Champions League quarterfinals, aka “Not again!”

And now, we understand. Atletico Madrid. I leave the sussing out of the entire bracket to others, and instead focus on the team we now have to defeat to complete the extraordinary task of 7 CL semi-final rounds in a row.

We know them, they know us. We knocked heads in a nasty, well-played SuperCopa to start the season. Of the teams that can cause the biggest potential danger they are one. Diego Costa, Arda Turan (Fear the Beard), Filipe Luis is back to fitness. It is going to be a marvelous quarterfinal, and one that won’t involve much travel, eh?

So far this season, we have drawn every time we faced them, winning the SuperCopa on away goals, then a pair of 0-0 scorelines. More of the same? Who knows.

So let’s do this.

By the by, there are many people who believe that the draw is rigged, that UEFA has a final that it would like to see and plans accordingly. Those same people bristle and argue when people such as Jose Mourinho carp about conspiracies aimed at helping Barça succeed in Champions League play.

You can’t have it both ways. If you believe in a rigged draw, you have to also believe in UEFAlona, even in the malleability of paranoid narrative that says “Ah, but now they don’t like us any longer, and like XX team better, so we aren’t getting the easy treatment from then any longer, blablablabla.”


The rest of the draw:

Bayern v United
RM v Dortmund
PSG v Chelsea

Of course, if UEFA have their way, it points to an RM/Bayern final, but I don’t think that will happen. Unfortunately, Dortmund, who knocked out RM last season before Bayern came calling to pluck primo players, has been ravaged by injuries, so I don’t see them causing much drama for our eternal rivals.

Bayern should walk United.

The PSG/Chelsea tie will be intriguing. Zlatan vs Mou Mou, as one of the most dangerous players in the world takes on a Chelsea team that is, frankly, punching above its weight. I look for PSG to advance in a nasty tie.

As far as logistics, the first leg will be played on April 1 or 2 in our house, the second leg a week later at theirs.


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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. scribblez
    March 21, 2014

    I have to admit Athletico was the team I didn’t want be drawn against our. Not because of their superiority but because of the brutal physicality to their game.
    However, I’m happy with the first match to be played at home. If we have a 2/3 goal cushion or no away goals from them, the trip to Calderon will be easier.

    • G6O
      March 21, 2014

      It’s never good to play the first leg at home, much less at home. They are more than capable of leaving with a scoring draw from it.

    • G6O
      March 21, 2014

      *much less against Atletico

    • scribblez
      March 21, 2014

      Yes but if you look at the matches which Barca lost in the Champion’s league semi finals in the previous years, in all of them, the home match was the second. They didn’t do well in the away and was huge pressure at Camp Nou to play their natural game.

      I see it this way – al leads they will have an estimate of how many away goals to score and if they manage a win ( I’m expecting them to do that) they can travel to Calderon with much more confidence.

      Look at the RM-AM match at Copa or the BVB-RM match at CL last season. Both the ties against tough opponents were finished at home for the winning team.

      I would rather not be nervous that AM will score an away goal or two at Camp Nou at the last moment and steal the tie.

    • scribblez
      March 21, 2014

      * under huge pressure
      *at least

  2. March 21, 2014

    Today morning, walking out of gym, I was telling a friend, ManUnited fan, how Barca will face Atletico (which I thought would be very tough draw), RM and Bayern will have easy ones coming up against Dortmund and MU. (I watched Dortmund against Zenit and they were miles behind their last season form and all know how it is with MU).

    Never have something like this happened exactly how I predicted (if that talk was prediction at all), so its a first time. My friend has already texted me…

    To be the best we have to take the tough road. So lets face Atletico. We need to finish the match at Nou Camp itself.

    • Peter
      March 21, 2014

      Actually to be the best you need to reach the final and win it. How you got there doesn’t matter. Just ask Chelsea.

    • March 21, 2014

      Too early to think about final. Lets win the quarters first.

