View from Europe: Who will win the Champions League?
With the Champions League semi-final draw coming up on Friday, we gathered the opinions from our journalists around Europe to see who they think will take the title.
France - Laurent Vergne
Considering the situation in France, Monaco winning it all would be an absolutely awesome story. Because this is a young, exciting team and a club which was in Ligue 2 only 4 years ago. But let’s think with our head, not our heart. The recent past could lead you to bet on an 3rd final between Real and Atletico in four years, but maybe this is Juventus’s time.
Two years ago, they were almost there, but probably not ready yet. They have all the tools to win this time though. The way they’ve beaten Barcelona says a lot about them and will give them a lot of confidence going in the final stages. This is a talented, balanced and experienced squad. And I like to think that Mr. Destiny will finally give a kiss to grandpa Gigi Buffon.
Germany - Benjamin Heckner
An expert defensive performance, players with a huge tactical discipline – the “Old Lady” is ready for the title. The result against Barcelona will give Juventus plenty confidence heading into the semi-final – whoever is waiting for them. And after the very close knock-outs in the last Champions League seasons the Bianconeri are craving for success. Juve is developing its team from season to season, the mix of experienced players like Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini with great talents like Paulo Dybala seems perfect.
Spain - Cristian Maxedo
All four teams have a chance, of course, but we will bet for Atletico Madrid because they have similar strengths to the other three sides:
- They have enough experience gathered in the last seasons as Real Madrid
- They have the same defensive power as Juventus, and are very similar in a defensive way to the Italians
- They have young and hungry players like Monaco
In addition, in our opinion they have the best goalkeeper (Oblak) and the best coach (Simeone) of the four teams. The weakest point could be the injuries (Juanfran and Vrsaljko are out at the moments so there is no right-sided defender, plus there may be midfield problems).
However, they do have the amazing Antoine Griezmann.
Italy - Alessandro Dinoia
Juventus have everything to win the Champions League. The success against Barcelona will give the Bianconeri confidence and they have the best defence in Europe. Allegri has also found the right system of play at European level, the 4-2-3-1. The attack is balanced and the explosiveness of Paulo Dybala can make the difference.
Bayern Munich could have posed a threat, but without the Germans there is no-one as solid as the Old Lady who now seems to have overcome the mental block she suffered in this competition. Two years ago the other three semi-finalists wanted to face Juventus, today everyone wants to avoid them. Buffon, at the age of 39, can finally realize his dream…
Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus celebrates after the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between FC Barcelona and JuventusGetty Images
Turkey - Meric Gursoy
While not playing great, they still defeated Bayern over two matches. Those are the footsteps of champions. Real may not playing their best football of season and look weaker than the others but they made the semi-finals somehow. Ronaldo and Co should be able to get that title.
Cristiano RonaldoGetty Images
England - Alex Chick
Seriously, why not? They might be underdogs, but have no doubt that this is a proper team. They have swept aside the likes of Tottenham, Manchester City and Dortmund – and they’re top of Ligue 1. They will have to conquer two of Europe’s biggest beasts to lift the European Cup, but Real, Atletico and Juventus can be got at – all three have quality and experience at the back but no great pace, and all three will be vulnerable to the skill and directness of players like Mbappe and Lemar. Monaco are playing with freedom, flair and confidence – and when the stars align for a team, anything is possible.