Barcelona and Frankfurt, Lyon and West Ham, and Atalanta and Leipzig are all level going into the second legs of the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.
Barcelona is gearing up for a showdown with Frankfurt.
Barcelona has been transformed since the arrival of Xavi Hernández. They may have a slim chance of denying Real Madrid the Spanish title, but they still have a chance to win the UEFA Europa League/UEFA Cup for the first time. The Bundesliga side did not have an easy time in the first leg against Frankfurt, but they will be expecting no mercy at Camp Nou.
However, Oliver Glasner’s team is hardly a pushover; they are unbeaten in Europe this season (W3 D1), scoring at least once in each game. They held Barcelona despite playing the final 12 minutes of the first leg with 10 men after Tuta’s dismissal, and they have no need to be scared as they prepare to travel to Spain. “Everyone saw see we can compete with them,” said Ansgar Knauff, who scored the game’s first goal.
Lyon readied himself for a barrage of Hammers punches.
On paper, a 1-1 draw in London appears to be a decent result, but Lyon returned to France disappointed, having failed to take the lead despite playing the second half with ten men.
“Normally, if you play against 10, you should win,” confessed Lyon coach Peter Bosz, but Lyon will hurl everything at West Ham in the rematch, despite being considerably below the pace in Ligue 1.
Left-back The dismissal of Aaron Cresswell deprives the Hammers of a crucial player for the decider, but while they showed tremendous character in the face of adversity, manager David Moyes was disappointed with his side when they were reduced to 11 men. Jarrod Bowen, who scored the game’s first goal, predicts a more fluid performance in France, saying: “We weren’t at our best, but we did create opportunities. We’ll take it to the next level, and we’ll be dangerous.”
Rangers want to make up for their loss to Braga.
After his team’s tight setback in Portugal, Giovanni van Bronckhorst shrugged, “It’s a one-goal difference.” “We’re back at home in the second leg, with the ground behind us. To advance to the semi-finals, we need to win by a two-goal margin; we know what we’re up against.” On paper, everything appears straightforward, but with striker Alfredo Morelos out for the remainder of the season, the Light Blues must find a way to stay competitive.
Carlos Carvalhal’s Braga were inches away from bringing a 2-0 lead to Scotland when Ricardo Horta hit the post.
They are not easily scared, and they will be aware that Rangers are still uneasy after a 2-1 home loss to Glasgow rivals Celtic earlier this month. The Arsenalistas were up 2-0 only to lose 3-2 the last time they visited Ibrox, and they may be tempted to go all out this time. “We will go there to win,” stated Abel Ruiz, who scored the game’s first goal.
More mayhem is on the way in Atalanta and Leipzig.
The first leg between Atalanta and Leipzig was bizarre; both teams struck the crossbar twice, Leipzig had a penalty saved, and the game could have ended 3-3, 4-4, or 5-5.
“We had more chances, and we’re unhappy because we thought we might win it,” Gian Piero Gasperini, the Atalanta manager, said ruefully. “It all starts over at 1-1.”
For much of the match, Atalanta was able to block Leipzig’s supply lines, and they will seek to take control of the game in the second leg, while their opponents may have similar plans. “We can’t only play on the counterattack,” observed Domenico Tedesco, who was born in Italy. “It’s all to play for in Bergamo,” said forward Emil Forsberg. “We feel like we have the quality to get the result we need.”