Sevilla vs Dortmund
Bryan Sevilla 4-2
Osahon Sevilla 4-3
The reigning Europa League Champions have managed to make it into the round of 16 despite some early season troubles. As of now Sevilla are a team that still present a strength on the defensive and pose a huge threat on the counter, especially with adding Atalanta’s Papu Gomez in the January Window. Sevilla will look to add some goals, which they didn’t exactly need to win the Europa League a year ago, but will need to progress in the Champions League.
With Dortmund struggling since the Axel Witsel knee injury it’s clear that despite Dortmund’s great talent in the attack with Sancho, Brandt, Haaland, and Reus that’s it’s not enough to combat their defensive deficiencies and Roman Burki’s mistakes at the GK position. If Dortmund’s youth were able to have weathered the storm Lucien Favre wouldn’t have been relieved of his duties during the midst of a season. They hired Marco Rose from Gladbach, and he’ll be the coach on July 1st!
Osahon and I both predicted a Sevilla victory in the recent podcast The Final 16, and the reason was simply routed in Dortmund’s dip in form and with a caretaker (interim) manager still in charge for the remainder of the season, it’s uncertain how BVB will bounce back, scary considering how they looked in the second half of that RB Leipzig Bundesliga match-up in November in comparison to now is quite shocking, but some of Europe’s remaining teams have really struggled in form this winter.
RB Leipzig vs Liverpool
Bryan RB Leipzig 3-1
Osa RB Leipzig 5-3
RB Leipzig have remained consistent in keeping pace with Bundesliga juggarnauts Bayern Munich in spite of losing CB Dayot Upamacano with a release clause in his contract set for this summer at €43.5 million. In the meantime, they are still showing they have the depth and the talent to play with just about anyone in the past two seasons as they reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. Expect Dani Olmo, Marcel Sabitzer, Christopher Nkunku, and Angelino to create chances to score as the defense stiffens up in comparison to the group stages.
Like his former employer Borussia Dortmund, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool are in a slide of far underwhelming performances including bad losses to Leicester City and Manchester City in poor second half collapses. If Liverpool wants to turn it around, they might need a bit of good fortune as Kabak integrates into the team and they hopefully can place Fabinho and Henderson in the midfield soon, this will help Thiago and the front three.
Osahon and I didn’t have any disagreement on this matchup. I beleive RB will play two high tempo counter attack centric games in a 3-1 win, not that I’m biased as an RB fan myself, Osahon predicted a 5-3 win based on the lack of faith in Liverpool at the moment.
Bayern Munich vs Lazio
Bryan 4-2 Bayern
Osahon 3-2 Bayern
Bayern Munich are still the Champions of Europe, they’re still the leaders in Germany after years of dominating domestically. I don’t see that changing in the near distant future. I mentioned already that they’ve signed Leipzig CB Dayot Upamacano, that’s for next year, in the present they still have Sane, Lewandowski, Gnabry in the attack as well as David Alaba and the defense, even a 1-0 win over Tigres in the Club World Cup. They’re winning and outside of Atletico, they’re just better right now.
Lazio are a fun team, they have prominent goal scorer Ciro Immobile as well as Sergej Milenkovic-Savic in the midfield that are high profile players for the Roman outfit. Outside of losses to AC Milan in December, Atalanta in the Italian Cup, and Inter Milan today, they’ve been in excellent form, Inzaghi will hope for a big Joaquin Correa performance in these legs.
Overall I believe Bayern are the better team and so does Osahon. Lazio could easily provide spark on the counter but hypothetically Bayern are a well oiled machine, and that could be determine the matchup especially while Lazio hope to maintain top 4 in an uber-competitive Serie A, while Bayern may have enough breathing room in Bundesliga to rest starters.
