Bayern, Liverpool needing comebacks to reach CL semis

Published April 13, 2021
PORTO: FC Porto’s Pepe attends a training session on Monday.—AFP
PORTO: FC Porto’s Pepe attends a training session on Monday.—AFP

LONDON: Holders Bayern Munich and 2019 winners Liverpool both need turnarounds in the second legs of their Champions League quarter-finals to make the last four.

Bayern are away to Paris St Germain, 3-2 down from the first leg, on Tuesday while Liverpool welcome Real Madrid to Anfield on Wednesday seeking to overturn a 3-1 deficit.

In the other last-eight ties this week, Chelsea face FC Porto on Tuesday with a 2-0 first leg lead and their Premier League rivals Manchester City are away to Bayern’s Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund with a 2-1 advantage to protect.

Bayern head to Paris as a team of walking wounded, while PSG are likely to be without their best defender Marquinhos and waiting to see if key midfielder Marco Verratti has recovered in time from coronavirus.

Marquinhos sustained an adductor injury in the first leg and is likely to be missing at Parc des Princes. But Bayern’s concerns are worse.

Coach Hansi Flick’s side is running on low fuel after this weekend’s 1-1 draw with Union Berlin, where Flick tried to rest some first-choice players.

Goal-scoring winger Serge Gnabry wont return from isolation in time to face PSG after his positive test for the virus. Former PSG striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is still deputising for the prolific Robert Lewandowski, who was sorely missed when chances galore were wasted last week in Bayern’s loss to PSG.

Real are in their best form of the season and followed the first-leg win over Liverpool with a victory against Barcelona in their La Liga ‘Clasico’ to temporarily go top.

With no fans allowed inside Anfield, Liverpool’s players need all the confidence they can muster. Registering their first win and first open-play goals at home in 2021 could not have come at a better time in its league victory over Aston Villa on Saturday.

With the outgoing Premier League champions three points from the Champions League places, making the top four is proving a challenge. Winning a seventh European Cup might be the only ticket back into the competition next season.

Winning the Champions League might be the only path back into the competition next season for Chelsea as well.

For all the progress under Thomas Tuchel, the London club are in fifth place in the Premier League even after an emphatic 4-1 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Coronavirus travel restrictions mean the second leg is being played in Seville, Spain, just like the first leg last week. This counts as Porto’s away game.

Dortmund too are not on course to qualify for next season’s Champions League as they sit seven points outside of the Bundesliga’s top four.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2021

Opinion

Israeli flashpoint
Updated 12 May 2021

Israeli flashpoint

There are persistent reports from the US suggesting that the mood over unquestioning backing for Israel is shifting.
Blaming envoys for the mess
Updated 12 May 2021

Blaming envoys for the mess

The prime minister appeared to be using his container approach in the realm of foreign policy.
No entry, no Eid
12 May 2021

No entry, no Eid

On this Eid, amid this mess, many chairs at muted celebratory meals will remain empty.
Election night confusion
Updated 11 May 2021

Election night confusion

Poll manipulation in Pakistan occurs in the run-up to elections and on election day itself.

Editorial

PM’s Saudi visit
Updated 12 May 2021

PM’s Saudi visit

It is very important that Pakistan take no step, or agree to any demand, that can have an adverse effect on national sovereignty.
12 May 2021

A new intifada?

THE situation in the occupied territories over the past few days has been incendiary, with tensions boiling over as...
Updated 12 May 2021

SOP violations

ON Monday, Sindh Police officials were given a well-deserved slap on the wrist by a judicial magistrate in Karachi...
11 May 2021

Kabul massacre

AFGHANISTAN is a land that has seen plenty of massacres during decades of unrest. However, despite this almost...
Divisive move
Updated 11 May 2021

Divisive move

The whole point of these reforms is to ensure that all major political stakeholders are on board, and that there is a consensus.
11 May 2021

Bank loan concerns

THE combined gross non-performing loan portfolio of the country’s banks and DFIs increased marginally by 2.6pc or...