So, it will be Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid vs. Chelsea.
I’ll admit: these matchups do have me intrigued.
Will poor, sad Thibaut Courtois get to play for Atletico against Chelsea – the team that loaned him to Atleti in the first place? (Probably)
How will Real vs. Bayern play out after their last epic semi-final two years ago? (Hopefully without penalties!)
How far will Jose Mourihno get trying to gaslight Diego Simeone? (My guess is not very)
Will Atleti make history and get to the final 40 years after they last made it? (Possibly)
Or will we get a Chelsea (Mou) vs. Bayern (Pep) final (Ugh! Anything but that!)
Who says football isn’t soap opera, eh?
In Europa League, it’s Benfica vs. Juventus and Sevilla vs. Valencia (all-Spanish affair alert!) Juventus is winning this, right?
I’m not willing to predict the Champions League winner because at this level, there’s very little between the teams, which means the games will be decided by the smallest of margins and factors I can’t even begin to think of.
The two top European Competitions have their final fours (see what I did there).
In the Champions League, the semi-finalists are
The post-mortems on the quarterfinals are as numerous as they are repetitive, featuring headlines about Chelsea’s remarkable comeback, Bayern showing their class, Atletico being the romantics/hipsters choice and Real scraping into the semi-final round.
There are things I love about this competition, but when it gets to this stage, it often feels anti-climactic, probably because it’s usually the same 3 or 4 teams competing for the trophy every year. And as I’ve said before this is my least favorite part of the tournament because the stakes are so high that it makes the actual games fairly dull (though that doesn’t mean I won’t be watching).
In the Europa League, Benfica, Juventus, Valencia and Sevilla have made the semi-finals, with Valencia coming back from 0-3 down to beat Basel. Kudos to Valencia, but I would have liked to see Basel in the semis.
I’d like to get excited about the draw on Friday, but I know UEFA’s going to drag it out.
So, we have our Europa League quarterfinal matchups.
Juventus v Lyon
Benfica v AZ
Porto v Sevilla
Valencia v FC Basel
I stick by my prediction that Juventus will win this tournament. They’re still the best team left in the draw, and the final will be played at Juventus Stadium. How could they NOT win this?