On March 11, 2020, just as most college and professional sports leagues, the final games of the UEFA Champions League were played before coming to an abrupt halt. Fans were able to enjoy only three quarters of the Round of 16 before the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. Now, nearly five months later, Champions League football returns with eight electrifying matches!
The Champions League restart kicks off on Friday, August 7, 2020 at 2:00PM (CST) with Manchester City (2-1) and Juventus vs Lyon (0-1), followed up on Saturday, August 8, 2020 at 2:00PM (CST) with Barcelona vs Napoli (1-1) and Bayern vs Chelsea (3-0). Here are previews and predictions for each upcoming match:
Friday, August 7, 2020
Manchester City vs Real Madrid First Leg Score: (2-1)
Man. City were able to score two away goals in the first leg, allowing them to steal the win in this world class matchup. Real Madrid should have Eden Hazard for this match but will be without Sergio Ramos in the second leg due to a red card in the final minutes of the previous match, leaving Madrid without one of the best and most clutch Champions League players of all time. Éder Militão will take Ramos’ place but, as stated before, he has big shoes to fill. The relentless attack on and off the bench from City is tough for anyone to stop and someone like Gareth Bale could help Madrid pull back the lead, but that’s a story for another day. Manchester City will be looking to dominate this match after missing out on the Premier League title by a large margin, and expect them to do just that.
Prediction: Man. City 3 Real Madrid 1 Agg. (5-2)
Juventus vs Lyon First Leg Score: (0-1)
After dominating the stat sheet but ultimately coming up short in the first leg, Juventus will look to prove their superiority in a home match against Lyon. It will take Juventus two goals to move onto the quarterfinals, and with Dybala doubtful for this match, that may prove to be difficult even with Champions League all-time top goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo up top. The lone first leg goal scorer, Lucas Tousart, is not with the team anymore, and if the first leg was any indication, Lyon striker Memphis Depay will have a tough time getting real scoring opportunities against the reliable Juventus defense. If Lyon are able to hold on to a draw or pull out the win in this match, it may be Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanić’s last game with Juventus before moving to fellow Champions League team: Barcelona. At the end of the day Juventus is through-and-through the better team and it is unlikely we’ll see a repeat of the first leg.
Prediction: Juventus 2 Lyon 0 Agg. (2-1)
Saturday, August 8, 2020
Barcelona vs Napoli First Leg Score: (1-1)
Barcelona dominated possession in the first leg and will look to do the same in the second, albeit with a very different lineup. Barcelona will be missing a handful of key players this match with Busquets (suspended), Vidal (suspended), Dembélé (fitness), and Umtiti (knee) all being ruled out. On the other hand, Kalidou Koulibaly, one of the best defenders in the world, will be back to anchor Napoli’s defense after missing the first leg match with a hamstring injury. Missing key players from every part of the pitch may make it difficult for Barcelona to pull out the win, but with an away goal in their favor and Messi on the pitch they are never out of contention.
Prediction: Barcelona 2 Napoli 1 Agg. (3-2)
Bayern vs Chelsea First Leg Score: (3-0)
This match is already over. Bayern has the three away goal advantage and Chelsea has seven players ruled out for the match. This should be a cakewalk for Bayern as they look to return back to the glory of 2012-2013, while Chelsea will wait until next year to make a real run at the Champions League title. Not to mention Bayern has 2019-2020 Champions League top goalscorer Robert Lewandowski leading the attack.
Prediction: Bayern 3 Chelsea 0 Agg. (6-0)