Most football supporters know that one should never take anything for granted when it comes to the beautiful game. Bayern Munich has one more game to play in the round of 16 but due to the unique situation the world has found themselves in, the Champions League quarter-final and semi-final draws were made this morning.
If Bayern eliminates Chelsea, they will face either FC Barcelona or Napoli in the quarters. If Hansi Flick men reach the semi-final they will face one out of four teams: Manchester City, Real Madrid, Juventus, or Napoli.
So, what does this mean for Bayern? Is the potential road to the final doable or are there too many obstacles? We decided to read the mood amongst BFW contributors by asking them two questions:
1. How do you feel about Bayern’s draw?
Marcus Iredahl: A difficult draw for Bayern. The fact that only one from Bayern, Juventus, Manchester City, and Real Madrid can reach the final speaks volumes. Bayern can, on their day, win against any team in the world, but this is a tough draw.
While I am not sure Barcelona will eliminate Napoli from the tournament, playing either team would be a tough task. Under Gennaro Gattuso, Napoli has played well and looks very solid defensively. Barcelona has not impressed under Quique Setien but has many players who can single-handedly decide football games.
A potential semi-final can very well be against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, or the Champions League’s record-holders. That’s as tough as it gets, but the other teams will feel the same.
Fergus: I agree that Bayern has drawn the short straw here. All four of the tournament favorites are in Bayern’s bracket, and it will be very tough for the team to advance past Barcelona and Manchester City or Real Madrid. However, to be the best, you must beat the best, and I believe we still should go into every match with a favorites tag. All I know is that every potential match will be an exhilarating fest of entertaining football. I can’t wait.
John Dillon: I feel pretty good about the draw. Presuming Bayern dispatches Chelsea, Bayern is a stronger team than either Barca or Napoli. Barca is a mess this season, and I think Bayern can beat Napoli. Past that, I’d rather face City than Real Madrid. I’m so sick of Real Madrid.
Novaburgher: I also am feeling pretty good about our draw for the next round of the Champions League. Not that we should look past our next match with Chelsea, but looking beyond it, I’m not that scared of Barca or Napoli. If I had a preference, it would be Napoli, but Barca is beatable this year.
Schnitzel01: I feel cautiously optimistic about the quarter-final draw. Assuming Barca beat Napoli at home in the second leg of the Ro16, we’ll face Barcelona in the QF, provided that we beat Chelsea. Sure, Barcelona is not at their best at the moment, but there’s always a level of uncertainty revolving the form of both teams after a month. Also, Messi. Bayern will have their work cut out for them, but I think we’ll be up to the task.
Regarding the semis: If we qualify, I predict we’ll face Real Madrid/City. That would be one hell of a match-up, and a nervy one at that. I’m not too pleased about this fixture, but you have to beat them all to win it all.
Teddy Son: Honestly, I’m a bit indifferent about the draw. For one thing, we’re not even in the quarterfinals yet, so this is a match-up that may or may not exist come August. Assuming we advance, however, that wouldn’t make me more or less nervous. Both Barcelona and Napoli are formidable opponents. I know they may not be having the best season right now, but they are teams that can easily inflict heavy damage on whoever they play, especially when it’s a one-off game like this. It’ll be exciting, whoever comes up. Again, though let’s get to the quarterfinals and go from there.
2. Who do you think will play in the final?
Marcus Iredahl: Manchester City versus Atletico. I think this one-game format will benefit Diego Simeone’s men and their tactical style. And I believe Manchester City and Pep Guardiola will be extra motivated to succeed in Europe this year — plus they have looked good since the Premier League restart.
Teddy Son: I think Atletico has a decent shot of going all the way. They face an inexperienced Leipzig in the quarterfinals (without Timo Werner as well), and I can’t see either Atalanta or PSG getting past that Atletico defense easily. As for the other side of the bracket, well, it’s even harder, considering there are eight teams to choose from rather than four.
But you know what, I’m going to put us in the final. Our form is the very best in Europe at the moment, and although we might be a bit rusty coming off a month of rest, I have faith in Hansi Flick and his men. Flick also knows how to navigate these one-off tournaments, having assisted Germany’s World Cup win in 2014, not to mention lead his team to a DFB-Pokal triumph just last week. I’m not overly optimistic, but a guy can dream, right? We shall see.
Fergus: I still think Bayern have the best chance in their bracket. And, on the other side of the draw, I think dark horses (or should I say Lawnballers?) RB Leipzig will be the other team in the final. An all-German final? Yes, and what a thrilling match this would be. It went well in 2013...
John Dillon: Nah, PSG is the overwhelming favorite on the other side of the bracket. It’s their spot in the final to lose, so to speak. On paper, it should be the Bayern or Manchester City who faces them. I think Bayern can beat City this season. Defense wins championships, as Boateng recently quipped. Hopefully, that is just what Bayern does and then does again to PSG. But in a knockout format, anything can happen.
Novaburgher: If we should reach the final, my prediction is that we will face PSG. The thought of a Champions League final with Atletico is just too much to even think about, whereas a final against the Parisians would be a wild 90 minute free for all. The road to get there, however, is brutal. A possible date with Manchester City looms, and with them facing a 2-year ban on UEFA competitions, this could be there last shot at Champions League glory.
Schnitzel01: I think the finals will be a glamorous affair of Bayern vs PSG, good management vs wealth, Davies vs Mbappe, Kalle vs Khelaifi, Flick vs Tuchel.
How do you, our BFW community, feel about the draw? What are your predictions?