5 months after the stoppage of the Champions League and the Europa League, the continent’s cream de la creme is ready to complete what they began.
Atletico Madrid ‘s dramatic extra-time victory at Anfield seems to be an age away, as does LASK ‘s 5-0 thrashing by Manchester United,
with those outcomes two of the last matches to take place before the season’s coronavirus pandemic halted.
Presently, having ended certain domestic leagues and cup competitions that have returned, the emphasis is exclusively on the elite of Europe.
On Wednesday, the Europa League continues with the Champions League returning on Friday
both tournaments coming to an end this month with mini leagues taking place in separate countries.
Here we include the specifics of who, what, why, where and when.
CONSEQUENTLY…THE EUROPA AND CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Both the Europa League and the Champions League are in the last 16 stage,
however although all 16 clubs stays in the Europa League, Liverpool,
Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Tottenham are all out of the top club competition in Europe.
Their conquerors – Atletico, Paris Saint-Germain, Atalanta and RB Leipzig
all scored over two legs before the campaign was forced to pause.
Just six of the eight first legs in the Europa League occurred, with four away teams – United, Bayer Leverkusen, Shakhtar Donetsk and Basel receiving benefits,
although Istanbul Basaksehir defeated Copenhagen 1-0 in Turkey and Wolves played 1-1 at Olympiacos.
Despite Spain and Italy being two of the countries that were eventually hit hardest by the pandemic, Seville’s tie with Roma and Inter ‘s hold on Getafe could not start.
IN COMING TO THE CONCLUSION OF THIS ROUND, HOW WILL IT BE.?
Because of the need to get this thing done quickly before the start of the 2020-21 season,
both the Champions League and the Europa League have ended quarter-finals and semi-finals with two-legged affairs.
Alternatively, every last-eight and last-four game will be decided over 90 minutes – or 120 minutes, or whether they need a penalty shoot-out.
And with the disease outbreak still a very serious threat,
the two tournaments in one city will be ended to mitigate travel and lower the risk of COVID circulating among the teams.
Around 12 and 23 August, Benfica’s Estadio da Luz will be the venue for the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final of the Champions League,
while those comparable stages of the Europa League will be played of Cologne between 10 and 21 August.
WILL ALL THE PLAYERS STILL BE INCLUDED.?
Traditionally this stage of the football calendar is transition time, and even a worldwide pandemic couldn’t interrupt that.
So Timo Werner of Leipzig, who has scored four times in their run to the last eight for the Bundesliga side, is now on Chelsea’s books while winger Leroy Sane has exchanged Manchester City for Bayern Munich.
Neither man would be able to play either for his new or for his old side.
Many like Achraf Hakimi, a current Dortmund Inter signing, will also be limited to a brief on watching.
It’s a diverse situation for the current team-mate of Hakimi, Alexis Sanchez,
who was involved in Antonio Conte’s team for the latter stages after arrangements with Manchester United on a loan extension,
but a new deal would have to be made for him to be available from the quarter-finals onwards.
Sanchez’s current club was no longer ready to let Roma loan Chris Smalling,
but the English center-back bade goodbye to the Everlasting City on Tuesday,
before his return to the United, for whom he could not play either because of his previous participation with the Giallorossi.