It really is an unprecedented time at present, with major sporting events being postponed and cancelled around the world. Covid-19 is causing serious health and economic issues around the globe – and sport is an industry that is suffering alongside a whole host of others.
Euro 2020 has been postponed until next year, and the Olympic games are likely to follow suit, with a deadline of 4 weeks being announced for the relevant authorities to decide. Major football leagues around the world have been halted, including the Premier League, who have recently put the start date back for the second time to the 30th of April.
As expected both major European competitions have also been postponed indefinitely, with the Champions League final date being put back to June 27th – although this is likely to be reviewed over the coming weeks, as the economic impact of Coronavirus becomes clearer over the next few weeks.
Prior to its postponement, the competition was in full swing – with shock results, goals galore, and European’s elite providing a host of entertaining football. Defending champions, Liverpool, have been recently knocked out in the round of 16 by Atletico Madrid, after the Diego Simeone’s defensive tactical masterclass ensured they were able to leave Anfield with the victory they required to progress.
As a result of the Red’s downfall, Manchester City have now been installed as warm favourites for the competition – a general 3/1 with most online bookmakers in the outright markets. They head Bayern Munich at 7/2 and French champions PSG at 5/1 – both of which will fancy their chances of toppling the Citizens, whose form in the competition over the past couple of years has failed to match the optimism around the club, as well as the indicative probabilities that bookies were offering with their pricing, prior to each of the last 3 competitions kicking off.
The Champions League has already provided some stunning performances this season, so we’ve picked what we consider the best of them – will one of these sides now go on and land the trophy later this season?
PSG 3-0 REAL MADRID
Matchday one saw the blockbuster clash between European giants PSG and Real Madrid inside the Parc des Princes. This saw the French champions produce a memorable performance in winning the match 3-0. Former Real Madrid star Angel Di Maria starred for PSG, as he netted a first half brace, including a stunning strike from outside the area. 13 time Champions League winners, Real Madrid, failed to produce a single shot on target in the entire 90 minutes – a virtual unheard of, given their European pedigree. The victory was one of the stand out performances of any side in the competition to date.
TOTTENHAM 2-7 BAYERN MUNICH
Bayern Munich have quickly established themselves as one of the favourites for the competition, following a stuttering start to the current campaign and a change of manager. They finished qualification as the only side to take maximum points from their six matches played, with the stand out result being a 7-2 away victory against last season’s finalists Tottenham. This was a stunning attacking performance as former Gunner, Serge Gnabry, netted four second half goals.
ATALANTA 4-1 VALENCIA
Italian side Atalanta qualified for the competition for the first time in the club’s history, and appeared to be heading out, after losing their opening three matches. However, they produced a stunning finish to the group, and progressed through in second place behind outright favourites Manchester City. They were then drawn against Valencia and again made the underdogs, but produced an incredible attacking display to win the opening leg 4-1 at home. Atalanta also won the second leg 4-3 to progress through 8-4 on aggregate, and could be the side to continue to outplay their general 33/1 odds of outright success.
RB LEIPZIG 3-0 TOTTENHAM
Newly formed RB Leipzig continue to progress, and are pushing both Bayern Munich and Dortmund for the domestic title this season. They are progressing through the Champions League stages nicely, and almost quietly, having already made the final eight. Leipzig were drawn to take on Tottenham in the round of 16 which, on paper at least, was a difficult tie to call.
They completely dominated both legs from start to finish, progressing through 4-0 – a result that sent shockwaves around Europe’s elite. Their success at this stage was built on a second leg 3-0 home victory, which was one of the standout performances of the competition to date – a result which rubber stamps their credentials as another side who have an outside chance of landing the title this season.