The UEFA Europa League is back in our lives, and after the completion of all Round of 16 ties, it’s time for a shift in focus as we gear up for the quarter-finals of the competition. All eight teams have proven themselves to be worthy of a place in Germany, and while only one will come out on top, they should all be proud of what they’ve been able to achieve up to this point.
While the final was initially supposed to take place in Gdansk, the COVID-19 pandemic ensured that will no longer happen. Instead, Germany will play host to what is being dubbed the club equivalent of UEFA Euro 2020 as we look ahead to some entertaining knockout football.
Today, we’re going to take a look at the four quarter-finals and examine what sort of games we should be expecting to see.
Inter Milan vs Bayer Leverkusen
Both of these sides were able to showcase their brilliance in different ways in the previous round, with Inter overcoming Getafe and Leverkusen seeing off a spirited challenge from Rangers. Inter are one of the favourites and rightly so, but they can’t afford to let their foot off the gas. If they do, Leverkusen can punish them.
Prediction: Inter Milan win
Manchester United vs FC Copenhagen
Copenhagen looked really strong against Istanbul Basaksehir, but we aren’t so sure they’ll be able to keep that up against Manchester United. Sure, the Red Devils have slowed down quite a bit since the last few games of the Premier League campaign, but they’ve still got more than enough quality in their ranks to pick up the win.
Prediction: Manchester United win
Shakhtar Donetsk vs Basel
Shakhtar have been all the way to the top of the mountain in the Europa League before, and while there’s no guarantee they’ll do it again, they were ruthless against Wolfsburg and they’ve got a favourable enough draw. The funny thing about that, though, is Basel will probably be thinking the exact same thing – especially after they dispatched of Eintracht Frankfurt.
Prediction: Shakhtar win
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Sevilla
Wolves were efficient and resilient at the back against Olympiacos whereas Sevilla were incredibly impressive against Roma. This is still bound to be a tight game in certain areas of the pitch, but the Spaniards have looked better than most since the restart and they’ll look to keep that trend rolling.
Prediction: Sevilla win
This is set to be an unpredictable set of games, and even that may be an understatement. The eight teams involved will have to be ready to endure the possibility of three matches in pretty quick succession, but if they’re serious about securing a piece of European silverware, that shouldn’t bother them all too much.
While we wait for most of Europe’s big leagues to start back up again, it’s nice to know that the UCL and UEL are around for us to enjoy. Plus, there’s always the return of Major League Soccer – and that’s going pretty well right now.