Tuesday afternoon at 3 PM Eastern time, four of Europe’s best soccer teams are going to compete in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League to qualify for the quarterfinals of the contest.
FC Liverpool will be hosting the first leg battle versus FC Bayern Munich (FCB) at Anfield Road. In the Premier League, the Reds were leading the table for many weeks. Currently, they are on the second spot sharing equal points with Manchester City due to the fact that they are one game behind. The last game day, Liverpool took over Bournemouth FC 3:0. The Reds lost the final of the Champions League to Real Madrid in the previous year with 1:3. For the German team manager Jürgen Klopp, it was already the second loss in the final of Europe’s highest soccer competition after 2013. That time, he was coaching Borussia Dortmund (BVB) and losing to today’s rival – Fc Bayern Munich. The Reds survived a tough group on second place behind Paris St. Germain (PSG) recording three losses as well as three wins against PSG, Inter Milan, and Red Star Belgrade. Analyzing the team from Southern Germany Klopp states to Liverpool.com, “It’s a quality in all departments actually, and we have to admit that because it’s a fact, but the good thing is that we are good as well, we know that. But we don’t go in the game as a favorite or whatever.” It is going to be a hard fight between two top favorites for the title.
Opponent Bayern Munich finds itself in an unusual role in the German Bundesliga. Having won the trophy the last six years in a row, the FCB is currently just hunting the young men from Borussia Dortmund. With the 3:2 win at FC Augsburg past weekend, reducing the difference to two points, Bayern keeps catching up with the BVB, that was going into the winter break at the end of December being six points ahead. Nevertheless, Bayern Munich is always a strong candidate to conquer the Champions League title. In the group phase, the “Münchener” could claim the first spot before Ajax Amsterdam with 14 points. In seven of the last ten Champions League seasons, Bayern reached at least the semi-final and three times they made it to the Championship match, winning it in 2013 against Jürgen Klopp’s Borussia from Dortmund. Bayern coach Niko Kovac estimates the percentage for his team to qualify for the quarterfinals and kick out Liverpool in the two-lap clash as 50 to 50.
In the other game, this afternoon, FC Barcelona will be guest at Parc Olympique Lyonnais from Olympique Lyon. On Saturday, Barcelona won 1:0 against Real Valladolid. Man of the match was nobody else than Lionel Messi. The Argentinian, who got elected five times as being the best soccer player on the planet, scored in the 43rd minute from the penalty point and missed a second penalty 5 minutes before the match over. Barca is leading La Liga with seven points before Atletico Madrid. The Last La Liga loss of the Catalans dates back to November last year (3-4 against Betis Sevilla). In the Champions League, they secured the first group spot in a strong group with the Tottenham Hotspurs, Inter Milan, and PSV Eindhoven.
Olympique Lyon won four of their last matches in the French Ligue 1 conquering the third place in the ranking. On Friday, Les Gones battled down last place EA Guingamp 2:1. Frenchman Nabil Fekir scored the decisive 2:1 lead in the 35th minute. Olympique did not lose a single game in the group stage of the Champions League. In the opener, they took over group-winner Manchester City and thus, proved that they can keep up with top-teams. After that, Lyon scored a minimum of two goals in every game resulting in five consecutive draws with Schachtar Donezk, TSG Hoffenheim, and Manchester City.