UCL Predictions: Race To The Top

UCL predictions race has begun.
UCL Predictions

We are officially on the road to the finals of this year’s Champions League, and it is time to place our UCL predictions. The final places are almost ready and poised for the clash of the European titans. After this past week, the emphatic conclusion to the first leg of the quarter-finals, it is time for us to get out our punditry hats and predict who has a better chance of qualifying for the next stage and ultimately reaching the finals.

There were a few interesting results in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals. However, as seen with Manchester United and Barcelona against PSG in the 2018-19 and 2016-17 editions, respectively, it would be careless to think that the decisions have been made. That is the beauty of the game called football. Let us delve into the upcoming matches and also weigh in with our UCL predictions for the 2021-22 season.

Villarreal v Bayern Munich (Aggregate- 0:1)

Let us start off with the upset result. The majority of us went in thinking it would be a massacre on the scoreboard, with Bayern Munich just obliterating opposition as has been their recent modus operandi in the Champion’s League. However, this time Bayern and the whole world were stunned after a shot by Dani Parejo was masterfully redirected by Arnaut Danjuma, to put past the Bavarian goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. They could have done even further damage if Francis Coquelin’s goal was not ruled for offside. Further, a testament to Villarreal’s game plan this past week, Gerard Moreno came dangerously close to double the lead twice. However, luck prevailed for the Bayern side and both shots went wide.

The Yellow Submarines, are on a dream run in the Champion’s League after defeating Italian giants Juventus in the round of 16. Now, they have pulled off another victory over the great Bayern Munich. Throughout the match, they looked in control of the game with Bayern Munich scrambling to create good chances. The Yellow Submarines go on to the 2nd leg with a solid advantage in hand,. However, Bayern would be reeling to get back their win on their home turf.

Villarreal vs Bayern: UCL Predictions
Bayern were thwarted away from home after a redirected shot from Arnaut Danjuma put the Yellow Submarines in the lead.

Bayern came into the game on an unbeaten Champions League away a game streak of 22 games. Their last away game loss in the UCL was way back in 2017, at the hands of PSG, who were also coincidentally coached by Unai Emery, the current Villarreal coach.
There is a significant amount of work still left to be done for both sides as this tie is far from over. Villarreal will need to defend their lead with everything they have got. Bayern needs to rectify its high-pressure style of play, which often leaves them vulnerable to counterattacks. The attacking quality of Bayern Munich cannot be neglected, and when they start rolling, seldom they are stopped by anyone. Nonetheless, we still believe Bayern Munich will conquer the modest Spaniards on their home turf and ultimately go through to the next stage.

Prediction: Bayern Munich goes through to the semi-finals.

Chelsea v Real Madrid (Aggregate- 3:1)

A true clash of the titans. Last season’s winner vs the legendary Galacticos. This match had us salivating from the day it was announced, and boy was it an exhilarating ride. Chelsea is having a nightmare of a season, with their hierarchical troubles off the pitch to expensive strikers not firing at full steam. However, Chelsea’s troubles meant an excellent opportunity for Real Madrid to capitalize, and they did it in style. With Karim “One-man army” Benzema leading the charge and single-handedly disposing of opposition, Real Madrid is looking like a threat to every team present in the tournament.

Benzema the hat trick hero
Karim Benzema’s solo effort put a damper on Chelsea’s Champions League ambitions this year.

With back-to-back hat tricks in the UCL, Karim Benzema is on the run of his career. He has been literally leading from the front of the field, scoring goals, and leading the team with his captaincy. There remains no doubt that Benzema has slowly but surely etched his name in the halls of Santiago Bernebeu as one of the legends of the club.

Chelsea on the other hand has fluffed their chances big time. With Kai Havertz pulling one back for the team and giving The Blues something to fight for in the 2nd leg of the quarterfinals, it is going to take a miracle to dispose of Real Madrid in their current state. Their status for the 2nd leg would have been considered fine if Romelu Lukaku had found the net in the 2nd half.
However, in all certainty Real Madrid is set to host the Blues and chances are dim for a miraculous recovery. Nonetheless, regarding our predictions, we see Real Madrid cruise past Chelsea in the second leg and into the semi-finals. Still, in the essence of this game, we can never count out Chelsea on paper as history suggests. We will be in for a tremendous game next time these two giants lock horns.

Prediction: Real Madrid to go through to the semi-finals.

Also Read: Ballon d’Or Award 2022: Karim Benzema Is On the List

Benfica v Liverpool (Aggregate- 3:1)

One of the roller coaster matches of the evening saw Benfica take on the Premier League giants Liverpool. Early goals by Sadio Mane and Ibrahima Konate gave Liverpool the breathing space they needed. However, that soon was turned on its head when Darwin Nunez pulled one back for the hosts minutes after the restart. That goal split the game wide open. The roars from the home crowd were certainly intimidating, with Liverpool feeling the brunt of it. After a cagey affair, Liverpool managed to restore their two-goal lead after a late goal by new recruit Luiz Diaz.

Liverpool vs Benfica: UCL Predictions
Liverpool dominated Benfica away from home and will host them in the 2nd leg.

With a two-goal lead, Liverpool looks forward to hosting Benfica at Anfield. With the home crowd’s support for Liverpool, it is a monumental task for Benfica to overturn the result. Specifically while playing at Anfield, which is notoriously known for its intimidating atmosphere. The chills when the YNWA breaks out in unison are sure to intimidate opponents.
However, with Trent-Alexander Arnold back in the team and Andrew Robertson as his compatriot for the Liverpool, the rampaging wing-backs are always a danger. Additionally, Benfica needs to bring their absolute best if they have any chance of getting to the next stage. Till then, our prediction will be on Liverpool breezing past Benfica to the semi-finals.

Prediction: Liverpool to go through to the semi-finals.

Manchester City v Atlético Madrid (Aggregate- 0:1)

The unstoppable force meets the immovable object. In the end, the unstoppable force did manage to squeak one past Atletico Madrid. Kevin De Bruyne’s goal in the 70th minute meant Manchester City will take the advantage to the next leg. Manchester City will be facing Atletico Madrid away at Wanda Metropolitano stadium.
An overall uneventful match, since Diego Simeone parked the bus for the entirety of the game. Having zero shots registered and possession of 29%, Atletico Madrid had no intention to go on the attack. However, this decision proved costly in the 70th minute when De Bruyne scored after a brilliantly threaded pass from Phil Foden landed KDB one on one with Jan Oblak. However, Simeone, must be feeling confident having restricted Manchester City to run rampant and minimize the damage while playing away from home.

Champions league predictions
Phil Foden was the string-puller in the 1st leg against a resilient Atletico Madrid.

With everything to play for in the 2nd leg, it will be interesting to see whether Diego Simeone will deploy an attacking squad or will there be a repeat of the 1st leg. Nonetheless, Atletico Madrid has pulled off miraculous victories in the past and certainly is capable to do so once again. Therefore, we are predicting an upset win over the Cityzens.

Prediction: Atletico Madrid to go through to the semi-finals.

Also Read: Manchester City vs Liverpool: Who Will Win The Match? FA Cup Match Predictions and Much More