Who will win the 2019/20 Champions League? UEFA have already taken the step to postpone the final set to be held in May. However, with the holders Liverpool knocked out already at the hands of Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, we have decided to take a look at some of the sides still left in the competition and who is best equipped to lift the trophy.
Bayern Munich hasn’t reached a final since the 2013 Der Klassiker showpiece at Wembley Stadium. Memorably, it was Arjen Robben who was the hero that night, as he fumbled home the winner for the Bavarians at the expense of Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund.
With Robben, Ribery, Lahm all long gone from the side, and the likes of Boateng, Muller and even Neuer’s stars are seemingly on the wane, Bayern is having to rely on a blend of youth and experience which for Hansi Flick, is reaping dividends.
Serge Gnabry has undeniably been the star of Bayern’s Champions League campaign so far, with his 4 goal haul against Tottenham in London looking particularly ominous. If you sprinkle the athleticism of Kinglsey Coman and Tik Tok’s Alphone Davies running rampant down their left-hand side, dovetail it with the timely return of Leon Goretzka add in Robert Lewandowski, who has been in sensational form notching 33 goals in all competitions, you’ll end up with something that resembles a Champions League favourite.
The ‘actual’ favourites still left in the competition are Manchester City, who at the time of writing are holding an impressive 2-1 victory over Real Madrid, with the second leg of their last 16 tie at the Etihad still to come.
With the impending European ban for breaking FFP rules still very much dangling over City’s figurative heads, there are quiet murmurings amongst fans that the stars could align for them this season to create a winning finale (and subsequent UEFA headache) to deliver some irony only football knows how.
Largely victims of their own success, Manchester City aren’t achieving the same lofty heights in the Premier League as they were last season. Pep Guardiola’s men have been relentless domestically for the best part of three years and with the League all but gone, The Champions League will become Guardiola’s raison d’etre.
There will be some assurance that the teams who have knocked them out in the last two years in Liverpool and Tottenham have themselves fallen out of the competition, but Pep will instead draw on the form of Kevin De Bruyne who has 9 goals and approaching 20 assists in all competitions this season. On the other hand, the form of Raheem Sterling has raised a few question marks with the Englishman not having scored a goal since the 27th December 2019.
Nevertheless with Aguero, Jesus, Mahrez and a returning Leroy Sane; for this season at least, things are looking up for City.
Paris Saint Germain
When Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Braut Haaland scored his second goal against PSG to make it 2-1 in the first leg of the last 16 tie, one couldn’t help but feel the Parisian fan base’s collective sigh.
Unlike in previous eliminations, Neymar wasn’t injured this time, the Brazilian super stage was playing and crucially scoring. This was always going to be a contest with plenty of goals, two sides blessed with supreme attacking talent yet possessing vulnerable defences.
Thomas Tuchel ensured the second leg wouldn’t go about like the first – he changed from his 3-4-3 formation to a more narrow, 4-2-2-2 with Edinson Cavani making way for Mbappe and Spaniard Pablo Sarabia coming into the side. The change was inspired as it helped shut out the German’s midfield supply to Haaland, Sancho and Thorgan Hazard and helped bring about a confidence-boosting turnaround. Which was quickly followed up with passionate celebrations with the Ultra's outside the Parc des Princes.
PSG operate at their best when they’re confidence is high, and there is no hiding from the fact that the ignominy they’ve had to face at the collapses to Manchester United and Barcelona in years gone by is still just beneath the surface. With a tactically flexible coach in Thomas Tuchel, a fit Neymar and a little bit of confidence (the taunting of Haaland put aside), this PSG side can go far in the competition.