The Champions League returned in mid-week with the first legs of the final qualifying round on Tuesday and Wednesday. Unfortunately, the draws pitched together a number of strong teams that could have a big impact on the competition, who would now have to battle over two legs to reach the group stages. Fortunately, this gave PR, AL and JD interesting ties to analyse, and each author summarises the key aspects in the clash they watched.
Linfield hosted Celtic at Windsor Park for the first leg of their Champions League second round qualifier, in a game that will be remembered more for events off the pitch than on it. With the match moved to Friday evening as opposed to the originally scheduled Wednesday night to avoid the Glasgow sideâ€™s playing in Belfast coinciding with the â€˜Twelfthâ€™, an already unusual scenario was only compounded by Celticâ€™s uncharacteristically poor play in possession, albeit in part down to the home sideâ€™s good defensive organisation.
This yearâ€™s Champions League culminated in Cardiff, as Juventus aimed to stop Real Madrid winning the trophy for the third time in four years. PR, JD and EA give their thoughts on how the game unfolded.
Juventus and Barcelona were drawn in the quarter-final of the Champions League. The tie pitched the 2015 finalists together, giving the Italian side the chance for revenge. The Spanish champions came into the tie on the back of the miracle comeback against PSG whilst Juventus coasted past Porto. Juventusâ€™ outstanding defensive structure would clash against Barcelonaâ€™s world class attackers, an exciting tie lay ahead.
Juventus and Barcelona were drawn in the quarter-final of the Champions League. The tie pitched the 2015 finalists together, giving the Italian side the chance for revenge. The Spanish champions came into the tie on the back of the miracle comeback against PSG whilst Juventus coasted past Porto. Juventus’ outstanding defensive structure would clash against Barcelona’s world class attackers, an exciting tie lay ahead.
Borussia Dortmund hosted AS Monaco in the first tie of the Champions League quarter final. Whether or not they should have played (they absolutely shouldnâ€™t have) would require a separateÂ article, but what unfolded was an exciting and fast-paced match.
In our mailbag we answer questions of our followers. In the #5 we discussed the last eight competitors for the Champions League. Also: playing from the back against high pressing, Arsenal, deep defending and training of a back-line.
In the beginning of Tuchelâ€™s tenure as head coach in Dortmund a special product developed on the field due to the interaction of the style of play from the previous coach and his own. The team was in a transition phase where they were moving from Jurgen Klopp who was known for his intense, compact, and dynamic style of play both in and out of possession, to former Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel.
Leonardo Jardim brought his potent Monaco attack to the Etihad last night, ensuing what was one of the most entertaining clashes of the season so far.
Luis Enrique’s Barcelona side made the enviable trip to Paris on Valentine’s day for a last-16 first leg clash with Paris Saint-Germain. Both sides are experiencing average domestic campaigns by their lofty recent standards and the Champions League thus takes on great significance as an alternative way of enjoying a successful season.