Pep Guardiola knows very well how to win the Champions League. But he also knows when the decisive Phase begins in the most important club competition. This is not in November, when the group phase will be decided (and in General, all the favorites will prevail). This is also not in February or March. Who wants to win the Champions League, needed his top form in April and may.

Guardiola knows that as well, because he marched, with Bayern and Manchester City in the last five years, nearly always playing by the respective national League and four times as long before the end of the season already as the master was, as well as group winners in the Premier class – and then, at the latest, in the semi-final to be eliminated.

so Why now, on the day of the eighth-final draw (read here first analyses of the Play in the second round) on the favourites in the Champions League? Because the situation in Europe top is in this season, other than in the previous years.

In the past five seasons, the CL title went to Spain. And even if in the end you always had an influence trifles, were Real Madrid (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018) and FC Barcelona (2015) – from own strength, but also because the competition was missing something – well before watching the winner. This season, the circle of favourites is not so large and so difficult to predict how long.

Eight teams can win the title

Regardless of the part of omniscient opponents in the first knockout round, seven of clubs on the way to the Finale on 1. June in Madrid, no chance in the League and have the connection to the midfield, fighting FC Schalke group winner FC Porto , Ajax Amsterdam , Lyon and Roma , as well as from the Premier League, the disappearance of the three-time Champions League winners Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur .

A special role is played by Borussia Dortmund . The benefits of the League-table leader, many things seem possible. The two games against Atlético (4:0 and 0:2) have shown that in the first half outstanding days of the series even one of the best defenses of the past few years, in great embarrassment, plunge, on a normal day, but also clearly can lose. The young Dortmund team is a crucial factor to be able to win the Champions League: experience is missing. In the case of these eight clubs, the situation is different:

Karim Benzema

Real Madrid

the title defense? Difficult, if not impossible. Three titles in the series? There was, however, the last Time in the seventies. The Royal disregarded in the past few years, unwritten laws, and the Champions League three times in a row won. So why not a fourth title, as it had in Real terms in the early years of the European Cup pre-power? In contrast, the departure of top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo to speak, the resulting weakness in the chance of recovery and the inexperience of coach Santiago Solari. Ultimately, no other team in Europe, what it means to focus on key games.

Pep Guardiola

Manchester City

The English champion has had to contend with this season, already two defeats against Lyon and in the Premier League against Chelsea. In addition, City Liverpool FC has a serious competitor for the national championship. Guardiola is often accused, to the concentration of its Teams, not nine months. The necessary voltage could well provide Liverpool’s success – only City could title the physical Freshness is missing for the first CL -. Teams from England, because of the lack of a winter break, the games many duty and high power density continue to be a disadvantage.

Luis Suárez (l) and Lionel Messi

FC Barcelona

Real Madrid has already lost five games in the Spanish League, and Barça in the table, still just five points ahead of great rivals? Yes, Barcelona has had to battle this season with massive problems. Four goals against Betis in a home game is more than just a slip-up. The Offensive with Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, Ousmane Dembélé and Philippe Coutinho is still capable to decide on large lots. In a defensive shift movements Barcelona but increasingly weaken, that can quickly take advantage of the end of the game Teams.

Thomas Tuchel (l.) and Neymar.

Paris Saint Germain

lost For PSG in the first round of the group stage in Liverpool, German media: coach Thomas Tuchel is under massive pressure and in reverse, immediately prior to the dismissal. Ultimately, the Parisians won their group but still, Tuchel has given his Team more tactical options at Hand. PSG Boss Nasser Al-Khelaifi does not understand the criticism of his Coach, anyway: “For me Tuchel is the best coach in the world,” he said after the victory in the return game against Liverpool. The biggest Problem for Paris: The basically already fixed title in France.

Alisson Becker


The finalist of the previous year have replaced two weak points in the squad. Goalkeeper Alisson Becker has a very low error rate, with the strong interior defender Virgil van Dijk the best defense in the Premier League. The away defeats against Naples, Belgrade and Paris in the Champions League have shown that the Reds will always have to play at the upper Limit, in order to win. It is, as in the case of ManCity: Should Liverpool be to may in the title clash of the Premier League required, will not be able to retrieve the width of the weakening of the squad in the Three-day rhythm of peak performance.

Niko Kovac

FC Bayern

How can a team that has to be counted lost in the home games against Augsburg (1:1), Freiburg (1:1) and Düsseldorf (3:3) due to late goals, six points, the favourites of the Champions League? Because there is not just a superior team, and Bayern brings to the table other than BVB very much experience. The problems will not be wiped out by a 4:0 in Hannover. The squad remains outdated, coach Niko Kovac, the lack of exchange options, against fast teams shift speed in reverse is no lack of defense and too many players are in tip-top shape. Now, Munich is also still the luck of the draw, lost – against Liverpool, the unusually early threatens.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Atlético Madrid and Juventus

In Germany, all eyes on the match between Bayern and Liverpool. There are, however, a second peak duel, where one of the title favorites will remain on the track. With great Routine, serenity, and two combat strength points of Atlético and Juventus is the best defensive series in Europe. While the Merengues but barely and at a high level to stagnate, has strengthened Juve with Cristiano Ronaldo is crucial. The Portuguese was involved in 21 games already on 20 goals directly. As in previous years, in Madrid Ronaldo Juventus gives a specific winning mentality, which may be towards the end of the season. The defeats against Manchester United and Young Boys of Bern have shown that Turin is not a Übermannschaft – even if they were ultimately decisive. Left the superior Combination of Offensive and Defensive remains.

conclusion: Juventus win the Champions League.

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.