The Champions League round of 16 concluded on Wednesday night when both Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund sealed their places in the quarter final draw tomorrow.
There were no shocks in the round of 16 as each team that was expected to win won their matches with relative ease. The only game that ever looked in doubt was Manchester United overturning their first leg deficit to Olympiakos of Greece. A clinical Robin van Persie hat-trick saw the Red Devils through to the last eight in their first season under David Moyes.
With the draw for the last eight taking place tomorrow, the draw looks to be one of the strongest ever. With each of the remaining teams able to put forward a strong case for why they could go all the way, a winner could come from anywhere.
Of all the teams remaining it looks as if Manchester United are the most vulnerable. This is a bold claim to make, but it also shows the strength of the draw. Beating a mediocre Olympiakos will give Moyes some respite, but there is no hiding their inadequacies from the quarter finals. Surprise package of the tournament Atletico Madrid rubber stamped their credentials with a 5-1 aggregate demolition of Italian giants AC Milan. PSG similarly annihilated Bayer Leverkusen 6-1 on aggregate, with a 4-0 win in Germany.
Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea join last seasons winners Bayern Munich to complete the quarter final.
Real Madrid and Barcelona’s strengths lie in their attacking prowess, whereas Chelsea will have the tactical mastery of Jose Mourinho to guide them. Bayern Munich have effectively won the Bundesliga already, so they can shift a lot of their focus to their European exploits in their first season with serial winner Pep Guardiola at the helm.
What we don’t know is who will be the outright winner, but I would put my money on Munich to win. I can’t get behind the claim that Real Madrid are the strongest, because they are there every year but always come a cropper. My friend (@John_Larkin316) had Atletico as his dark horse from the start of the competition and they are still in the mix. What I do know is that I’ll be watching the draw tomorrow in anticipation of monumental clashes!