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Eight things to know about the Champions League quarterfinals

by Joshua Doering

It took nearly six months to complete the Champions League’s round of 16 due to the coronavirus, but the quarterfinals are now set. Atalanta and PSG kick things off on Aug. 12, followed by RB Leipzig and Atletico Madrid on Aug. 13, Barcelona and Bayern Munich on Aug. 14 and Manchester City and Lyon on Aug. 15. 

The quarterfinals will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, and be a single game rather than the usual two-leg system as a safety precaution. In honor of the eight quarterfinalists, here are eight things to know about the quarterfinal stage of the 2019-20 Champions League.

1. Two teams — RB Leipzig and Atalanta — are in the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time in their history. Three of the eight teams remaining — Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid — have reached a European Cup final before. Only Bayern and Barcelona have been crowned champions of Europe, though they have done so a combined 10 times.

2. Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski has 13 goals in the Champions League this season, seven more than any other player in the quarterfinals. Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Memphis Depay (Lyon) and Serge Gnabry (Bayern) all have six goals so far.

3. Barcelona reached the quarterfinals of the competition for the 13th consecutive season. The second-longest active streak is Manchester City with three straight quarterfinal appearances. 

4. One of this season’s biggest surprises was Atalanta, who scored 98 goals in 38 Serie A matches (2.58 per game), 17 more than any other team in Italy’s top flight. Only Bayern (100) and Manchester City (102) produced more goals in Europe’s top six leagues. PSG, Atalanta’s opponent in the quarterfinals, averaged 2.77 goals per game before Ligue 1 shut down.

5. Both PSG and Atalanta are dealing with significant injury concerns. Atlanta is likely going to be without the club’s leading goalscorer this season, Josep Iličić, who hasn’t played since July 11. It appears PSG’s Kylian Mbappé’s ankle is healing quicker than expected, and he is now expected to feature in the game. Marco Verratti was injured during training last week but is also expected to play some part. Atalanta is certainly preparing as if both attackers will be involved. 

6. While PSG’s Ángel Di María is suspended for the quarterfinals, Barcelona get midfielders Sergio Bosquets and Arturo Vidal back after they were banned from the second leg against Napoli. Barcelona is still going to be without defender Samuel Umtiti and winger Ousmane Dembele barring something unforeseen. Manchester City is likely to be without striker Sergio Agüero for the remainder of the tournament as well. 

7. Four of the last six Champions League winners did not win their domestic league. Two of the eight teams remaining — Bayern and PSG — were league champions this season. The trend continues if any of the other six clubs win. 

8. This is just the second time in six seasons three different leagues have multiple representatives in the quarterfinals. Spain (Barcelona and Atletico Madrid), Germany (Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig) and France (PSG and Lyon) all had two teams advance past the round of 16. The last time this occurred was 2017-18, when no country was able to send two teams to the semis.

Photo by Football.ua / Wikimedia Commons

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