Real Madrid smashed Juventus 3-0. Bayern Munich got past Sevilla 2-1 on the road. Barcelona played like shit and still beat Roma 4-1. Liverpool stunned Manchester City 3-0 at Anfield. So do we even need to watch the second legs of the Champions League quarterfinals? One website says no. We disagree, and not just because we want more of your precious clicks.
Fivethirtyeight.com, a stellar analyst of statists in sports, politics and more, has given probabilities of clubs reaching each round all throughout the UCL season. After the first legs of the Champions League quarterfinals this week, each winning club is given at least a 93 percent chance to advance to the semifinals. With such a high unlikelihood of any of this week’s losers advancing, is it worth your time to tune in next week?
Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have 98 percent chances of moving on to the semifinals. The latter two play at home while Barcelona has that dude Lionel Messi. Liverpool has a measly 93 percent chance to hold off Pep Guardiola’s squad of savants.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 4, 2018
It would be easy to write off the second legs of the Champions League quarterfinals altogether given these stats, but we know better — and we’re sure you do too.
You don’t have to look back far to see large first-leg deficits overcome in the Champions League knockout rounds. While rare, they’re not unheard of, and you’ve probably already guessed the one we’re going to mention first.
Just last year, Barcelona trailed 4-0 after the first leg against Paris Saint-Germain. It looked like it was all over but the crying for the Blaugrana. But then we all know how that turned out.
In the 2004 Champions League quarterfinals, AC Milan routed Deportivo La Coruña 4-1 in the first leg only to lose the second leg 4-0 to crash out.
There have been eight comebacks from two goals down after the first leg in the Champions League era, most recently when Real Madrid won 3-0 to overturn a 2-0 loss to Wolfsburg in the first leg. Porto beat Bayern 3-1 in the 2015 quarterfinals only to lose the return leg 6-1. Chelsea and Barcelona have both overturned two-goal deficits twice in the knockout rounds, while Monaco and Manchester United have completed similar turnarounds.
While Juventus, Roma and City have massive three-goal deficits heading into the second leg, we all know nothing is impossible in football. We’ve all seen the unlikeliest of events happen before, so we all eagerly await what might happen next in the second legs of the Champions League quarterfinals.