FC Porto vs Juventus
Bryan Porto 2-1
Osa Juve 3-2
Now family allegiances aside, as someone who’s grandparents are Sporting fans and distant cousins as Benfica fans, this is going to be hard for them. Eu sinto muito to my Lisbon folks but Porto have advanced to the Knockout rounds after Benfica’s disaster of a season, and Sporting the only team better than them domestically at the moment, Sergio Concecaio has his chippy and gritty squad ready for battle. With a blend of familiar faces like Jesus Corona, Chance Mbemba, Pepe, and Mehdi Taremi and new faces like Joao Mario (not that Joao), Fabio Vieira, Zaidu Sanusi have gotten them this far. Cristiano Ronaldo was a Sporting product, so if anything, this should be personal, I mean it’s not like he hasn’t broken the hearts of Porto fans before in the Champions League…
As for Juventus, I remember when people were ready to crown them last season before their round of 16 exit, and look what happened. But credit to Pirlo, he’s been getting his feet wet with a roster that is a bit old and young, with names like Ronaldo, Dybala, Bentacur, and Handonovic to Kulusevski and Chiesa. However they shape vs Porto, Juve will most certainly have a more talented and creative side, but Juve’s struggles with their recent defeats to Inter and Napoli, two sides who play physical like Porto do could spell for a tough two legs. Juve will need Ronaldo to be in top form as well as their maintained defensive play recently. If the attack can spring to life, Juve could control both legs handily.
Osahon was more confident in Juve than I am, well it could be an extra time or PK finish, because the recent form of both teams. Porto’s veterans vs. Juve’s veterans will be the determining matchup and although I see a 2-1 upset, Osahon foresees Ronaldo magic returning in North Portugal or wherever they decide to play. Porto have never defeated the Old Lady in competitive play, but Porto held strong with Man City, Olympiakos, and Marseilles in their group.
Atletico Madrid vs. Chelsea
Bryan Atleti 3-1
Osa Atleti 4-1
Diego Simeone deserves a sincere and heartfelt apology from the Reformed Hooligans podcast, we were as hard on Diego as Roy Keane is on Kyle Walker and Micah Richards on Sky Sports, and the David Beckham jokes aside, Atleti are the best team in Europe right now. It’s crazy to think about but Luis Suarez’s great form this season has helped aid Angel Correa, Marcos Llorente, and record transfer Joao Felix, and thus explains the 1st place standing in the La Liga table despite Real Madrid and Barcelona struggling this season amongst the massive amounts of draws Villareal and Sevilla have resulted in. Against Chelsea, I’d presume they can count on their usual stout defense and with Moussa Dembele, they’re protected in any Suarez injury. They’re far better than Chelsea right now.
Chelsea have been the talk of the program and that’s not just cause Osahon is a Man U fan and we just choose to clown Chelsea, they’re simply just positioned to be victim to clowning… Thomas Tuchel is still getting situated and figuring out his best side, similar to what Frank Lampard dealt with, however, Tuchel won’t have much time as their title chances in England out of reach and a poor matchup for the Blues, this is the worst time for them to play Atleti.
Both of us chose Atleti, not much else to talk about here, one side is playing at their best in a long time, and the other continues to look like a team that may have spent a lot of money on new talent, but the talent just doesn’t fit. #FreeHavertz. Unless Werner plays like he did last year against Atleti (vs RB Leipzig last summer), they’re toast.
Real Madrid vs. Atalanta
Osahon and Bryan Atalanta 5-3
Zinedine Zidane is a hard figure to explain with Real Madrid, especially between two stints, the first of which he won three consecutive Champions Leagues behind Ronaldo, Bale, Marcelo, Modric, Kroos, and Ramos. Despite winning La Liga last season, they’ve been underwhelming and despite recent form, everyone seems to be down on Real Madrid at the moment. After everything that’s gone wrong with Eden Hazard and the lack of progress of the young stars like Odegaard and Vinicius, or the falling out of guys like Isco and Gareth Bale. Regardless there’s a lot of clutter and alot of $$ to be moved at Madrid, in this matchup with Atalanta they’ll need to be more positive or less they’ll be beaten on the counter.
