Heading into the second leg against Arsenal, Bayern Munich was expected to advance to the next round of the Champions League with ease, having beaten the English Premier club 2-nil in the first leg at the Emirates. With two away goals and a two-goal aggregate lead, it was nothing but a fighting chance for Arsenal who now have only the FA Cup and the Premier League to contend for.
Last year, Munich topped Bundesliga foe’s Borussia Dortmund in the all-German finals for the title. They now move on as the favorite to win it all again, along with a likely second straight Bundesliga title. Munich was also responsible for eliminating Arsenal from the competition in 2013, beating them on away goals after Arsenal put up a strong fight in the second leg at Allianz Arena.
The quarterfinals look set to feature two premier league clubs, three La Liga clubs, two Bundesliga clubs and one Ligue 1 club.
The premier league will likely feature Chelsea, who drew in their first leg against Galatasaray and Manchester United, who will have a much tougher second leg against Olympiaco’s to advance. Chelsea will have the advantage of playing at home in the second leg and have been enjoying incredible form of late. Manager Jose Mourinho has his eyes set on both a Champions League run and a Premier League run.
Manchester United were stunned by Olympiacos in the first round of the knockout phase, but like Chelsea, they will have the second leg at home and should come out with a vengeance. United has the talent to pick up a three-goal difference in the second leg and move on to the quarterfinals, but it will be tough and Olympiaco’s may be the side to move on in this one.
Representing Spain will be Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atlético Madrid. Barcelona took care of premier league elites Manchester City in the first leg and appear to be Bayern Munich’s stiffest competition this year. They will have to hold off City in the second leg, but they appear up for the task.
Real Madrid embarrassed Schalke 04 in the first leg, beating their fellow Bundesliga side 6-1. They will advance with ease in the second leg.
Atlético pulled off an impressive victory on the road in the first leg, beating Serie A club Milan 1-nil. They have officially advanced, winning the second leg by the score of 4-1.
Joining Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals out of the Bundesliga will be Borussia Dortmund who play Zenit St. Petersburg in the second leg next week. It will be a home match and they already lead 4-2 on aggregate with four away goals.
Paris Saint Germain looks likely to be the only club solely representing their league, they beat Bayer Leverkusen 4-nil in the first leg and will have an easy go of advancing in the second leg.
An all-German final isn’t likely to repeat itself this year, but there are certainly other possibilities for one league to be represented in the final. Bayern may be the favorite, but watching Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid face off against Lionel Messi of Barcelona in an all-Spanish final might eclipse the excitement of last year’s German showdown.