planet Football have seen domestic issues settled, but now it’s time for The Big Cup to take centre stage once again. The UEFA Champions League resumes this week with Juventus v Lyon, and Manchester City v Real Madrid – quite the combo to get things started! – and continues, rapid-fire, until a champion is crowned on August 23rd.
It all begins again from this Friday, with every game live on Virgin Media Sport, Virgin TV 400. And what are the issues on everyone’s lips as we prepare for things to kick off? Well, read on!
While the whole tournament can be described as above, it’s particularly applicable to the Round of 16 ties which haven’t yet been settled – a gap of about five months between first and second legs would be enough to forget how things stand! And while Chelsea’s three goal deficit might be a bridge too far against Bayern, two other ties have just one goal in them, with Barcelona and Napoli level as things stand. Who’ll stamp their tickets to Lisbon? Only one way to know!
Packing your bags for Portugal doesn’t sound like a hardship right about now, but it may well throw a spanner in the works for sides who make the last eight of the tournament. Whether it’s the blazing sun – more suited to sunbathing than footie! – or the lack of home comforts, teams will be faced with decidedly different challenges than the norm; who handles them best might well reign supreme when the dust settles!
ONE AND DONE
For a tournament with a long and storied history of second-leg drama, this year’s climax will be altogether unusual; single games will decide the quarters and semis (also the final, but that’s hardly new!). It means slow and steady may not win the race, and that sides who jump into an early lead might just be rewarded like never before. Will that have a bearing in how sides – and their coaches – approach an endgame like no other?
KEEP IT MOVING
Momentum is a mythical beast, but there’s no ignoring the fact that successful teams seem to be able to carry winning form with them. Bayern, Juventus and Real Madrid each claimed domestic honours in the past few weeks, so you’d have to think they’ll roll into Lisbon with plenty to be positive about. Napoli and Lyon, meanwhile, know that lifting Ol’ Big Ears is the only way they’ll earn passage to next year’s tournament. As much as it’s a Champions League restart, it’s a continuation of the season; what part will the last few weeks play?
Keeping an eye on the injury report is part and parcel of football – but with the eyes of the soccer world focused on these fixtures, we’re all on the brink of becoming medical analysts! Kylian Mbappe and Sergio Aguero are two of the names at the top of the ‘under observation’ list going into the restart, while the prospect of three (or even four) games in quick succession raises questions over how players will hold up across the mini-tournament...
THE PERFECT MATCH(ES)
The upstarts of Atalanta against the monied superstars of PSG? RB Leipzig making their first appearance in the quarter-finals against the grizzled veterans of Atletico? And, even further ahead, the prospect of mouthwatering ties further along; Messi v Ronaldo in the semi-finals, anyone?! Yes, between all the calendar changes and administrative to-ing and fro-ing, it sometimes slips the mind that the continent’s finest footballing fare will be on show; now let the games begin!
You’ll catch every game of the UEFA Champions League on Virgin Media Sports – click here to find out more!