Flo Bogner (Eurosport Germany), Cyril Morin (France), Simone Eterno (Italy), Agustin Galan (Spain) and Pete Sharland (UK) dropped in on our Game of Opinions podcast to preview this year's season-ending tournament, with the remaining 12 teams coming from those five nations.

Transfer news LIVE - Thiago posts farewell message with Bale and Reguilon on their way

To get the full briefing ahead of the Champions League’s return on Friday, dive into the latest podcast (above, or click the link below).

Otherwise, read on to learn a little about the teams still chasing Europe’s biggest prize…

[Listen on your podcast platform of choice]

GERMANY (Florian Bogner)

Bayern Munich

  • Last competitive match: July 4
  • Domestic league: Bundesliga champions
  • Champions League date/opponent: Chelsea (last 16), August 8 - Bayern lead 3-0 from first leg

Strengths and weaknesses

Bayern have offensive power all over the team. They scored 100 goals in the Bundesliga, hit seven against Tottenham in October and they’re still on track. Of course, they’re a little out of sync because the Bundesliga finished earlier, but they will be back in full force in the offensive department. That’s what everyone should worry about.

But Benjamin Pavard got injured, highlighting that Bayern don’t have another right-back in their squad. Joshua Kimmich will supposedly go to right-back, which means a lack of a central midfielder, so Thiago has to fill in but he’s not a holding midfielder.

Key player

Definitely Robert Lewandowski. He’s very angry that there’s no Ballon d’Or this year, he’s very angry that Ciro Immobile is ahead of him in the race for the European Golden Shoe. He wants to show everybody that he’s the guy this year.


It’s good for them to have a warm-up against Chelsea which they’re really serious about. But I think they will go through, and the quarter-final against Barcelona or Napoli is manageable. And then they’re already in a semi… I can see them getting to the final.

Robert Lewandowski

Image credit: Getty Images

RB Leipzig

  • Last competitive match: June 27
  • Domestic league: 3rd in Bundesliga
  • Champions League opponent: Atletico Madrid (quarter-finals), August 13

Strengths and weaknesses

They are unpredictable. They have a lot of potential in the offensive department with Patrick Schick, Dani Olmo, Marcel Sabitzer, Emil Forsberg, Christopher Nkunku and Yussuf Poulsen. They have a unique style of play under Julian Nagelsmann and they’re not known to many of the teams left in the Champions League.

However, they are losing so many scoring opportunities without Timo Werner and they have some injury problems. Who is scoring the goals and who is going to be the next Werner in this team? Right now, Nagelsmann has to come up with a solution that I can’t see at the moment…

Key player

I think they will rely on more than one player. I think Schick would be the logical option to fill in but he’s only on loan at the moment. I’m really excited about Olmo and Nkunku, but they’re attacking midfielders not strikers.


I would have tipped them if Werner had stayed because they can take out any opponent. But Atletico could be the kryptonite to this Leipzig. If they beat Atletico, which I don’t see happening right now, they are a perfect fit to go all the way…

Barcelona can sign Lautaro Martinez... IF they sell big star - Euro Papers

FRANCE (Cyril Morin)


  • Last competitive match: July 31 (but Ligue 1 cancelled in March)
  • Domestic league: Ligue 1 champions
  • Champions League date/opponent: Atalanta (quarter-finals), August 12

Strengths and weaknesses

Their main power is their strikers. They have Neymar, Mauro Icardi, they may have Angel Di Maria back for the semi-finals and maybe Kylian Mbappe too. The quality of the players is their main advantage.

The real weakness is their mentality. Can PSG overcome their complex in the Champions League, where they’ve lost so many games because they weren’t good enough in the head?

Key player

Neymar, it’s the obvious answer. He wasn’t there at the critical moment in the last two years. PSG is expecting a lot from him – that’s why he came, to win this type of competition.


This year there is a big, big chance. But a potential semi-final with Atletico Madrid is the worst match-upthey could face and they have to overcome this mental complex to win something huge.

Did Covid-19 actually ruin Cristiano Ronaldo's PSG dream? - Euro Papers


  • Last competitive match: July 31 (but Ligue 1 cancelled in March)
  • Domestic league: 7th in Ligue 1
  • Champions League date/opponent: Juventus (last 16), August 7 - Lyon lead 1-0 from first leg

Strengths and weaknesses

Lyon can win every game, they can lose every game. But they have players like Memphis Depay who can be on fire on one night and win a game on their own.

