The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League quarterfinals take place this Wednesday, August 12th through Saturday, August 15th.
Things start off with a bang, as a potentially high-scoring match-up takes place on Wednesday with Atalanta vs PSG.
As always, we bring in our distinguished panel of contributors to offer their Champions League quarterfinal predictions. Joining Chops this round is Tyler Everett, Uttiyo Sarkhar, and Alex Blower.
Atalanta vs PSG prediction
Chops: I mean, this is really the highlight of the week, right?
Even with some of the injuries and absences, this should be an open and exciting match. Atalanta were among the best teams in Europe after the restart. PSG never restarted. Mbappe may still be hobbled. Angel di Maria is out.
I’m ride or die with Ajax2020, going Atalanta here. Even moreso with public money pounding PSG the past few days.
Tyler, don’t try typing “Getafe” here they’re not playing.
Tyler: Now that the words have been taken out of my mouth (fingers?), I guess we can focus on Atalanta-PSG. With Mbappe probably limited and no Ángel di Maria, the Ligue 1 champs are not exactly at full strength.
That makes them even more ripe for the upset vs. an Atalanta team full of journeyman veterans who probably never thought they’d get an opportunity like this. That means they’ll be loose and come out attacking
With its recent history, PSG is in the opposite of the “nothing to lose” mindset and that (plus the five or six months of rust) will be a factor in yet another early exit from the UCL.
Atalanta in a close one.
Uttiyo: Yep this one is going to be a real firecracker. Could be the game of the week and arguably most entertaining game of the entire knockout stages! Atalanta have really been the working class hero in UCL this season and have an amazing attacking style. It’s hard not to root for them. PSG have a tendency to bottle in these stages and with an unfit (possibly injured?) Mbappe, they could have problems. Going for a narrow Atalanta win.
Alex: I’m going against the grain here and backing PSG.
In the past they have choked at this stage but they showed a real maturity against Dortmund in the previous round. I can see them coming out on top here 2-0 or 2-1.
RB Leipzig vs Atletico Madrid prediction
Chops: Let’s see…Atleti will flop and grab and drop 7 on their backline while their maniac manager gesticulates wildly on the sideline. Can’t wait!
Atleti are built for [annoying, unwatchable] knock-out round soccer. They’ll frustratingly advance, making us all hate-watch them for another round.
Tyler: Atleti would probably be my pick even if RBL had Werner, so you can guess where I’m going with this. In addition to their upset of Liverpool in the round of 16, Los Rojiblancos played well after the break. Their run of good form actually dates all the way back to the last month before the pandemic interrupted play, as their lost loss came on February 1!!
So yeah, they’re going to reach the semis.
Uttiyo: Indeed, this game could be the most boring of the lot. Without Timo Werner, Leipzig are a bit toothless in attack. Atleti have everything to see out a frustrating game but get a result. I think this might go into extra-time and if it does, Atleti’s resilience to get a late winner will see them through to the semis.
Alex: This is the tie where we’ll see an upset. Julian Nagelsmann is one of the brightest coaching talents around and he’s had plenty of time to prepare his young side. Timo Werner is a big loss but Leipzig’s strength comes from pressing and the system they play, not individual brilliance.
This will definitely be a tight game & Atlético will be up to their old tricks but I’m backing Leipzig here.
Barcelona vs Bayern Munich prediction
Chops: THIS ROUND WON’T BE ALL CHALK. Yeah, I took Atalanta but I don’t really consider them an underdog (even if the oddsmakers do).
This comes down to two things for me:
- In a knockout format, does one team have a player who can single-handedly win them the game? With apologies to Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi is that player.
- There is a perfect symmetry to Philippe Coutinho watching his ex team knock him out of the Champions League in back-to-back seasons. Be careful what you wish for, Pip.
Tyler: Barcelona is so inconsistent that while I didn’t pick Napoli, an upset in the round of 16 wouldn’t have totally shocked me. Thanks to Messi, this team’s ceiling might be the highest of any of the eight teams left, but I just don’t see them hitting it against a squad as deep and explosive as Bayern Munich. Barcelona has had some poor showings against Europe’s most physical, athletic teams (the meltdown at Anfield last year is the best example, but it’s not the only one), and I expect another one here.
I don’t like picking against Messi at all. But I’m saying that not to change my mind, but to remind myself of what happens in the World Cup, when his team’s weaknesses are just too much for him to overcome.
Uttiyo: I really fear for Barca in this one. They look really vulnerable defensively and are up against (arguably) the best attacking side in Europe at the moment. To make things worse, Messi isn’t 100% fit either! Unless the MSG trio pulls off something truly extraordinary together, I can’t see Barca pulling off a win here. With Lewandowski now turned into a goal-scoring Terminator, expect him to lead Bayern to a compelling win.
Alex: Messi is the GOAT and with him you always have a chance. If Barcelona are to progress they’ll need to do it in 90 minutes because they have very limited quality and options from the bench.
Bayern are the best side on the planet right now. They’ll dominate possession. Their energy and pressing will overwhelm Barca’s midfield 3. Die Roten progress to the next round and face off against Manchester City in what will be the game of the season.
Manchester City vs Lyon prediction
Chops: I *really* want to pick against Man City, a club destined to bottle in the quarters each and every year. Karma for breaking FFP and getting away with it, should matter.
But I can’t do that.
Except I will.
Lyon is a strong counter-attacking side. If they can put one by City early, they’ll sit on that lead and pounce on another counter. Lyon are vulnerable on the flanks, and Sterling and KdB may run all over them.
At the end of the day, I just don’t believe in City in the UCL. Lyon is the pick. And yes, spite and general hatred are 90% of this pick.
Tyler: I’m in on Atalanta against a big club under a ton of pressure, but I’m less optimistic about Lyon. And by less optimistic, I mean I’m not hopeful at all. I should probably be giving Lyon more respect for their win over Juve, but I just watched Manchester City completely embarrass a Real Madrid squad that hadn’t been embarrassed like that in a long time.
I also can’t go in on a team at +950, per oddsmakers, out of respect for that massive line. Even at -360, City is the one to bet on here.
Uttiyo: City are obvious favourites for this one on paper. But like PSG, they tend to lose their dominance once the pressure starts mounting in the UCL. Lyon are very lucky to be here anyhow but they’ll fancy their chances here going by the format. But I think City, with Sterling, De Bruyne, Jesus on song, will be able to grind out a win to move into the semis.
Alex: This pick is as easy as they come. Pep & City know they’ve been handed a golden opportunity facing Lyon instead of Juve. With no other distractions the Citizens will fully focus & win this one comfortably by 2 or 3 goals.