For any of the teams playing today, reaching the quarterfinals is not a new achievement, but becoming one of the top four clubs in Europe is always a rewarding achievement, attracting new fans and new players in addition to the direct financial rewards. Juventus is one of the clubs that invests in a team to win the Champions League. Dortmund, Sevilla and Porto are in it for the impossible dream.
Tomorrow will be a rematch of a rematch between PSG and Barcelona, but the need for reversal is on the other foot this year. Meanwhile, twelve year old RB Leipzig has surprisingly proven to be an extraordinary foe; they go head to head against hundred year old competition. Liverpool’s men will recall pre-pandemic days when they did not walk alone, as they “host” the Germans on neutral soil.
This week, four dreams will move on to face stronger obstacles, and four dreams will breakdown in tears. All we the football fans ask for is that dreams do not end without a fight!
- If you missed it, it is worth going back to check on NMA’s UCL Matchday 8 Preview. My fellow author and UCL expert Prakhar has also given us his insights on MD8 players picks, and David shared his plan for tackling the tricky upcoming Matchday 8.
To Be or Not to Be
Both Andrea Pirlo and Jurgen Klopp are seeking consistency and good form that lasts. Both Liverpool and Juventus have been decimated by injuries this season, especially at center-back. It’s fairly understandable that older players Chiellini and Bonucci are regularly in the infirmary, but what about youngsters Joe Gomes and Matthijs De Ligt? Age 29 is supposed to be the prime age for players in our beloved sport, perfectly combining strength, decision making, poise and endurance. It is unfortunate for both Virgil Van Dijk and Joel Matip to miss such a year (wishing all the players safe returns).
There are rumors in Italy that Pirlo’s job safety is depends on the outcome of Juve’s match against Porto after a poor performance in the first leg. Pirlo led the weekend’s top of the table match against Lazio without Cristiano Ronaldo so he could rest the Portuguese star for this decisive Champions League tie, but the likes of Federico Chiesa and Alvaro Moratta were more than enough to bring in the three points. Klopp’s involuntary rotation this weekend resulted in a 0-1 loss to celler-dweller Fulham. Thiago Alcentara, Sadio Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold will be fresh to take on RB Leipzig. The Germans have coincidentally won with 3-0 scores in three of four matches since the first leg against Liverpool, and that’s exactly the exact result they need to reverse their deficit.
Crazy Monday - Injury/suspension/participation Updates
Another round of updates! Keep and eye on @NMA_Blog on Twitter for any updates during the day!
Matchday 8 Suspension List: Danilo (Juventus),
- Liverpool: Diogo Jota is back with the team and is expected to start in place of Firminio. Gomez, Matip, Henderson and Van Djik are out. Ben Davies (not that Ben Davies) and Kabak are doubtful.
- RB Leipzig: Halstenberg, Laimer and Szoboszlai are out while Angelino, Orban and Sabitzer are doubtful.
- Sevilla: Acuna, wing-back Jesus Nava, Ocampos and Bounou have joined the travelling party, but Aleix Vidal will miss the match.
SQUAD | Bono and @jkeey4 return to a squad of 24 to travel to Dortmund.#WeareSevilla #UCL pic.twitter.com/ByahFbUcV9— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) March 8, 2021
- Dortmund: Key players Akanji, Sancho and Witsel are out for the Germans. Shot stopper Burki and playmaker Thorgan Hazard have returned. Erling Haaland has shaken off the knock he received against Bayern in the weekend 2-4 defeat.
Edin Terzic:— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) March 8, 2021
“Jadon will not be available for the time being. Rapha and Gio won't be out that long, we have to see if they’ll be available tomorrow. With Erling Haaland and Thorgan Hazard we can assume that they can play tomorrow.” pic.twitter.com/1j2ntDnwze
- Juventus: Juan Cuadrado is back but Dybala is joined by Bentacur in the infirmary. Chiellini and Arthur are doubtful but were confirmed ready by Pirlo.
@Pirlo_official: "Although @arthurhromelo isn't yet 100% he could start tomorrow, hoping that he can last a while. @Cristiano is fine, these are his matches. He's fired up, he's been able to rest and can't wait."#JuveFCP #JuveUCL— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) March 8, 2021
- Porto: Mbemba was confirmed to miss the match along with Mbaye.
- PSG: Bernat is joined by Kean to miss the match. Neymar is trying to gain enough fitness to play, while Florenzi and Kehrer are doubtful as well.
- Barcelona: Coutinho, Sergi Roberto, Ansu Fati and Pique are injured while Araujo is doubtful.
Keep an eye on the comments section for press conference reports and any other status updates before today’s deadline. Good luck to everyone!
How’s your team faring? Do you have any tactical questions? And which matches do you plan / wish to watch as a fan? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!