Champions League 2019-2020 season
The group stage of the Champions League concluded this week with only Big 5 Leagues (Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1) clubs are represented.
In February of 2020, the Round of 16 will feature 4 Premier League, 4 La Liga, 3 Bundesliga, 3 Serie A and 2 Ligue 1 clubs.
Since the inception of the new format in 2003, it is the first time that only 5 nations are represented in the Round of 16 of the competition. 11 times there were 8 or more nations. This trend shows the power of big clubs in the major European championships and the difficulty for smaller nations to compete.
Liverpool aim at back-to-back titles
Liverpool finish first in the group in front of Napoli and will try to repeat in Istanbul at the end of the May 2020.
Coach Klopp on advancing and a tough group:
I couldn’t have more respect actually for what Salzburg is doing. I know how people see it – you think being the best team in Austria is ‘OK’. Then you see how good they are, how good they were in the first game, how good they were against Napoli and Genk and then you could come here as the current Champions League winner and misunderstand that situation.
And I love it, I really love it that my team is so smart that they listen and they put in a shift like that. Salzburg was unbelievably strong, especially in the first half, but we as well were ready for that fight.
We could have scored in the first half already, maybe should have scored. In the second half it’s not easy to keep that intensity; we scored the goals, could have scored more but really massive respect for Jesse [Marsch] and Salzburg for what they did here.
FC Barcelona won a tough group with Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund. Messi is aware of back-to-back collapses in 2018 (against Roma, 4-1/0-3) and last year against Liverpool (3-0/0-4). The Blaugrana will try to get back to the top of Europe. Last Champions League final victory was in 2015.
Is this the year for PSG?
PSG are in great form and only dropped points to Real Madrid 2-2. They finished first in the group and they can boast a four-men attack with Neymar, Mbappe, Icardi and Cavani. Arguably this is the best offense you can find in the world. But the French club has a terrible past with the competition. They have lost the last 3 times in the Round of 16 (including 2 “remontadas” vs. FC Barcelona and Manchester United.
Coach Tuchel on what is next in the Champions League:
“We topped the group, and that’s good. We’ve had some tough away games, but the team has always done what it takes to win. Five wins and five clean sheets.
We were rewarded for pulling together and played as a team. That’s the most important thing for me. We played with a lot of energy, aggressiveness and intensity.
We return to this competition in February, but now we have to look to the Coupe de France, the Coupe de la Ligue and get in shape for the round of 16.”
Last but not least Real Madrid can still get back on top of the world and they are confident they can beat anyone.