Facing Bergamo, PSG in the unknown before the final blitz of the Champions League

Atalanta Bergamo between 12 and 15 August in the quarter-finals on a match, Atlético Madrid or RB Leipzig on 18 if successful against the Lombards and zou: a final on 23 against one of the monsters that patrol the other part of the table (Bayern Munich, Manchester City, FC Barcelona…) and Paris-Saint-Germain will have accomplished its great work in the Champions League. Uh … This Friday noon, in Nyon (Switzerland), the European Football Union (UEFA) carried out behind closed doors – no representative of the clubs concerned was present – the draw for its queen competition, the Champions League .

Or rather what is left, or what we wanted to keep in view of the financial imperatives (saving a meager part of TV rights) and health since the whole of Europe, struck by the coronavirus, is or leaving containment, or about to return. An epilogue like a blitz: direct elimination from a match (the round-trip formula has disappeared), a unique place, that is to say Lisbon and its two stadiums (that of Benfica and that of Sporting) surrounded by totally reconfigured for more than a week, behind closed doors with less than 400 people present (broadcasters, players, delegations, security personnel, handpicked journalists, etc.) and quartered teams reducing their public appearances to the strict minimum.

No chance of knowing what to expect: all the usual benchmarks will pass through the window, from the ability to manage the environment to the states of form (disparate since some championships have resumed, others not) through the management of incomplete staff, some players – such as Parisians Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier – having refused to sign an additional amendment to their contract which took effect on June 30.

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On paper, Atalanta Bergamo does not scare a Paris-SG where patrol some of the best players of their time, Angel Di María, Kylian Mbappé or Neymar. However, the Italian championship has resumed for two weeks behind closed doors and the Lombards are walking on the water just like Leipzig … before the general confinement freezes the competitions in mid-March.

In the team Friday, Olympique de Marseille coach Andre Villas-Boas takes a short look at what he sees from football since certain championships (Italy, England, Germany, Spain, etc.) have resumed: “When we see the fatigue of the players, when we see the poor quality of the games we are attending at the moment, and especially when we see the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic [entre confinement, déconfinement et reconfinement, ndlr], I really think it was the right decision to stop everything. I have seen three European matches in recent days: they are irrelevant, and not only because of the camera. The players are tired […] I hope this will not cause big injuries to great players. […] For me, it’s a shame that UEFA hasn’t helped all the championships to stop. ”

No, UEFA has even scheduled the end of its own competition. Shoehorn. Still qualified, the Olympique Lyonnais would face Real Madrid or Manchester City in the quarter if it gets rid of Juventus from Turin, which it will visit on August 7 or 8 after having won 1-0 in February in the eighth of final go. The Gones had a very, very big game. In the world before.

The program

Round of 16 return, behind closed doors on the ground of the first named:

Bayern de Munich-Chelsea (aller: 3-0)
Turin-Lyon Juventus (0-1)
Manchester City-Real Madrid (2-1)
FC Barcelona -Naples (1-1)

Quarter-finals, on a match, in Lisbon between August 12 and 15:

Real Madrid or Manchester City-Lyon Olympics or Turin Juventus
Naples or FC Barcelona-Chelsea or Bayern Munich
Atalanta Bergame-PSG
RB Leipzig-Atlético de Madrid

Grégory Schneider

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