The Champions League knockout stage with the Europa League returns this month. The first place is the remaining matches of the round of 16 in two tournaments. To ensure fairness, teams that have to kick away the first leg can still play at home in this round.
The remaining knockout stages of the Champions League and Europa League promise to be as attractive and unpredictable as a Euro final. But from the quarterfinals onwards, all matches will take place only in one turn, in one location.
With the Champions League in Lisbon (Portugal), and the Europa League in four German cities (Cologne, Duisburg, Düsseldorf and Gelsenkirchen).
It really is no different from a miniature Euro finals, the difference is just the club level instead of the national team level. This form of competition is very much determining the nature of the championship race.
Specifically, if the Euro finals also took place with the first and second leg format, Greece might not have been able to win the championship in 2004. And Portugal was also difficult to come to the throne in 2016.
These are all champions that have been underestimated since the beginning of the tournament. But then they are still crowned thanks to the reasonable strategy of each match plus the element of luck. However, this season, Leipzig and Atalanta are facing the opportunity to make earthquakes.
Choosing Lisbon to host the Champions League creates place equality for all teams as there are currently no Portuguese representatives. The first two pairs have also been determined: Atalanta – PSG, Leipzig – Atletico.
Many people predict Atalanta’s stormy attack style will be broken before PSG is also strong in attack and richer in quality. But PSG will be without superstar Kylian Mbappe due to a serious injury.
With Leipzig, they had a lot more difficulties because they lost key striker Timo Werner – who refused to play in the rest of the tournament because he wanted to go to Chelsea soon.
But anyway, a defensive counter-attacking team like Leipzig doesn’t need super strikers to win a knockout match.