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My Dream Champions League Quarterfinals Draw

180px UEFA Champions League logo 2 svg My Dream Champions League Quarterfinals Draw

The real Champions League draw for the quarterfinals, semifinals, and final will take place tomorrow in Nyon, Switzerland, and for the first time in the competition, teams from the same group or country can be paired against each other. It’s likely that we’ll get a few duds and also a few exciting ties; that’s just how it usually turns out. UEFA says that these draws are random, which I’m not necessarily questioning, but it seems like the same teams are always drawn against each other and things have appeared a little fishy at times…

For now though, he’s my dream draw for the next round of the Champions League:

1. Arsenal-Fenerbahçe: Both teams play an attacking style and are capable of scoring multiple goals in any given game, something that can’t be said about every team left at this stage in the competition. I’d be interested to see how Arsenal handles the raucous crowd in Istanbul, which is a different beast altogether than than the one they encountered at the San Siro last week. I don’t doubt that the Gunners would go through in this tie, but Fenerbahçe would certainly give them a good game in Turkey and both legs would have goals in them. The winner of this tie would go on to face the winner of…

2. Manchester United-Roma: A rematch of last year’s quarterfinal which Manchester United won 8-3 on aggregate, using a 7-1 thrashing at Old Trafford to overcome a 2-1 deficit from the first leg. This is a different Roma team though, and their leader, Francesco Totti, is playing out of his mind right now, and Manchester United looked pretty shaky at times against Lyon in both legs of their Round of 16 encounter. Would Roma have the firepower to overcome United? I’m not sure, and a lot would depend on how Totti performs.
 

3. Chelsea vs. Barcelona: The Special One, Mr. Mourinho, would look at this tie with special interest as his old club, Chelsea, takes on his possible new club, Barcelona. It would certainly be a contrast of styles as the Premiership side doesn’t exactly play a visually stunning brand of soccer, and Barcelona has four or five players who seem like they can score almost at will. This competition is likely the last chance for real silverware for both teams, and that sense of desperation would liven this tie up quite nicely. The winner of this tie would play the winner of…

4. Liverpool vs. Schalke: Ok, I’ll admit, this isn’t a dream pairing, but these are the only two teams left. Ideally, I’d like to see Liverpool play another English team in this round and have Schalke play Fenerbahçe so that one of the two underdogs could reach the semifinal, but I’d more rather see Fenerbahçe and all the English teams play the opponents I already talked about. The bonus? Well, Liverpool would likely win this tie and then the ensuing semifinal against either Chelsea or Barcelona would be quality.

Schalke are currently in 5th place in the Bundesliga and need to finish in 3rd to get back into the Champions League. Places 2-7 are separated by only seven points, so it brings up a dilemma for the German side: Do they want to go for it all in the CL this year and risk tiring out their players for the stretch run of the season, or do they want to kind of mail it in right now and put all of their efforts into simply getting back into Europe’s top club competition?

As I said previously, the real draw will be conducted early tomorrow morning here on the East Coast. I’ll be in class until 10 but should have brief capsules for each tie before noon.


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