Champions League: Last 8 Analysis
With Liverpool winning the second leg of their First Knockout Round tie against Internazionale last night, we now know the line-up for the quarter finals of this season's Champions League. It is:
Manchester United (ENG)
Schalke 04 (GER)
No prizes for spotting that for the first time in Champions League history, one country (England) has four teams representing it in the last eight. Reason to celebrate and rejoice if you're English, then, but one is reminded that even with three teams in the last four in 2006/07, England did not provide the eventual winners of the competition.
Still, it's a great achievement and one that English football fans should be proud of, but of the other four teams that remain this season, can any of them stop an English team lifting the trophy?
First of all there's Schalke 04
who finished runners-up to Chelsea
in Group B of the First Round and couldn't beat them in either of their two games. At Stamford Bridge, the Germans lost 2-0 while a 0-0 draw in the return match left us in no doubt who the better of the two sides were there. Schalke also lost to Valencia in the same group, so perhaps the English sides have nothing to fear on that frontRoma
were second only to Man United
in First Round Group F, and though they avoided another 7-1 thrashing like the one they endured last season, they still lost 1-0 at Old Trafford and 0-0 in Rome. The Italians have been a tough team to beat in the earlier stages and could well scupper one of the English teams' hopes.Fenerbahçe
were the runners-up in Group G behind Inter, but if they have a weakness it's their away form. Despite winning all three of their home ties, away from Turkey they could only draw two and lose the other. Good for only one leg of their quarter-final match, perhaps? We shall see…
Finally there's Barcelona
, and there's not much to tell you about them that you don't already know. They finished Group E unbeaten with four wins and two draws, and they fair old steamrollered through Stuttgart, Rangers and Lyon. Winners of the Champions League in 2006, their hopes of regaining the title last year were undone by Liverpool in the first knockout round, so perhaps The Reds will fancy their chances again this season?
Let's wait and see. For now we can only lick our lips at the prospect of some of the English teams meeting each other before or during the Final, but a game against Barcelona somewhere between now and May could be just as mouthwatering.
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