Soccer the world over was placed on maintain because of the coronavirus pandemic and for a while it appeared as if the remainder of the present season won’t be performed in any respect.

Nonetheless, the game has been step by step returning and European soccer’s greatest groups found their destiny for this season’s Champions League knockout phases in Friday’s draw.

The primary quarterfinal sees the last-16 winner of Actual Madrid and Manchester Metropolis tackle the victor of Lyon and Juventus.

Actual faces an uphill process to succeed in the subsequent spherical, after dropping 2-1 to Metropolis on the Bernabeu approach again in February in what was some of the entertaining video games of the season to this point.

Nonetheless, Actual has returned from the enforced break with a vengeance and has been some of the in type groups in Europe.

Zinedine Zidane’s aspect appears much more balanced than it did 4 months in the past and a few scintillating soccer has seen it open up a four-point lead over Barcelona on the high of La Liga.

Conversely, Manchester Metropolis has had its ups and downs for the reason that restart — thrashing Liverpool 4-0, however then dropping 1-Zero at Southampton — however with Jurgen Klopp’s aspect now Premier League champion, Pep Guardiola and his crew will little doubt be totally centered on the Champions League.

The Spaniard hasn’t received the title since leaving Barcelona in 2012 and might be hoping to guide Manchester Metropolis to a primary ever European Cup.

Metropolis additionally has a two-year Champions League ban from UEFA hanging over its head for breaking Monetary Far Play rules, although the membership denies any wrongdoing and it contesting the choice on the Court docket of Arbitration of Sport.

Wily Atletico

The second quarterfinal presents a conflict of differing types as RB Leipzig takes on Atletico Madrid, the vanquisher of final yr’s winner Liverpool.

Leipzig’s younger aspect tore Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham aside within the spherical of 16, successful 4-Zero on combination and taking part in a number of the most expansive and thrilling soccer on the continent below 32-year-old coach Julian Nagelsmann.

The German aspect is among the darkish horses for this yr’s crown, however it’s lack of expertise at this stage of the competitors — specifically towards Diego Simeone’s wily Atletico — might grow to be a hindrance.

Atletico, then again, know precisely the way to navigate the latter phases of the Champions League. In opposition to Liverpool again in February — and at Anfield no much less — Atletico put in a stirring efficiency that typified every thing good about Simeone’s time on the membership.

Performances in La Liga had been dwindling and lots of thought that his tenure was maybe petering out, however that victory over the reigning champion proves there could be sufficient life left for another Champions League title problem.

Napoli towards Barcelona is now arguably probably the most intriguing tie nonetheless left to play within the spherical of 16.

After the 1-1 attract Naples, most would not have given Napoli a lot of an opportunity returning the the Camp Nou, however these two groups have loved differing fortunes since soccer returned.

Barcelona has struggled for outcomes since La Liga restarted and has fallen 4 factors behind Actual Madrid on the high. However maybe extra importantly, it has struggled to search out an id below coach Quique Setien.

The previous Actual Betis supervisor was introduced in to deliver some pleasure again to the Catalan membership; as an alternative, it seems he’s already preventing to retain his job.

Napoli’s resurgence below new coach Gennaro Gattuso has continued following the shutdown, with the membership successful 9 of its final 11 Serie A matches.

Its wonderful type culminated in an historic Coppa Italia win over Juventus in June, successful the membership’s first main trophy since 2014.

Is that this PSG’s yr?

The winner of the tie between Napoli and Barcelona will face both Chelsea or Bayern Munich within the third quarterfinal — although at this stage it is honest to say that would be the Bundesliga aspect.

The lately topped German champion placed on a stellar efficiency at Stamford Bridge to return away with a commanding 3-Zero benefit heading into the second leg.

Bayern’s good type has been as relentless for the reason that restart because it was earlier than and is many individuals’s favourite to raise the trophy this yr.

Chelsea’s younger aspect has carried out impressively at time this season below the inexperienced Frank Lampard, however this Bayern crew appears to be a step too far.

Lastly, Champions League newcomer Atalanta will face Paris Saint-Germain within the last quarterfinal tie.

PSG’s thrilling win over Borussia Dortmund prompted the query: Is that this lastly the yr the French membership will get its arms on the Champions League trophy?

Regardless of a couple of billion {dollars} being spent on the taking part in squad since being purchased by Qatar Sports activities Investments in 2011, the European Cup has continued to elude PSG.

Regardless of making solely its first ever Champions League look, Atalanta has checked out house at European soccer’s high desk.

Underneath supervisor Gian Piero Gasperini, the Italians are the antithesis to the trendy day super-clubs — corresponding to opponent PSG — and regardless of missing the riches of others within the competitors, Atalanta will worry no different crew.

Following the soccer season’s postponement, the Champions League’s last phases will return in a barely altered format.

The second legs of the spherical of 16 fixtures between Manchester Metropolis and Actual Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea, Juventus and Lyon and Barcelona and Napoli nonetheless must be performed on the groups’ respective stadiums August 7-8.

Nonetheless, from the quarterfinals onwards, the ties might be contested over just one leg and all matches might be performed in Lisbon, Portugal from August 12.

Quarterfinal attract full

  • 1. Actual Madrid or Manchester Metropolis vs. Lyon or Juventus
  • 2. RB Leipzig vs. Atletico Madrid
  • 3. Napoli or Barcelona vs. Chelsea or Bayern Munich
  • 4. Atalanta vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Semifinal draw

  • Man Metropolis/Actual Madrid or Lyon/Juventus vs. Napoli/Barcelona or Chelsea/Bayern Munich
  • Leipzig/Atletico Madrid vs. Atalanta/PSG

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