The definition of the location for the final 8 of the Champions League was taken: Lisbon will be the host city for the final stretch of the continental competition.

PORTUGAL BEATS THE COMPETITION AND WILL HOST THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

It was a long process, since the stoppage of the 2019/20 Champions League, going through the entire process of the disease control in Europe, the decision for the competition to return and now defining the location.

Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to maintain the original format, with two-legged ties, each one on the club’s stadiums, with the teams enjoying their respective home advantage. The schedule has very few dates available and that made UEFA take the decision of making a short tournament, in one single location.

Originally the host of this edition of the Champions League final would be Istanbul, in Turkey, and the country’s sports minister declared he was confident that the plans would be maintained by the organizational entity. However, besides Turkey, other countries showed their availability for the competition to be finished in their territory.

Spain was ready, offering Madrid as a host city for matches. Besides the Spaniards, Germany was a strong contender, due to the control of the outbreak in the county and the success that the return of the Bundesliga is being.

But on this Wednesday, June 17th, the UEFA’s competition director Giorgio Marchetti confirmed it is going to be Lisbon, in Portugal, the city to host the Champions League final stage. The matches will be played at Benfica’s Estádio da Luz and Sporting’s Estádio José Alvalade. The competition will have a duration of a little over 10 days, going from the 12th to the 23rd of August.

DUELS WILL HAVE ONLY ONE LEG!

The decision about the matches went further than the location where they will be played. The decisions about the quarter and semi-finals being single-legged encounters that decide the finalists, who will face off at Benfica’s Estádio da Luz.

The decision about the remaining matches of the 8th finals still wasn’t specified but there’s a trend that suggests the hosting teams should be able to play these matches at their own stadiums. An alternative would be playing those matches at FC Porto’s Estádio do Dragão.

There are 4 matches of the 8th finals left to be played. Real Madrid lost at home to Manchester City by 2-1 and now they will try to revert that difficult disadvantage in England. Another English club in this stage is Chelsea, who was battered by Bayern at Stamford Bridge with a 3-0 defeat.

This decision should be a mere formality and the German side should travel to Portugal in August. Napoli and Barcelona finished 1-1 in Italy and originally, they were going to face off at Camp Nou to decide their fate on the competition. The last spot will be between Lyon and Juventus.

The French side won the 1st leg by 1-0 and now they will have to contain Cristiano Ronaldo and his squad at the Juventus Stadium. These matches will take place between August 7th and 8th, on a location still to be announced.

WHAT CHANGES WITH ALL OF THESE DECISIONS?

The gates of the stadiums will remain closed, which means this condition of home advantage will still be inexistent for these matches. The technical aspect and the physical conditioning will be essential on each decision.

We should remind that some teams will have more time to prepare and that can make the difference. On this return, we might see those who were able to return with a best performance and those who aren’t able to impose their original characteristics within their domestic leagues. The French can be the ones who are hurt the most, since their national league still isn’t underway.

One-legged ties completely change the analysis. There isn’t a different approach already imagining the strategy for the 2nd match. The two teams will have their actions conditioned by the fear of conceding the eliminating goal or we could also see very intense matches in terms of marking.

The fact Portugal was chosen was probably due to the lack of a Portuguese club on the decisive stage, which means neither club has an advantage of playing closer to its training center or even in its own stadium.

OFFERED HELP

UEFA’s president said that the Portuguese FA was the first one to offer help. But there wasn’t a dispute, according to him, because Germany will host the Europa League’s matches and the Women’s Champions League will be decided in Spain.

It seems like these were right decisions to make and we will have great matches soon. The Champions League will return, and we will have a winner on the pitch, as the convention suggests. May the best team win!

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