With UEFA having mapped out the path to the final in Istanbul with a quarter-final and a semi-final, the prospect of a repeat of the 2005 Champions League success at the Ataturk Stadium depends on Jurgen Klopp’s side beating Real Madrid in the quarter-final before facing the winner of the Chelsea-Porto match. Before winning the Champions League in 2005, Liverpool beat Chelsea in the semi-finals thanks to an infamous ghost goal from Luis Garcia.
– UCL draw: Real Madrid vs Liverpool, Bayern vs PSG
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The draw also keeps the prospect of an English final alive, with a box-office clash between Real and Bayern also a possibility.
Now that the road to Istanbul is clear, ESPN has tried to predict how the final rounds will go – and who will be in the final on the 29th. The month of May will meet.
Although Manchester City are heavy favourites to beat Dortmund, who are not in the top four of the Bundesliga, things could go wrong for Pep Guardiola’s side if they cannot get rid of the threat posed by Erling Haaland.
The 20-year-old, whose father Alfie played for City between 2000 and 2003, is one of Guardiola’s main summer targets, but he currently poses the biggest threat to City’s chances of reaching the semi-finals. Haaland is top scorer this season with 10 goals and will be reluctant to face City, but Dortmund also have the attacking talent of former City youth player Jadon Sancho to worry Guardiola and his players.
Dortmund’s weak point is their defence, which has conceded nine goals so far this season. Meanwhile, City have conceded just one goal in eight Champions League games: a 14th-minute goal. Minute from the 3-1 win over Porto in October. But as impressive as City’s players were, they didn’t face a striker of Haaland’s quality, so the draw is less obvious than it looks on paper.
City’s overall strength, with the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling, should keep them ahead, but Haaland could tip the game.
Who fits? The city of Manchester.
Julien Laurens thinks Dortmund’s quarter-final against Manchester City will be interesting for Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland.
Although Porto crushed Juventus in the final round to reach the quarter-finals, seven other clubs wanted to draw with the two-time Champions League winners.
Coach Sergio Conceicao has built a solid and undervalued team at the Estadio do Dragao, with 38-year-old Pepe perfectly in place in defence against Juve. Sergio Oliveira’s midfield threat will worry Chelsea, but Thomas Tuchel’s side has undergone a transformation since the German coach replaced Frank Lampard in January and are unbeaten in 13 games (all competitions). The impressive win in the round of 16 over Atletico Madrid also underlined that the team is considered a dangerous underdog this season.
– Laurels: How Tuchel turned Chelsea into.
Tuchel organised Chelsea defensively and got hold of Kai Havertz. Timo Werner is another player who is in the starting line-up under Tuchel after struggling with Lampard.
Even if Porto have the ability and coach to make things difficult for Chelsea and put them in their place, it’s hard to look beyond the English club.
Who fits? Chelsea
Julien Lawrence explains why Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel will face Porto in the Champions League quarter-finals.
In a repeat of last season’s final, won by Bayern in Lisbon, two of the biggest favourites meet.
Bayern have outscored all other clubs this season with 24 goals in eight games, but Hansi Flick’s side are vulnerable in the Bundesliga, losing twice – to Borussia Monchengladbach and Eintracht Frankfurt – in 2021. PSG also struggled to find their usual form. Mauricio Pochettino’s side finished in an unusual second place in Ligue 1, behind leaders Lille. However, the elimination of Barcelona in the round of 16 was a major psychological hurdle for PSG to overcome due to their previous weaknesses against Europe’s elite clubs, and the new clash with Bayern came at the right time for the French side.
If Neymar is back to full fitness in time after his long-term thigh injury, he and Kylian Mbappé could knock Bayern out. But now Byrne will probably win the closest of the four draws.
Who fits? Bavaria Munich
Julien Laurens says PSG have a hard time when they are favourites to win, but they won’t have that problem against Bayern.
It’s a repeat of the 1981 and 2018 Champions League finals and a clash between two teams in poor form this season. Mohamed Salah’s first reunion with Sergio Ramos since the Liverpool striker was injured by the Madrid captain in the 2018 final will make this an intriguing match, but the outcome will likely depend on which team defends better.
Liverpool’s defensive crisis, caused by the long-term injuries of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, has troubled Klopp’s squad, while the absence of captain Jordan Henderson in midfield has also affected results. Despite this, Real have had to concede goals all season. Zinedine Zidane’s team gave up ten in eight Champions League games. Liverpool, despite their problems, have only conceded three goals in this league this season.
The fact that the games are played at Real’s small stadium, the Alfredo di Stefano training ground, and that the return is played at an empty Anfield, will also have an impact, as both teams can usually count on impressive home support in the latter stages of the Champions League.
It’s a draw between an aging Real and an injured Liverpool, but if Salah and Sadio Mane are fit, Liverpool will win.
Who fits? Liverpool
Bayern Munich have dominated Europe and could well become champions again thanks to their attacking qualities. Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Bayern Munich – Man City: If the quarter-finals go according to plan, Bayern and City will face each other in the semi-finals, who will again have the toughest road to the final.
Pep Guardiola spent three years at Bayern trying to win the Champions League and May marks 10 years since he led the side to European glory after Barcelona beat Manchester United at Wembley in 2011. City, of course, have never won the Champions League or reached the final, and despite the incredible success they have had at the Etihad since his arrival in 2016, they are still waiting for glory in the biggest competition.
In terms of team and squad quality, there is a small gap between City and Bayern, although the German club has the advantage because of their Champions League pedigree. They were there and City weren’t, which is important in the final, because last year in the quarter-finals City didn’t have the psychological strength to beat a lesser team like Lyon.
The one area that may prove crucial: While Sergio Aguero has struggled with his fitness all season, City lack a reliable striker. Gabriel Jesus, is just not a good replacement. Bayern have Robert Lewandowski at their disposal and the reliability of the Polish international makes the reigning European champions the favourites for the final.
Who is the match? Bavaria Munich
Liverpool v Chelsea: That Premier League clash in the 2000s culminated in a Champions League rematch, with Liverpool beating the London club twice in the semi-finals, in 2005 and 2007, before finishing third in 2008. If Liverpool beat Real this time and Chelsea win against Porto, they could meet for the fourth time at this stage.
Liverpool’s Champions League status always works in their favour, but this time they can’t count on a packed and noisy Anfield because of the KOVID-19 pandemic. Chelsea won their last Premier League game at Anfield earlier this month and Tuchel believes he has the strength and confidence in his team to win again when they meet in the semi-finals.
Both teams have struggled this season, but Chelsea have found their form and look fresh and strong under their new coach. If they meet Liverpool in the semi-final, Chelsea will have the advantage of taking revenge for the 2012 final, which they won over Bayern Munich.
Who is the match? Chelsea
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