The UEFA Champions League tournament, considered by most football fans to be the most important, prestigious and competitive continental club football tournament in the world, will make its triumphant return in mid-February.
While many sports fans focused on the NFL and Super Bowl betting oddsAmerican football predictions can now be put aside as the Champions League returns.
The first knockout stages of the 2021-22 tournament are upon us and with 16 of Europe’s top teams still in contention to lift the coveted UCL trophy, let’s break down how each game will play out and which team looks best placed to continue in the run for the title.
PSG v Real Madrid
Paris Saint Germain have ensured this is the season in which they end up winning the UCL trophy, a trophy that has eluded them since becoming the powerhouse European team that they are.
With an attacking core made up of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar – that’s not counting the rest of the myriad stars that make up this squad – it would be foolish not to think they would be outright favorites from the start. in the next round of competition.
But then again, when you face Real Madrid – the most successful team in the history of the tournament – things can take a different turn.
Real Madrid struggled early in the tournament but managed to bounce back and fight their way to the knockout stages, and with Karim Benzema in the lead alongside head coach Carlo Ancelotti and company, the PSG will have a hard time trying to get rid of them.
Yet after all, it’s said and done, the advantage lies with PSG due to their star power and general hunger to win.
Sporting CP v Manchester City
There’s nothing more dangerous than a team looking for revenge, and that’s exactly what Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side are doing right now.
After losing last season’s title game to Chelsea, Pep and company will be looking to make this season the one where the UCL title finally goes to Manchester, but not Old Trafford. While Sporting CP can put up a valiant fight, it’s impossible for Manchester City not to advance here.
RB Salzburg v Bayern Munich
An undisputed favorite to win the title once again, Bayern Munich never seem to miss a beat when it comes to showing just how dominant they can be.
Now with coach Julian Nagelsmann at the helm and with players like Robert Lewandowski and company all firing on all cylinders no matter who is in front of them, no offense to Red Bull Salzburg. The only thing that matters is that in this game the advantage is 100% for Bayern Munich.
Inter Milan v Liverpool
Here’s a match that looks a lot more even, at least on paper. On one side we have Inter Milan, who sit atop the Serie A table and have shown promising signs of great football all around.
On the other hand, we have Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side who, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in charge of the attacking core and Virgil Van Dijk in charge of defence, are still one of the most difficult opponents. to meet in Europe. Although they may be behind City in the Premier League, the advantage here lies with Liverpool.
Chelsea v LOSC Lille
Re-tuning UCL champions Chelsea look more than ready to win another title this year, even if it means having to knock out French side Lille, who have played some very respectable games during the UCL season.
Ultimately, trying to stop Thomas Tuchel’s blue football machine is something few teams can do, and it clearly seems like something Lille won’t be able to do. Chelsea advantage.
Villarreal v Juventus
Villarreal are one of those adorable underdog teams that everyone always hopes to see in every major sporting tournament.
They’re a small team, from a small town and they have one of the most loyal fanbases in all of Spanish football. Although they did a lot of good in the group stage, especially when they had to face Manchester United, when the pressure is on it looks like beating Italian powerhouse Juventus is not going to be something that happens in a foreseeable future, especially after Juventus were able to sign Fiorentina’s master goalscorer Dusan Vlahovic.
Benfica v Ajax
Which team look best placed to stop Sebastien Haller and his goalscoring pace at this year’s UCL tournament?
The Ajax striker managed to score at least once in each of the group stage matches, tallying 10 goals in this round alone.
If you add to that that Ajax manager Erik Ten Haag would love to have another shot at UCL glory like in recent years, then even though Benfica are a very good team and can play very good football, the advantage here clearly goes to the Dutch. .
Atlético Madrid v Manchester United
It’s Rangnick against Simeone, CR7 against one of his favorite rival teams to score against, it’s reigning La Liga champions Real Madrid against a Manchester United side always trying to find the best way to propelling themselves to stardom and football dominance.
While Ronaldo and United can be a real threat, ultimately Simeone’s experiences coaching Atletico Madrid in stages like these will end up paying big dividends for the Spanish champions. Advantage Atlético Madrid.