UEFA Champions League Quarter-finals: Rankings
A Dusan Tadic adulation, a Cristiano Ronaldo machination, a Mancunian act of annihilation, a Bavarian humiliation, a Leo Messi mesmerisation, a VAR-infused Parisian capitulation, a Dortmund trepidation, and a Portuguese redemption after, sixteen has become eight.
This season’s Champions League first knockout round was probably the most thrilling in a decade, in terms of the football and the results; mountains were climbed, collapses were found and VAR was discussed.
Now, with the draw for the last eight coming up, here’s our power rankings ahead of the quarter-final pairings:
Porto needed extra-time to see off Roma in the last round, after losing the first leg in Rome. The Portuguese side are probably the team everyone else wants to meet in this round.
Last quarter final appearance: 2015 (lost 7-4 on aggregate to Bayern Munich)
The Dutch side have had an impressive tournament so far, negotiating the group stage with relative ease, and topping that with the last 16 masterpiece they delivered at the Bernabeu. They are still outsiders, though, but pulling off a quarter-final success would really place them as dark horses, and in Dusan Tadic, they have a man who seems unplayable in this competition.
Last quarter-final appearance: 2003 (lost 3-2 on aggregate to AC Milan)
FT: Dortmund 0-1 Spurs.— Coral (@Coral) March 5, 2019
Spurs are through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time in 8 years 🙌🙌 pic.twitter.com/UFBYKYdY2S
Spurs pulled off a mini-great escape in the group stage, qualifying despite having just one point from their first three games. The last 16 was much more straightforward, doing the double over Borussia Dortmund (for the second season in a row) to book only a second ever quarter-final spot. But having a thin squad looks to be catching up with Mauricio Pochettino and his side, with their league form having deteriorated of late.
Last quarter-final appearance: 2011 (lost 5-0 on aggregate to Real Madrid)
5. Manchester United
When the draw for the last 16 was made in December, United looked set for an exit, and even a managerial change didn’t prevent 2-0 loss at home to Paris St. Germain. But the Red Devils pulled off a miracle in Paris, and things have been on the up under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, even if their latest game was a league defeat. United rode their luck against PSG, though, and despite the feel-good factor coursing through the red part of Manchester right now, are they really strong enough against the fellow big guns?
Last quarter-final appearance: 2014 (lost 4-2 on aggregate to Bayern Munich)
Liverpool pulled off an escape in the group stage, beating Napoli in a must-win group game in December, and they had a magical night in beating Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, the first side in the Champions League not called Real Madrid to do so since 2013. The Reds have it good on both the domestic and continental front, but the thirst to end that long league title drought has started to make things edgy and less fluid on the pitch.
Last quarter-final appearance: last season (beat Manchester City 5-1 on aggregate)
Read also: Seedorf tips Liverpool for UCL glory
Barcelona saw off Lyon in the last round, to reach a 12th successive quarter-final. Skipper and talisman Lionel Messi began the season with a rallying cry over the importance of winning the Champions League for the first time in four years, and Ernesto Valverde’s side are capable, but they haven’t gone past the last eight in any of the previous three seasons.
Last quarter-final appearance: last season (lost to Roma on away goals after 4-4 aggregate draw)
2. Manchester City
Biggest margin victory in a single leg in CL history:— Superbia Proelia (@SuperbiaProeIia) March 13, 2019
– Man City 7-0 Schalke 04
– Bayern Munich 7-0 Basel
– Bayern Munich 7-0 Shakthar
Biggest margin victory in the CL over two legs:
– Bayern Munich 12-1 Sporting CP
– Man City 10 – 2 Schalke 04
Record tumble! pic.twitter.com/hZz8xBqdP2
Manchester City scored seven against Schalke on Tuesday, and the fact that they didn’t have to be at their best to do that suggests how good they are. But there’s pressure on City to be European champions, and manager Pep Guardiola has tried to alleviate that by describing the side as ‘teenagers’ in this competition.
Last quarter-final appearance: last season (lost 5-1 on aggregate to Liverpool)
The Old Lady looked on the cusp of elimination after losing the first leg of their last 16 tie against Atletico Madrid. But a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired comeback saw them advance to the quarter-finals. The Portuguese scored a hat-trick against Atleti, and with him in the side, Max Allegri’s team have the most potent weapon in this competition, as they bid for that first Champions League crown since 1996.
Last quarter-final appearance: last season (lost 4-3 on aggregate to Real Madrid)