This season of the UEFA Champions League is unlike any other in history. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, UEFA has decided that the competition will be completed as a mini-tournament. What’s the state of play? Learn all the details with STATSCORE!
When will Champions League resume?
UEFA has confirmed that Europe’s top competition will return on August 7, and that its final stage (August 12-23) will be held in Lisbon.
Four second-leg matches of the last-16 remain to be played:
Barcelona v Napoli (agg: 1-1)
Bayern München v Chelsea (agg: 3-0)
Juventus v Lyon (agg: 0-1)
Manchester City v Real Madrid (agg: 2-1)
It is still not clear whether these games will be held at the respective home venues of the teams involved. If that’s not possible, they may also be played in Lisbon.
What will the Champions League mini-tournament look like?
After these ties are concluded, a straight knockout tournament will be held between the eight qualifying clubs in Lisbon. This means that quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final of the Champions League will be played as single fixtures.
The matches will be split between Sporting’s Estádio José Alvalade and Benfica’s Estádio do Sport.
7-8 August: Round of 16 second-legs (venues to be announced)
12-15 August: Quarter-finals (Lisbon)
18-19 August: Semi-finals (Lisbon)
23 August: Final (Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Lisbon)
All fixtures will kick off at 21:00 CET.
Who is still in contention?
Four round of 16 ties were completed before the competition’s suspension due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Paris Saint-Germain eliminated Borussia Dortmund after winning 2-1 and 2-0.
Atalanta Bergamo managed to beat Valencia (4-1 and 4-3) in a tie that was later blamed for spreading the virus.
Atletico Madrid outed the defending champions, Liverpool, after a 3-2 victory in extra-time at Anfield.
RB Leipzig knocked out Tottenham, winning 1-0 and 3-0.
The remaining four games are to be completed before the final stage tournament starts in Lisbon.
How will the new format change the competition?
This super-tournament that will be held under unusual circumstances may be expected to change the face of the game.
Let’s take a look at some factors that may give the games a completely new dynamic:
- no home-field advantage;
- some of the players a bit out of the rhythm after a three-month break;
- the fact that some leagues came back relatively early (Bundesliga), while others decided to cancel their seasons (Ligue 1);
- the fact that these will be single-game ties, which may cause teams to play more carefully (possibly leading to fewer goals in specific games);
- the games will be probably held without the audience, which may take away some of its emotional components.
These are certainly important factors that clubs, players, and their fans have to take into account.
This also applies to betting companies which have to take them into consideration when preparing odds for these extraordinary fixtures.
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