Barcelona, Frankfurt, Lyon, West Ham, Atalanta and Leipzig are still tied before the second leg of the European League quarter-final second leg, while Braga’s lead over Rangers is weak.
Barcelona prepares to face Frankfurt
Transformed since the arrival of Xavi Hernandez, FC Barcelona may have only a slim chance of denying Real Madrid the title of Spanish champion, but the first European title is still within reach. They didn’t have the easy first leg against Frankfurt but the La Liga side will be ruthless at the Camp Nou. As Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen said, “For the return, we know exactly what to do.”
However, Oliver Glasner’s team is not an easy opponent; They are unbeaten away from home in Europe this season, scoring at least once in each of those encounters. They managed to keep Barcelona even though the last 12 minutes of the first leg were reduced to ten minutes after Tota was sent off, no need to be intimidated when heading to Spain. “Everyone saw that we could compete with them,” Ansgar Knauf was the top scorer in the first leg.
Leon getting ready to hit the hammers
The 1-1 draw in London looked like a good result on paper, but Lyon returned to France with some regret, having failed to advance despite trailing tenfold in the entire second half. “If you play ten, normally you should win”, She conceded coach Peter Boss, but – a far cry from the pace of Ligue 1 – would give Lyon and West Ham their all in the second leg.
The exclusion of left-back Aaron Cresswell deprived the Hammers of a key man in the decisive game, but while they displayed great spirit in the face of adversity, manager David Moyes was not impressed with his squad when they were just 11. Striker Jarrod Bowen expects a smoother performance in France: “We were not at our best, but we created chances. We will move to another level and we will be dangerous.”
Rangers want to plug in Braga
“One goal difference” Giovanni van Bronckhorst shrugged his shoulders after his side’s narrow defeat in Portugal. “[Au match retour, nous sommes] The house, the land behind us. We have to win by two to go to the semi-finals; We know what task lies ahead.” The task looks simple on paper, but with striker Alfredo Morelos out until the end of the season, the Light Blues need to find a decisive advantage.
The young Braga side led by Carlos Carvalhal came close to coming to Scotland with a 2-0 lead, Ricardo Horta hitting the post. They don’t fear easily and won’t forget that Rangers are still shaky after their 2-1 home defeat to Celtic earlier this month. The last time Arsenalistas came to Ibrox, they went 2-0 up to lose 3-2, and they might be tempted to pull the divisions this time around. Top scorer Abel Ruiz said: “1-0 isn’t a huge advantage, but we’re going to go there to win.”
Atalanta and Leipzig expect more chaos
The first leg match between Atalanta and Leipzig was disrupted; Both teams hit the woods twice, Leipzig get a penalty, and if the match ends 1-1, it’s easy to 3-3, 4-4 or 5-5. “We had more chances and we were disappointed because we felt we could win”said Gian Piero Gasperini, Atalanta coach, disappointed. “Everything starts again from 1-1.”
Atalanta have managed to cut Leipzig’s supply lines through most of the confrontation, and will be looking to dominate the match in the second leg, although their guests may have similar thoughts. “We can’t just play on counter-attacks”, Italian-born coach Domenico Tedesco said. Striker Emil Forsberg added: “It’s all up to the victories in Bergamo and we believe we have the quality to deliver the result we need.”
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