Prediction time for this weeks Champions League 2nd Leg games. Time to put the money where your mouth is and see if we can guess the teams to reach the semi finals.
Liverpool (1) v Real Madrid (3)
With many fans betting on Liverpool to discard of Madrid last week this game came as a shock. Not necessarily for the 3-1 score line but more so in the manner in which it was reached. Madrid played with a confidence that we have not seen thus far in the competition. Liverpool were absolutely dire in the opening 45 mins. It was strange to see a Klopp side so easily brushed aside and the goals conceded were a mix of brilliance and madness. The ball over the top from Kroos was outstanding. The pace of the run, the touch at high speed and the finish by Vinicius Junior were simply sublime. Liverpool were the instigators of their own downfall for the 2nd as Trent Alexander Arnold compounded an already poor half with a bizarre assist.
Although Liverpool were better in the second half and scored an all important away goal Madrid still kept them at an arms length by securing a three goal win. So what is in store for this weeks game? This Liverpool team are a shadow of the team that even with injuries overturned Barcelona at Anfield. Watching them toil over beating Aston Villa at the weekend would not inspire you that they have the ability or drive to complete this mission. Madrid on the other hand were impressive in their win in the El Classico.
Make no bones about it if Liverpool were to get through this tie and into the semi finals it would be a bigger achievement than beating Barcelona. Liverpool will be up for the game and i expect them to make a fight of it. This will not be good enough however as i foresee a comfortable Madrid win. They play with a confidence that Liverpool are lacking at the moment.
Prediction : Madrid.
Dortmund (1) v (2) Manchester City
This is an interesting tie with plenty to play for. Both sides gave a good account of themselves and Dortmund were probably robbed of a perfectly good goal as well! Pep Guardiola again went with no recognised striker but they still managed to score twice in this win. City struggled to deal with Haaland and the deep runs from Reus who were unlucky not to add to their tally.
With Guardiola promising to go for the win it shows he has perhaps learned from past failures. City have been dominant in previous stages but have not managed to get over the line when it mattered. I think we will see goals in this game and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Dortmund progress on away goals.
This could be the game where Haaland makes the difference as we all expect the giant Dane to make his impact. But Haaland will not be on his own as the impressive Jude Bellingham and Marco Reus will look to add to their impressive away performance. City will again rely on the brilliant Kevin De Bruyne to steer them towards glory with high expectations on Sterling and Foden. This makes for a mouth watering game. I’m going to back city to win this by simply outscoring their counterparts.
Prediction : City
Chelsea (2) v (0) Porto
Porto couldn’t relive their glorious performance that seen them knock Juve out of the competition. Chelsea again turned over an impressive performance in Europe which was epitomised by a brilliant Mount goal. There’s a rigidity to this Chelsea team that we’ve not seen since Mourinho was at the helm.
Porto will now need to go away to Stamford Bridge and score 3 goals without reply. This will be highly unlikely. Where i might see them grabbing a goal or two they would will need to push onto this Chelsea side and surely concede more than they score. Christian Pulisic was in flying form over the weekend and with Kai Havertz suddenly remembering how to play football the timing could not be better for Chelsea.
With Tomas Tuchel going with the Pep Guardiola narrative of playing without a recognised striker this Chelsea team has huge options. Bad news for Tammy Abraham and Giroud but it gives them an extra dimension. Through Mount and the combo of Pulisic/Havertz they have lots of goals elsewhere. I am backing Chelsea to double their current lead and run out comfortable winners.
Prediction : Chelsea.
PSG (3) v (2) Bayern Munich
Much like the City/Dortmund game i was expecting this tie to be different. Bayern were put in a position that we are not familiar with. PSG came our of the blocks and really roasted the Bayern defenders by choosing to run the ball rather than play it aimlessly forward. Each time they stole more yards and it wasn’t a surprise when Mbappe opened the scoring with a fine effort. Suddenly Bayern were human!
Bayern were badly exposed at times and their high line with slow defenders was at sea. Sule is not blessed with pace and when he was swapped for Boateng things did not improve. Missing Robert Lewandowski and Gnabry for big games like this can be too much for some teams but to Bayern’s credit they pulled back some good goals from crosses. Few teams can compete with Bayern’s aerial ability.
Not many teams can go away to Bayern and take them on in their own backyard. The confidence that PSG will have gathered from this game will help them. They can sit back a little and try to hit Bayern on the break. With Neymar and particularly Mbappe they have real match winners in their ranks. I’m concerned for Munich as their talisman Lewandowski is a huge loss and they do not have an adequate replacement. I am going to lean slightly in the favour of PSG as they are also playing at home. We will see if they are mentally strong enough to cause a huge upset for the current holders.
Prediction : PSG.
Agree or disagree with the prediction? Feel free to comment!