BUENOS AIRES, August 2, 2020 – When the UEFA Champions League came up with the so-called ‘Final Eight’ solution, a mini knock-out tournament similar to a World Cup to be held in Lisbon, many forgot about Champions League’s little sister, Europa League, which is also active and will showcase big matches to decide who will advance to the quarterfinals. As AIPS prepares the seminar Let’s Talk about the Champions League, next Tuesday at 2pm CET, we are certainly not overlooking the rest of the action. But when, how and where? Here are some answers.
WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY Eight games will be played this week in six different countries. On Wednesday 5 August, there will be the first four: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Wolfsburg (2-1); Copenhagen vs Istanbul Başakşehir (0-1); Manchester United vs LASK (5-0); Inter-Getafe (see below). Then, on Thursday 6 August: Bayer Leverkusen vs Rangers (3-1); Sevilla-Roma (see below); Basel vs Eintracht Frankfurt (3-0); Wolves vs Olympiacos (1-1).
INTER-GETAFE & SEVILLA-ROMA These were the only two matches that did not manage to play the first-leg. Without time in their calendar, UEFA decided that these two will be single-legged, creating a rare exception in the tournament’s structure.
In conclusion: out of the 8 teams that qualify for the quarterfinals, 6 will have played home and away matches with the away goal rule, but Inter-Getafe (Wednesday) and Sevilla-Roma (Thursday) will be one match only, to be played behind closed doors in neutral venues in Germany. Therefore, no aggregate results, no away goals, winners advance to the next round.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT With the 8 teams of the quarters confirmed, the action will move exclusively to Germany. Four cities will host the rest of the tournament, which will also adopt the single-legged format: Cologne, Duisburg, Gelsenkirchen and Dusseldorf. The quarters are set for 10 and 11 August; the semis will be played on 16 and 17 August. The final, in Cologne, will take place on 21 August.
OUR FAVOURITES Manchester United, Basel, Leverkusen, Shakhtar, Istanbul Başakşehir, Inter, Sevilla and Wolves are our favourites for quarters. For the record: Manchester United and Inter could only meet in the final.