'All three teams could get eliminated' Spain's Champions League troubles - Inside Europe
Years of Spanish dominance in Europe's premier club competition could be coming to an end with the three remaining sides in this year's Champions League all at risk of last-16 exits following the first leg of their ties. Andres Weiss assesses the prospects of Real Madrid, Atleti and Villarreal before their return matches.
Spain’s European, and in particular, Champions League dominance this century is well known.
Since 2000, Real Madrid and Barcelona have shared ten titles between them with only England coming anywhere close with five wins across three clubs.
The times are changing however, with Real’s last win coming in 2018, and if one of the three Liga teams in this year’s competition fail to lift the trophy, it will be Spain’s longest ‘drought’ since 1997.
Things aren’t exactly looking rosy currently either. Having seen Barca dumped out in the group stage, Real Madrid are currently 1-0 down against PSG from the first leg of their last 16 tie, while Villarreal could only draw at home to Juventus ahead of a tough trip to Turin.
It was a similar story for Atletico, who allowed Manchester United a late equaliser in the home leg of their tie, meaning the likelihood of needing a win at Old Trafford.
Are we really seeing an end of an era for Spanish football in the Champions League after these last 16 games? Andres Weiss assesses the Liga sides’ prospects ahead of the second legs.
With none of three teams winning their first legs, is there a worry that there will be no Spanish teams in the quarter finals?
The fact that the away goals rule is no more is good news for Atletico Madrid and Villarreal, since they played well against Manchester United and Juventus respectively.
Real Madrid will now play at home where they've been strong this season, a fact that gives them hope. But there's a chance that the three teams will get eliminated in the second leg, you never know.
What seems to be the issue? Difficult draws or something more concerning about Spanish football at the moment?
The main fact is that Spanish teams usually play in La Liga with a lower rhythm these days and that penalises them when they have to play against teams from England, Italy, Germany or France, where the game is now more intense.
Villarreal put up a decent fight against Juventus but face a tough away trip - can Emery mastermind a victory in Turin? and how?
Dusan Vlahovic will be a big fear for Villarreal, but they've had two big wins in their last two away games (0-2 vs Betis, 1-4 vs Granada) and following the strategy employed in those matches will be the route Unai Emery has to continue.
How disappointing was it for Atleti to concede so late having failed to kill off the game against Manchester United?
It was bitterly disappointing. It was a very good game from Simeone’s side. They hit the bar twice, Griezmann’s effort could have killed the game, but Elanga's goal broke the good mood of Simeone and his players.
PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 15: Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain scores their team's first goal past Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League Round Of Sixteen Leg One match between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid at Parc des P
Image credit: Getty Images
Given their inconsistent form in La Liga, is there any optimism about getting a win at Old Trafford?
It wouldn't be surprising if it happens, since their inconsistency shows that literally anything can happen.
Add that to United's inconsistency, the second leg is an impossible one to predict.
All eyes will be on Madrid for the return match against PSG, how will Real approach the game if they are to overturn the 1-0 deficit?
The first key is the fact that Santiago Bernabéu will be at full capacity. However, they've not found it easy to score in their more recent games, and they haven't managed a goal in the first 45 minutes of their last seven games.
Everything is likely to be decided late in the game, just as it was in Paris.