Manchester City will face Lyon or Juventus in the Champions League quarter-finals if they hold on to their first-leg advantage over Real Madrid.
Between an unprecedented format, staggered dates and an incomplete table, this Champions League draw was unlike any other, on Friday 10 July in Nyon (Switzerland), at UEFA headquarters. And fate has reserved an unprecedented opponent at Paris-Saint-Germain with Atalanta Bergamo in the quarterfinals in a dry match (without return) in Lisbon, Wednesday August 12, at 9 p.m., at the opening of the final tournament of the C1.
Surprised guests of this “Final 8”, the Italians are, on paper, a rather affordable opponent for Parisians used to drawing “big fish” in recent years, like Real Madrid or FC Barcelona. If they win, PSG will face the winner of the match between the Germans in Leipzig and the Spaniards at Atlético de Madrid (August 13). What glimpse, perhaps, a first C1 final on August 23 for Parisians at the Luz stadium.
An insolent sporting success
But you shouldn’t underestimate your first opponent. For its discovery of the most prestigious of European competitions, Atalanta performs miracles with a budget closer to that of an average Ligue 1 club than to that of its rivals in the Champions League. Third in Serie A seven days before the end of the season, the Lombards live a very special season between an insolent sporting success (driven by the best attack in Italy with 85 goals scored) and a dramatic health context, the city of Lombardy being bruised by the coronavirus crisis.
Thomas Tuchel, the PSG coach, is not mistaken: “It is (a draw) complicated. Atalanta is an attacking, attacking, goal-scoring team. There are still many weeks to prepare. It’s good to know, it’s starting now. There is excitement. For his part, Antonio Percassi, the president of the Lombard club, savored. “This is something historic for Bergamo. We’re going to play against a very, very strong opponent and, for us, it’s like going to school. For Atalanta, it’s a pride to be in the bottom eight. This is also a source of pride for the city.”
Also concerned by this draw, Olympique Lyonnais is preparing for an obstacle course. If he succeeds in eliminating Juventus Turin in the round of 16 on August 7 (OL’s 1-0 victory in the first leg in Lyon), it will then be necessary to attack Manchester City or Real Madrid (on August 15 21 hours). Advantage to the English, who won 2-1 in the round of 16 go to Madrid.
The last poster, Friday August 14, will oppose the winner of Bayern Munich-Chelsea (with a clear advantage to the Germans, 3-0 winners in London in the first leg) in Naples or FC Barcelona. With a result of 1-1 in Italy, the suspense remains in this opposition.
Closed for the final Champions League tournament
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) announced on Thursday (July 9th) that its final Champions League tournament (August 12-23) will take place behind closed doors in Lisbon. UEFA does not want to take any risks in the face of the resurgence of the coronavirus in the Portuguese capital region.
“The UEFA Executive Committee has deemed it prudent to make the decision to play UEFA matches behind closed doors until further notice,” the body said in a statement, stating that the final stages of the Europa League and Women’s Champions League, scheduled for August respectively in Germany and the Spanish Basque Country, were also affected by this measure. “UEFA is monitoring the situation and will propose any total or partial lifting of these arrangements in due time,” added the European confederation, which repeatedly insisted that it did not have a “plan B” at its Lisbon Final 8.
The Champions League is scheduled to end from August 12 to 23 in two stadiums in the Portuguese capital, those of Benfica and Sporting. The quarter-finals, the semi-finals and the final are planned, each confrontation being reduced to a single dry match instead of the usual round-trip format.