For the first time in 10 seasons, 4 teams from one nation will compete in the final eight of the Champions League.
Liverpool’s victory over Bayern Munich in the final 16 means England will now present 50% of the quarter-final teams in Europe’s prime membership competitors, with Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham the different Premier League sides current.
It evokes recollections of the 2000s and the two successive seasons that England offered 4 quarter-finalists (together with six finalists in 5 years and two winners – Liverpool in 2005 and Manchester United in 2008).
But is that this season’s repeat an indication of England’s resurgence on the largest stage?
|Teams from every nation in final eight of Champions League this century|
*Year nation began offering 4 teams for Champions League
Previous Champions League dominance
England’s greatest period of the Champions League got here in the mid-2000s. In 2007-08 and 2008-09, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United all reached the quarter-finals.
At least one English crew reached 5 consecutive finals (from 2004-05 to 2008-09) – and 7 out of eight (till 2011-12), with Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea all successful and shedding at the very least one, and Arsenal additionally shedding.
The previous seven seasons have been largely fallow for English sides in the Champions League, punctuated by the odd second of success, notably Chelsea’s triumph in Munich in 2011-12 and Liverpool reaching final season’s closing.
In current years, Spain has dominated – with three La Liga sides in the final eight in every of the previous six seasons. A Spanish facet has gained every of the previous 5 Champions Leagues – Real Madrid with 4 and Barcelona with one. Seven of the previous 10 finalists have been Spanish with Atletico Madrid shedding twice.
But Real’s three-year reign is over, ended brilliantly by Ajax in the final 16 – and Barca are the solely Spanish facet left now.
The Premier League is the solely league to ever have 4 quarter-finalists, with Italy final having three in 2005-06 and Germany by no means having greater than two.
How are the English sides geared up?
English champions Manchester City are the bookmakers’ favourites to win the Champions League this season. This is the third time in 4 seasons they’ve been to the final eight, and in Pep Guardiola they’ve a two-time successful supervisor with Barcelona.
City have gained six of their eight Champions League video games this season – together with a 6-Zero win over Shakhtar Donetsk and the 7-Zero thrashing of Schalke that helped take them into the quarter-finals.
Sergio Aguero is averaging a objective each 70 minutes in the match this season, 5 objectives in 5 video games, however Guardiola admitted they have been nonetheless “teenagers in the competition” earlier than the Schalke recreation.
Liverpool are hoping to go one higher than final season after they misplaced to Real Madrid in the closing.
Since then they’ve changed error-prone goalkeeper Loris Karius with considered one of the world’s greatest keepers, Alisson, turn out to be extra strong at the again and introduced in virtually £100m value of midfielders in Fabinho and Naby Keita.
The five-time European champions have gained at essential phases this season, selecting up the 1-Zero win towards Napoli they wanted to progress from the group phases and beating Bayern Munich 3-1 in Germany after drawing the first leg at house.
Manchester United are a crew reborn underneath Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, selecting up a well-known 3-1 win at Paris St-Germain with an injury-ravaged crew to undergo on away objectives.
The 1968, 1999 and 2008 champions turned the first crew in European Cup historical past to beat a 2-Zero or higher house first-leg deficit.
Some of the lacking gamers have began to return so United must be getting stronger, and naturally Solskjaer has Champions League historical past…
Tottenham have proven good development yr on yr in Europe, going out in the group phases in 2016-17 and the final 16 final yr. But this time spherical they beat then Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund 4-Zero on combination to achieve the quarter-finals.
Spurs have proven a battling contact this season, too. They have been 12 minutes away from going out after 4 video games – however scored twice late on towards PSV to remain in the match, earlier than beating Inter Milan and drawing towards Barcelona go to by.
And they’re lastly anticipated to lastly be in their new stadium earlier than the quarter-finals.
Is there a draw back to this English success?
England supervisor Gareth Southgate believes the success of Premier League sides in the competitors this season may hinder the nationwide crew’s possibilities in June’s Nations League finals.
The Champions League closing in Madrid is simply 5 days earlier than England tackle the Netherlands in Portugal on 6 June.
“It will be a little bit like the World Cup in that players will finish at different times, so we’ll have to have some preparation here, in terms of the pre-camps,” Southgate mentioned. “It could possibly be a multitude.
“Let’s say if two of our teams made it to the Champions League closing, then we would not see them, at greatest, till the Monday earlier than we play on the Thursday.
“With the emotion of that game [Champions League final], can those players even realistically play on the Thursday night for us?”
Who stands in their approach?
After City, the subsequent two favourites are Barcelona and Juventus.
Treble-chasing Barcelona have gone out at the quarter-final stage in every of the previous three seasons however look nicely geared up to go additional, with Lionel Messi in sensational kind in their final 16 tie with Lyon, scoring twice and helping two extra in a 5-1 win.
Messi is the joint prime scorer in this season’s match with eight, and the second prime scorer in the Champions League historical past’s with 108.
The solely man who has ever scored extra – Cristiano Ronaldo – is more likely to be a serious impediment for any crew he faces in the final eight.
With his Juventus facet 2-Zero all the way down to Atletico Madrid from the first leg, he scored a hat-trick on Tuesday to take his facet into the quarter-finals. The Portuguese is attempting to win the match for a fourth consecutive yr, having gained the previous three with Real Madrid, and a sixth time total – which might be a joint document.
The different two quarter-finals are seen as outsiders, Ajax and Porto. But either side have gained the European Cup a number of instances, 4 for Ajax and two for Porto.
And Ajax put in considered one of the Champions League’s nice performances to thrash Real Madrid 4-1 at the Bernabeu in the final 16.
View from Germany & Spain
German soccer journalist Raphael Honigstein on BBC Radio 5 Live:
Three years in the past the Bundesliga was forward of the Premier League when all the outcomes and the Uefa coefficient rating however that was with Dortmund and Bayern doing nicely in the Champions League annually.
Now, Dortmund are nonetheless creating and Bayern are off their greatest after which there’s a large drop [in German football] and it is a time for soul-searching.
If you do not have the most cash in the world, you want one thing a bit bit additional – a crew spirit, techniques, or coach – and proper now we do not have that particular transformative supervisor in place and that is why the lack of power and depth under Bayern and Dortmund is proven.
Spanish soccer author Andy West:
Although solely time will inform, the failure of La Liga to supply a couple of quarter-finalist this season might be only a blip.
Real Madrid, doubtless, will come again stronger. They are anticipated to splash the money in the summer season for critical attacking expertise – Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi of Inter Milan are amongst the targets – and returnee boss Zinedine Zidane will probably be wanting to proceed his ridiculous document of by no means not successful the Champions League.
Atletico Madrid, too, will anticipate to problem once more subsequent season. Losing towards an excellent Juventus crew is hardly a shame (although they have been actually poor in the second leg), and boss Diego Simeone has the instruments at his disposal to get well from this setback – in truth, it can in all probability swimsuit him as a motivational device.
In any case, the speak of La Liga’s ‘demise’ may nicely be killed off by Barcelona, who certainly have nearly as good an opportunity as anybody of lifting the trophy if Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez keep match.