Except for the Spanish teams, who have been picked in the same Semi Finals grouping, this year’s Champions League Quarter Finals appears well balanced and promises an exciting finale on May 28, 2011 in Wembley.
Even though, teams were not seeded for the draw, miraculously the four historically strongest teams, the defending champions and the former champions, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United were kept apart. Interestingly, Manchester United drew Chelsea while Barcelona may meet Real Madrid in the Semi Finals if both of them get through their Quarter Finals matches. This would prevent an all Spanish Finals or all English Finals, unless Tottenham surpass expectations. By some form of miracle, the draw appears to be commercially fixed for maximum viewership. It is undoubtedly a bookie’s dream.
In the Quarter Finals, English debutants Tottenham Hotspurs will take on Real Madrid in an exciting clash where Ronaldo and gang is favoured to steam roll over the London team to set up an expected all Spanish Semi-Finals.
Barcelona, the most feared team and arguably the strongest team in the world should have an easy task with first timers, Shakhtar Donetsk from Ukraine.
The most evenly matched and most mouthwatering Quarter Finals clash would be between English giants, Manchester United and Chelsea. Both teams are almost invincible at home, so Chelsea has to do as much damage as possible in Stamford Bridge in the 1st leg before settling the score in Old Trafford. Manchester United on the other hand would probably settle for a draw first and go for the kill at home. Either way, the match at Old Trafford would decide.
The last Quarter Finals match is between the defending Italian Champions, Inter Milan and Schalke 04 from Germany. The Italians are favoured to win but German opposition in football has always been difficult and may surprise. The winner of the tie will meet an English club in the Semi Finals.
It looks as though it is going to be a very interesting and exciting Quarter Finals.
Semi Finals favourites would be Man U versus Inter and an all Spanish affair in Real versus Barcelona.
Let’s see if Schalke or Chelsea gate crash the semis.
If Shakhtar or Spurs goes through, it would truly be pleasant upsets.