      Sorry I didnt really get your %odds below.
      There is also a possibility that Real would have considered Atletico as a comparatively easy opponent after their recent win. Atletico attacks against REal, and defends hard against us. Thats why Atletico is difficult for us..?

    • Ryan
      March 21, 2014

      But Chelsea were not really considered the best when they somehow won the CL final. At least not to the same degree that Bayern and Barca’s championships solidified their status as the world’s best.

    • March 21, 2014

      Peter, thank you for that comment about the campaign against Tata.
      I feel sorry for him. Imagine the kind of pressure these people go through, I mean, coach and players..

  3. Peter
    March 21, 2014

    Well, for Barcelona it could’ve been worse. For Real it couldn’t have been easier.

    Real and Bayern both get to play the two easiest opponents. The odds of that? A little bit less than 3%(1/7*1/5)

    • ooga aga
      March 21, 2014

      You’re off by a factor of two peter. The odds would be a bit less than 6%

    • Peter
      March 21, 2014

      Odds change as the teams are drawn. The initial odds of Bayern and Real facing United and Dortmund are 1/35, although it’s true that after drawing Barcelona and Atletico the odds shorten considerably.

      If it had been just Real or Bayern, but when the two teams that were rumored to be prepared for the final in Lisbon get the two teams that are relatively the easiest and most injury/suspension-hit, doubt is bound to arise.

    • ooga aga
      March 21, 2014

      i know but the actual calculation would be [(1/7)*(1/5) + (1/7)*(1/5)] = 2/35 = 5.7%

      …because we are talking about the odds of bayern and real facing the two weakest teams. it could have also been bayern vs dortmund and real v man U.

      i cant wait for our matches vs atletico!

  4. say2
    March 21, 2014

    Will we have draw before semi finals? if not who do we get in Semis??

    • March 21, 2014

      There will be another draw after the semi line up is clear.

    • Serena Andre
      March 21, 2014

      There’s a separate draw for the semis.

    • say2
      March 21, 2014

      Thanks guys.

      we have decent run up in league during this period, only Espanyol, Granada and Betis. so hope we can give our best during these games. while they have athletic and villareal sanwiched in between. so chances for our victory are higher.

  5. Valdemar II
    March 21, 2014

    Rivals gifted another semi-final /rigged. Not unhappy with our opponent, we have had an edge on them this season, and it will be larger because of the occasion.

  6. Serena Andre
    March 21, 2014

    I’ve seen a couple of people on Twitter pointing out that we haven’t been able to beat Atleti this season and that they have a good chance of progressing. I think there’s one huge difference between these matches and the previous ones. A fit Messi.

  7. March 21, 2014

    As an FYI to all, the way WordPress protects us all from spammers and other miscreants is if you have more than one link in a comment, it will send that comment into moderation, where someone will have to release it.

  8. Laurentiu88
    March 21, 2014

    it may be that Atletico play a physical game but ucl is different than la liga! still quite tough… both us and rm will have tough games away if we dont manage to sentence the tie in the first leg…

  9. barca96
    March 21, 2014


    Add this symbols like these * or – in front of http the next time you want to post more than 1 link.

  10. barca96
    March 21, 2014

    Pretty pissed off at our luck with the draw so I decided to go to the Guardian to get some laughs and they didn’t disappoint.

    Tax Dodge Derby – Barca v Bayern mark my words!

    Moyes v Guardiola.

    Chill guys I got this. Got a mate who lives in Munich. He’s gonna get a job as catering staff at Bayern’s training ground and unleash a lasagne-gate-style sabotage.

    Can’t wait to see Tom Cleverley up against Toni Kroos

    Best draw possible for Man U, getting Bayern out of the way while they are still on a roll.

    • March 21, 2014

      There are some bloody funny comments there on Guardian..

    • PrinceYuvi
      March 21, 2014

      Ha ) thanks for that.

      Sucky draw.
      I really wanted dortmund.

  11. March 21, 2014

    Pity poor Van Persie, who can’t seem to stay unbroken. Out 6-8 weeks with a sprained knee.

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