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Champions League survivors…you rank them

Mar 14, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

Barcelona's Messi celebrates after scoring his second goal against AC Milan during their Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match in Barcelona

On Friday the draw for the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League will be made. Eight small balls will be swirled around glass pots, each containing a name and for the first time in 17 years, none of those names belong to an English club…but that’s another story for another day.

There will be no more country protection and that means the dream final that many neutrals are craving for between Barcelona and Real Madrid could become a two-legged dogfight, which in my humble opinion is far more desirable that a potential cat and mouse affair at Wembley at the end of May.

Looking at the eight, it’s time to stir the tea leaves and figure out who will lift Europe’s greatest prize.

Barcelona: After the destruction of AC Milan, Barca have to be firm favorites but there are problems that unless addressed will cause the four-time winner to crash out. Lionel Messi can’t save them every time.

Real Madrid: Jose Mourinho appears to be on a mission to make himself a deity and the only way he can achieve this is by bringing home the trophy that means the most to a club that defines itself by European Cups.

Bayern Munich: There is a sense of de ja vu about the Germans. Last year’s shock loss to Chelsea still burns deeply and despite almost sending half of Germany to the emergency room against Arsenal, to bet against them is foolhardy.

Borrusia Dortmund: This is a club that is loving their sleeper tag. All the pressure is on the rivals from the South, which is allowing Dortmund to play with freedom that harks back to ’97 when they stunned Juventus to win it all.

Juventus: If Dortmund are the sleeper, Juve are simply assassins. Incredibly no one outside of Italy rates them that highly, which is a massive mistake as this club is a lot better and deeper than most think. If the draw is kind, Juventus could end up in London.

PSG: Money can buy you lots of things including world-class players but it won’t buy you a Champions League title. Those have to be earned and it’s a season too early for the French outfit who do boast quality but there is still something missing and I believe that’s character.

Galatasaray: If there is one match to savior for atmosphere the home leg of Gala’s tie will be a white-hot affair. The Turkish side have defied the oddsmaker on numerous occasions during this run however unless their fans can dig a trench around the 18 yard box it all ends here.

Malaga: Despite enough off field problems to fill a novel, Malaga keep finding a way to get it done on the field. They’ll be desperately hoping to avoid their countrymen but there are no easy ties left in the final eight.

Who wins it all…you decide.

  1. manchestermiracle - Mar 14, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Forty votes (so far) and no comments? How disappointing. Barca’s the fave, but I picked Bayern Munich only because I’m half German.

  2. crnelson10 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    I think Barca’s defensive problems are going to cost them this title. Madrid or Juve will win this.

    • Nick Webster - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      Got to go with crnelson10 on this one. Barca were one mistake away from going bye-bye versus Milan and Real or Juve will not be quite as generous.

      • gamustangdude - Mar 14, 2013 at 4:46 PM

        Actually no they weren’t, Barca won 4-2 on aggregate and still would’ve have won a aggregate if Milian scored 1 away goal 4-3. But both are right, Barca needs to fix its defensive efforts and/or Pyoul and Pique need to talk more.

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