However, their defence is terrible, and they don’t have the same quality of players as the other teams. So it’s complicated for them, but they have the spirit.

Key player

Depay or Houssem Aouar. Those are the two players who could bring some magic. But the other player who is very important is Bruno Guimaraes, who arrived in January and had a sensational second half of the season. These three key players might change Lyon’s destiny.


They confront Juventus. Cristiano Ronaldo will be upset about the first result. I’m not sure Lyon have the guts to go so far in the Champions League and pass Juventus.

Lyon's Dutch forward Memphis Depay

Image credit: Getty Images

ITALY (Simone Eterno)


  • Last competitive match: August 1
  • Domestic league: Serie A champions
  • Champions League date/opponent: Lyon (last 16), August 7 - Lyon lead 1-0 from first leg

Strengths and weaknesses

Actually, the only strength right now is Cristiano Ronaldo. The team isn’t playing very well. OK, they won their ninth Serie A in a row, but they have so many problems.

Their weaknesses are pretty clear. Conceding a lot of goals – the first time a league winner has conceded more than 40 goals since 1960-61 – and they have to sort it out.

Key player

Yes, you get shocked by the numbers of Cristiano Ronaldo, but he is not the key player for Juventus. It’s Paulo Dybala. He’s the man who grabbed the team post-lockdown and scored important goals and kept the attack together. They need his genius, but the problem is that he’s injured. At this moment, there’s a very low possibility he will be in the line-up against Lyon.


I don’t think Juventus will make it past Lyon. They’re conceding too many goals. And they struggle to score. The numbers of Cristiano obscure the reality – they are not actually creating so many real chances, moments where you say ‘OK, they’re going to score one, two, three…’


  • Last competitive match: August 1
  • Domestic league: 7th in Serie A
  • Champions League date/opponent: Barcelona (last 16), August 8 - scores tied 1-1 from first leg

Strengths and weaknesses

Napoli’s main strength is their manager, Genero Guttuso. He built a team again – and when I say built, I mean everything. Napoli had a lot of problems at the beginning of the season, players fighting with the president over salaries, and problems with the fans. Their disaffection was something very strange for Naples. They normally love their team. Guttuso rebuilt the spirit.

Their weakness? Only that it’s difficult to go to Barcelona and get something in this kind of game…

Key player

I would say Dries Mertens. Of course, they need to keep it tight at the back so it would be easy to pick a defender – Kalidou Koulibaly or Kostas Manolas – but the fact is they also need to score. And their best man in terms of scoring is Mertens.


I’m very curious about Barcelona. Their team isn’t doing that well. If Napoli find the perfect match, they can make it past them. I would say their last 16 match is 65-35 in Barca’s favour.

Dries Mertens

Image credit: Getty Images


  • Last competitive match: August 1
  • Domestic league: 3rd in Serie A
  • Champions League date/opponent: PSG (quarter-finals), August 12

Strengths and weaknesses

Atalanta are about goals, goals, goals. They play fast attractive football. The stop for the coronavirus pandemic didn’t seem to affect them at all because they started with the same rhythm that they left – I haven’t seen any other team do that in Europe. For real, the best Italian team this year.

They accept that they won’t keep many clean sheets and are happy with one v one situations in defence. The team is built to score, especially the wingers Robin Gosens, Timothy Castagne and Hans Hateboer.

Key player

The key player is still Papu Gomez. He’s able to switch the game from one wing to the other and that’s what manager Gian Piero Gasperini wants.


I would say Atalanta v PSG is 50-50. It’s very open. Atalanta’s intensity could bring some trouble to PSG. If they go into the semi-finals, it would be interesting seeing Atalanta v Atletico Madrid – because of the two different philosophies. If it’s Leipzig, Atalanta have a chance to reach the final.

SPAIN (Agustin Galan)

Real Madrid

  • Last competitive match: July 19
  • Domestic league: La Liga champions
  • Champions League date/opponent: Manchester City, August 7 - City lead 2-1 from first leg

Strengths and weaknesses

Real Madrid are on a very good run. They haven’t lost a match since the restart and were impressive in the final game of La Liga.

But Manchester City have an advantage – and not only in the scoreline. The absence of Sergio Ramos from the second leg after his red card back in February could be very troubling for Real Madrid. They will be without his leadership, which could be crucial in the final few minutes if the result is tight.

