Champions League thoughts

So the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals is complete. Some very interesting results I must say. Only 33 times has a team overcome a first leg deficit to go through, and ONLY Ajax in 95/96, and Inter Milan in 2010/2011 advanced after a first leg home loss. So as the second leg approaches I thought about which teams have the best chance of advancing to Berlin.

Porto shocked us all to an extent with their 3-1 win over Bayern Munich, some will argue a depleted Bayern Munich team. Nevertheless, Porto beat them up and down the pitch and considering the easy draws in previous rounds for Porto you would’ve thought this would be a total mismatch. This team is always a breeding ground for future stars with the likes of Ricardo Quaresma, Juan Quintero and Jackson Martinez. And now with nothing to lose they look to slay the Bavarians.

Atletico Madrid isn’t the same squad as the one that just missed out on winning the Champions League last year but this squad is pretty good. Diego Simeone continues to get the best out of his players whether it’s league play or in European play. Jan Oblak continues to play excellent between the sticks and made crucial saves to keep Atleti alive. Mario Mandzukic is probably one of the most underrated forwards left in the competition. They basically stole a win at the Calderon and having won four and drawn two in six games this season, I wouldn’t be surprised if they got another one at the Bernabeu.

Juventus has been my dark horse all along and so far they are living up to that. Sure they play in a weak league but that’s not their fault. They boast one of the best lineups in the world. Especially up front with Alvaro Morata and Carlos Tevez. The wiley old vet Pirlo can still thread a needle as evident in the Monaco match and that backline is as good as it gets led by Giorgio Chiellini, and great goalkeeping from Gianluigi Buffon. Don’t let the fact that they lost to Parma and are minus Paul Pogba fool you. This team has the look of a champion written all over it.

And finally there is Barcelona. What more can you say about this team? No longer do they rely on Messi the majority of the time when attacking. They have a three pronged attack of Messi, Neymar, and Suarez. Luis Enrique have them in fine form and that should be enough to get them to Berlin and even more.