womenforfootball.com- What a dramatic finish to this year’s Quarter Finals of Champions League games; As per the previews in this blog before, highly contested Quarter Final games was anticipated.
Barcelona almost missed Messi for start of the return-leg match, and were trailing behind France Ligue 1 team PSG 0-1, until they were forced to bring in semi-injured Messi in Second half whose great play-making created a crucial goal for Barcelona to avoid elimination at Quarter-finals.
In other match, and probably with the the most heated commentaries were triggered by Borussia Dortmund-Malaga’s return-leg match. Spanish-based Malaga, which carefully deprived Dortmund of an away goal at Malaga, would technically advance to semifinal with one goal; And thats what they did from the early moments of the game, however Borussia Dortmund had everything at stake and fought back until the end. The fury though arise from Referee’s controversial calls on one of Malaga’s goals, as well as Borussia Dortmund’s final goal in extra time, both of which were clearly offside. No one knows, which team would advance if the referee would rule out those offside goals. However, despite playing at one of the loudest and biggest Stadias of Europe, Dortmund’s Iduna Park stadium, judging based on Malaga’s superior game plan and resiliency, they managed to dominate the game for most of the match. Understandably, Malaga manager and players were furious at the end of the match, losing their semi-final chance at extra time only.
In another match, Bayern Munich, which looks sharper than ever, traveled to Turin to win and they did. Juventus’s defense cracked open to Bayern’s attacks on two occasions, at the same time, failing to finish on their scoring chances, so Bayern Munich easily advanced to semi-final.
And in the match in furthest part of Europe, Turkey, Real Madrid despite occasional threats from Galatasaray, sealed the deal as of minute 7, and sealed their presence at semi-final stage.
Semi-final Draw took place last week, in which Bayern Munich is drawn against Barcelona. And Borussia Dortmund is drawn against Real Madrid.The semi-finals are set for April 23rd and 24th, followed by return-leg games on April 30th and May 1st.
So I updated the Champions League research chart which shows the trend of each league’s presence at CL in the past 10 seasons; La Liga had an early jump in number of participating teams at round of 16, but they could not keep their momentum and for semi-finals they are left with 2 teams again, just like last season.
Italy’s Serie-A are also in the same pace as last season, with 1 representative at Quarter-finals ad no representative left at semi-finals.
Germany’s Bundesliga, which sees Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund this time contesting at Semi-finals, overall had the highest upward trend among other leagues; Not only their initial number of teams at round of 16 was more this season, but also they have twice as many teams in QF and Semi-final stage this season, compare to last season.
And France’s Ligue 1 kept the same trend as last season, with one representative at QF and none at Semifinals.
So which team do you think can make it to the Finals? Can Bayern Munich make it to the Finals again, even at the sake of Barcelona? Can Dortmund that narrowly beat Malaga, pose any threat to Mourinho’s Real Madrid? We shall find out..