Key player

Karim Benzema. He’s a striker but also a good No.10. He’s the most inspired player in Zinedine Zidane’s team.


It will be very difficult for Real Madrid. In La Liga, they knew Barcelona had some problems. In the Champions League, that’s not the case. But Real can do it. If they can catch City on the counter-attack, they have a chance of a comeback.

Lionel Messi wants Phil Foden at Barcelona – Euro Papers


  • Last competitive match: July 19
  • Domestic league: La Liga runners-up
  • Champions League date/opponent: Napoli (last 16), August 8 - scores tied 1-1 from first leg

Strengths and weaknesses

Lionel Messi can win a match on his own. Luis Suarez can too. It’s very difficult as they’re not in a good moment and it’s a big relief for them that La Liga has ended. Everything depends on Messi and his desire to win.

The main problem is their amount of injuries – Clement Lenglet, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Samuel Umtiti are all out. They also won’t have Sergio Busquets or Arturo Vidal against Napoli due to suspension. They have a lot of problems with the defence too.

Key player

Lionel Messi, obviously. But if things start going wrong for Barcelona, I think Marc-Andre ter Stegen could be the saviour. So their No.10 and No.1.


Barcelona are favourites to go through but they seem like they were not enjoying playing football at the end of the Liga season. For me, it’s a very strange match because Napoli finished competing in Serie A last weekend – that could be an interesting advantage for Gennaro Guttuso.

Atletico Madrid

  • Last competitive match: July 19
  • Domestic league: 3rd in La Liga
  • Champions League date/opponent: RB Leipzig (quarter-finals), August 13

Strengths and weaknesses

They’re in a very good moment. Atletico is all about physicality. The fact that the Champions League has been reduced to one-off matches could be a great chance for them to finally win the title. They feel this is their year.

Their main weakness is that they are the favourites on their half of the draw. They think RB Leipzig is not as strong as, say, Bayern Munich or Manchester City. That’s risky. Whenever Atletico has been the main candidate, they have struggled a lot. They have to be very aware of their situation.

Key player

Alvaro Morata and Diego Costa have some problems scoring goals, while Marcos Llorente has been a big surprise. He signed as a holding midfield but Diego Simeone has made a good striker out of him. This will be surprising for rival coaches.


Atletico should beat Leipzig but it will be a very tight match.

Diego Simeone

Image credit: Eurosport

UK (Pete Sharland)


  • Last competitive match: August 1
  • Domestic league: 4th in Premier League
  • Champions League date/opponent: Bayern Munich (last 16), August 8 - Bayern lead 3-0 from first leg

Strengths and weaknesses

Chelsea are really exciting going forward. There are a lot of things to like – pace, creativity and since the lockdown ended the team understands what Frank Lampard is trying to get them to do.

The weakness is obviously that they can’t defend at all. Their goalkeeper is either nearly a 40-year-old man (Willy Caballero) or the most expensive in the world who no one trusts under any circumstances. And it doesn’t really matter which of the eight defenders Lampard picks, none of them seem to have any idea what they’re doing. They don’t seem keen on marking as a concept.

Key player

You would have said before the FA Cup final that it was Christian Pulisic. But the odds are that he won’t be able to play, so then it probably becomes Mason Mount. If Chelsea are going to get anything out of the game in Munich, they need to have Mount running the show.


Chelsea are going out – but I could see them getting a draw on the night in Munich.

Barcelona and Manchester City plot surprise summer swap deal - Euro Papers

Manchester City

  • Last competitive match: July 26
  • Domestic league: Premier League runners-up
  • Champions League date/opponent: Real Madrid, August 7 - City lead 2-1 from first leg

Strengths and weaknesses

They can score any number of goals against any opposition on any given day. Even without Sergio Aguero, there’s so much in their team that you like the look of.

The weakness is the defence. Since lockdown, teams have been having a go at City – it doesn’t always work but it can be done. The crucial thing is that Real Madrid will have players like Eden Hazard back.

Key player

If City are going to get anything out of the match with Real Madrid, Kevin De Bruyne needs to play like he did in the first leg, which was unbelievable.


I think City will go through after a high-scoring draw against Real. Those two away goals are critical. In a one-off showdown, I think they’ll go far. Do I think they’ll win it? No.

Premier League
Havertz: I don't feel pressure to live up to German record price tag
Bale and Reguilon Spurs deals to be done on Friday