Accuscore's 2017/2018 Champions League Quarter-Finals Analysis and Predictions

UCL 2017/2018 Quarter-Finals

The UEFA Champions League returns with the quarter-final stage. Only the eight best teams remain and we’ve seen some big European giants falling in the earlier stages. No PSG, no Manchester United, no Chelsea nor Atletico Madrid. Yet there’re are the usual favorites still standing.

The first knockout round saw Manchester United surprised by Sevilla – although Sevilla’s success in Europe is not exactly a surprise. Their fantastic run last year seemed not to be a fluke, but they’ve shown impressive persistence even if things aren’t going that well in La Liga.

Juventus crushed the hopes of Tottenham after succumbing to a 2-2 draw at home by snatching a victory at Wembley and returning to top-8. Real Madrid and Barcelona did the same for PSG and Chelsea respectively and in the end there was no question of the Spanish giants’ superiority. Bayern München destroyed Besiktas in both legs but got out easy, as did Liverpool against Porto and Manchester City against Basel – despite losing the second leg at home 2-1. AS Roma rose above their counterpart Shaktar Donetsk by the slimmest of margins, winning 1-0 at home after losing 2-1 in Ukraine.

The draw for quarter-finals featured no limitations and this is how the pairs turned out:

Barcelona

 

Sevilla

 

Juventus

 

Liverpool

AS Roma

 

Bayern München

 

Real Madrid

 

Manchester City

 

The last season’s final is repeated already in the quarter-final stage as Juventus take on Real Madrid in a grudge matchup. Elsewhere, the English were drawn together which means there’ll be one English team in top-4. Arguably the easiest matchup fell for FC Barcelona, who’ll face AS Roma who are barely hanging in top-3 in Serie A this season – never to be underestimated though. Sevilla will provide ample opposition to Bayern, but the Germans are once again big favorites to progress.

The Accuscore simulation engine runs each game 10 000 times to provide a detailed forecast on each encounter. Those probabilities allow us to determine which team is the most likely to progress to the semi-finals and ultimately to the grande finale, played May 26 in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.

Expert Analysis

Barcelona – AS Roma

Barcelona has taken the domestic La Liga by storm this season, even if they were supposed to have problems after the departure of Neymar and incapability to strengthen the defense. They’ve looked as good as ever and with Leo Messi playing perhaps his best football as of yet, are heavy favorites to go all the way in the UCL as well. Sergio Busquets’ injury might hinder their chances just a bit, but AS Roma should be a piece of cake. Roma has somewhat stumbled in Serie A and are in danger of falling out of top three. They do, however, possess quality defense and a system to kill off Barcelona’s ball control game. Keeping the score low and hitting back on counter-attack is key for Roma, while Barcelona will keep the ball and attack from the kick-off. Barcelona walks through to the semi-finals with 67% probability, according to the simulations.

Sevilla – Bayern München

Another great run by Sevilla is likely to end against the German behemoths. While Sevilla has played remarkably well when need be, this time the opposition is simply too good if compared to, for example, Manchester United. In addition, domestically Sevilla still needs to battle for European seeding, currently being only 7th while Bayern is as usual on top of Bundesliga with no worry in the world. Bayern had rather easy route through so far and Sevilla will pose a bigger threat than Besiktas, but nothing the Germans haven’t handled before. Bayern is likely to win both legs and roll through to the semi-finals. In Accuscore simulations, Bayern will progress by 64% probability.

Juventus – Real Madrid

Arguably the most intriguing matchup in the quarter-finals pits the last year’s finalists against one another. Real Madrid won it all last season, but they’ve somewhat struggled domestically this season. In UCL, however, it’s been all fun and games. They’re essentially out of La Liga title race, so winning the UCL is the only goal remaining. They’ve been impressive with Cristiano Ronaldo back in his best form and look quite unstoppable at best. If there’s a team that has something to prove, it’s Juventus. Filled with smart players and a playing style capable of stopping any offense, they crashed hard in last year’s final. Now it’s time to make up for it and their clinical performance against Spurs is encouraging – but will it be enough against the superstars of Real? According to Accuscore’s simulations its close, but no dice: Real Madrid will progress by 60% probability.

Liverpool – Manchester City

Another spectacle worth waiting for, with the old English football giant faces a new English football giant. City has clinched the Premier League title and can concentrate 100% to the UCL. Liverpool still has a bit to play domestically, standing third in EPL. Both teams went plowed through the first knockout stage without much effort, but the opposition was weak at best. It’s a whole new ballgame when the domestic rivals meet and it can go either way. In EPL, the encounters have finished in home victories in both occasions, with City blasting 5-0 win at home and Liverpool taking 4-3 win at Anfield. City has an edge with clear lead in EPL and better overall quality – especially the back four – but Liverpool fields a red hot attacking trio in Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. In Accuscore simulations, both teams are likely to score a lot of goals and have the edge at home, but City will progress with 54% probability.