There are only eight teams left standing in the Champions League. This is the stage of the tournament where Europe’s biggest and best clubs (and Leicester City) will battle for ultimate supremacy. And quite the fascinating battle it will be, because the draw is fantastic:
Every matchup here is great. Atlético Madrid vs. Atlético Madrid Jr.! Obi Wan Celotti vs. Darth Zidane! A rematch of the 2014-15 UCL final!
This draw is maybe a little unfortunate for Leicester, though. Their success in Europe this season closely mirrors their success in England last season, where most teams see that they’re playing Leicester and figure “Oh, these guys are jokes, this won’t be hard at all,” and proceed to play a wide-open game that plays directly to the Foxes’ strengths.
Atlético will not do this. I called Leicester Atlético Jr. above because the two teams have a very similar playing style, only Atleti do everything better than Leicester and with way better players. Atlético aren’t great at breaking down deep defenses, though, so maybe Leicester will stymie Atleti’s attack long enough to keep things close. Either way, it will be fun to see these two purveyors of the much-maligned 4-4-2 slug it out for a semifinal spot.
The Borussia Dortmund-Monaco tie is great as well, in no small part because it ensures someone outside the Barça-Real-Bayern-Juve hegemony makes the semifinals. These are two fun and young and attack-minded squads, though Monaco’s physical dominance is exactly the kind of thing Dortmund struggle against. However, BVB have Christian Pulisic. Don’t count out the wonderteen deciding the tie all by himself with a couple hat tricks in each leg.
The next two matchups are UCL final-worthy heavyweight bouts and are absolutely tantalizing. They are also rematches of big Champions League matches we’ve seen recently. It’s hard to pick a favorite for either tie, and the two clubs that do make it through this round will be the big favorites to go on and win the whole thing. This tournament is awesome.
Lest we forget that the Europa League also matters now that there’s a Champions League berth available for the winner of that competition, here’s that quarterfinal draw:
Manchester United’s best hopes for Champions League play next season probably lie here in the Europa League, and it shouldn’t be too hard for them to get past Anderlecht and carry on to the semis.