Atalanta have been one of the entertaining squads to watch in all of sports, yes, ALL SPORTS, Gasparini may have lost Gomez to Sevilla, as previously mentioned, but they’ve held their own. This includes a big win over AC Milan earlier in the month where they won 3-0, despite losing to Lazio 3-1 eight days later. For Atalanta, scoring goals is the name of the game, Gosens, Miranchuk, Ilicic will be sure to feature for their lineup alongside Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel. I’m also excited to see if Ukrainian AM Viktor Kovalenko will feature prominently by the second leg, he was acquired on Jan 29th.
Osahon and I both expect a flurry of goals, Madrid may find their confidence but neither of us see it, even an Eden Hazard return gives me some major ?s as to how they’ll perform. All it takes is one counter for Atalanta to get on the scoresheet and if Real aren’t ready, they’ll get bombarded, and there’s proof of that in their Champions League run over the previous summer.
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Manchester City
Bryan Man City 7-2
Osahon Man City 5-2
Borussia Mönchengladbach will be losing HC Marco Rose to Borussia Dortmund and although they’re not in the top 4 in Germany, they’re in the midst of a battle for 3rd in Bundesliga with Wolfsburg, Dortmund, Leverkusen among others are fighting for those places. With players like Marcus Thuram, Denis Zakaria, Lars Stindl, Mattias Ginter, Breel Embolo, and Yan Sommer they have the talent to merit a place to this stage. However their away form is concerning and on average give up 1/3 of a goal more than they did last season.
For Manchester City, they may not have looked too great against Porto, but keep in mind City have been in superb form domestically and I believe their win over Liverpool will be seen as a huge catalyst for their potential Premier League title season. In the meantime, they’ll miss Kevin De Bruyne for at least the first leg, but with Phil Foden proving to be the best young talent in the Premier League has saved City a bunch as well as the reemergence of John Stones.
Man City are en route to victory imo, unlike Lyon where they had class all over the field, I feel as if Gladbach don’t have enough to combat City’s attack as well as keeping pace in Germany, even if City had to use Silva, Mahrez, or Sterling as a false 9 they could put 5 to 7 goals like Osahon and I have predicted. The key to the game will be Gladbach’s defense, can they force pressure to City’s possession?
Barcelona vs. Paris Saint Germain
Bryan Barca 3-2
Osahon Barca 4-3
When we look back at the 2020-21 Barcelona season, we will look back at the Lionel Messi saga with the leaked contract, the debt crisis, the Luis Suarez release, and the emergence of Francisco Trincao and Pedri. Despite all that has gone wrong, Barcelona are still in the thick of things and could very well be on the rebound. Now, that’s not to say Messi and company can replicate what Spurs and Munich have done and reach the Champions League final despite inconsistent domestic play, but Messi is still Messi and that’s the advantage Barcelona will have.
Paris Saint Germain have some injury woes with Neymar and they’d be okay without him if they had a different matchup, like a Gladbach, a Porto, or Chelsea. But they’re dealing with Barcelona that have jumped to 3rd in La Liga with a game in hand to Classico rivals Real Madrid. For PSG, Poch is still a new manager after the ousting of Thomas Tuchel, this will be a far greater test for Poch than playing Marseille, Monaco, or Nice.
Obviously their first matchup since the 2nd half collapse which ended on a Sergio Roberto goal in stoppage time to jump ahead on aggregate, and for PSG’s hierarchy will have this nightmare in mind as they watch. With expectations sky high for both these teams, I’m sure losing this two-leg matchup will sway the narrative for one of these two sides. We are both siding with Barca because of their better form and Neymar’s injury woes having a big potential impact.
RB Leipzig RB Leipzig
Bayern Munich Bayern Munich
FC Porto Juventus
Atletico Madrid Atletico Madrid
Manchester City Manchester City