The 2019-20 Champions League quarter-finals take place this week, kicking off with Atalanta against Paris Saint-Germain at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz on Wednesday.
With the remainder of the competition take place in a single-legged, World Cup-style format, the trophy is anyone’s from this stage. And the much-anticipated match between the French champions and entertaining Italians is between two teams who have never won the competition before.
Six of the remaining eight sides have never won the Champions League in its current format or its previous, the European Cup. The only two remaining teams that have, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, meet each other in the quarter-finals on Friday.
The winner of that tie will meet either Manchester City or Lyon in the semi-finals, whilst PSG could meet either Atletico Madrid or RB Leipzig in the semi-final if they get past Atalanta.
Thomas Tuchel’s side head into the match as the bookmakers’ favourites but many see an update on the cards in this one with the form of the Serie A side after the restart – winning nine of their 13 league games to finish third. They held champions Juventus to a 2-2 draw and recorded victories over Lazio and Napoli.
The Bergamo club reached the knockout stages of the Champions League despite picking up just one point from their first four group stage games, winning 3-0 away to Shakhtar Donetsk in their final game to leapfrog the Ukrainian Premier League side into second spot.
Atalanta then beat Valencia 8-4 in a thrilling Round of 16 tie before the disruption.
Meanwhile, PSG haven’t had the best of breaks. The French Ligue 1 season was officially cancelled in April, meaning the Parisians have only had two competitive games since the restart – beating Saint Etienne 1-0 in the French Cup final and beating Lyon in the League Cup final on penalties after a 0-0 draw.
The French champions have also seen Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier depart on free transfers when their contracts expired, though Thiago Silva will stay for the remainder of the Champions League before leaving the club.
Angel Di Maria will miss the quarter-final tie through suspension, whilst Marco Verratti is ruled out through injury. Kylian Mbappe is also going to be a late decision having been injured in the French Cup final towards the end of last month.
PSG versus Atalanta will be an interesting match that many fans should be exciting for. Both teams have been very attack-minded this season, though their form after the restart suggests they have worked heavily on their defending too.
With a lot up for grabs we could see a cagey start from both sides in a match that’s difficult to predict the outcome before the lineups have been announced and a ball kicked.
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