By: Lawal Damilare
The UEFA Champions League has returned to action for the 2022/23 season with the round of 16. So far, a few teams have progressed to the next round. Benfica Lisbon ran past Club Brugge with a 7-1 aggregate scoreline in favour of the Portuguese outfit. Chelsea came from a first-leg deficit to send out German team, Borussia Dortmund in the second leg – the side notably missing fufu poster boy Karim Adeyemi. Bayern Munich sent Leo Messi and his PSG side back with 3 goals across both legs.
The tension builds up as we step into the next set of fixtures. Currently, Real Madrid is set to take on Liverpool in Spain, having put 5 through Alisson Becker at Anfield. Victor Osimhen’s Napoli head into the second leg against Frankfurt with a 2-goal advantage. Manchester City plays Leipzig with both holding it at a 1-1 draw in the first fixture. Rounding it, Inter Milan will take on FC Porto in the concluding fixture. As the quarter-finals approach, each team has a pretty decent chance of becoming the next champions of Europe.
In this piece, our correspondent samples the opinions of the University of Ibadan students on which side will emerge victors. Oluwole-Young Taiwo, of the department of petroleum engineering, believes that Madrid and Napoli have good chances of emerging at the top.
“For me, I think it’s over for Liverpool in the champions league. Overturning a 3-goal deficit against Madrid would be a miracle. I think Napoli has a good chance of emerging winners this year. But they’ll have to be at their very best. But overall, Madrid has the highest chance of winning the UCL again. I don’t see any team beating them at the moment.” He opined.
For Mr Shokunbi Abdulbasit Adebayo, a Manchester United Fan, Napoli has a good chance at winning with Victor Osimhen. In his words he says,
“For me …I believe Napoli will win the champions league because I think they have everything it takes to win the league…from attack to defence they are strong In each department, they are not phased by any opposition and I believe they’ll come out on top, put your money and Napoli and thank me later”
Arguably the biggest fixture left in this round is the faceoff between the Los Blancos and the Merseyside reds. With much ruling out the English side already, others predict that a comeback similar to Barcelona in 2018 might play out.
Daniel Chibueze, of the Faculty of Technology, is one of such strong believers. According to him
“I think Liverpool will win the champions league. They would overturn the 5-2 defeat to Real Madrid next week and then go ahead to win it. The UCL is the only competition that Liverpool is in apart from the premier league and are currently high in confidence from the 7 nil demolition, annihilation and destruction of Manchester United.”
Bayern Munich, currently bolstered by the rejuvenated Eric Maxim Choupo Moting, and the rising talent Jamal Musiala, remain strong favourites having gotten past the star-struck Parisiens in the knockout’s first tie.
Oyedele Bowofoluwa of the department of Geology thinks Bayern Munich would win the Champions League because they continue to be a very dominant team in Europe. A female student who prefers to remain anonymous pips Chelsea to lift the champions league. She says “they know how to come from an underdog spot to win and grab it, Chelsea would pull surprises”
Omonijo Oluwaseyi, another student of the department of Petroleum Engineering, reminds fans that winning cannot always be predicted by team strength.
“I‘m just a football fan, or even better, an Argentina fan. It’s been proven time and time again that it’s not always the team with the most obvious quality that wins the Champions League, it rarely is and Chelsea would always be a prime example. Given the wealth of experience and composure at their disposal from the coaching staff to the players, I see Real Madrid as the undisputed favourites”.
As the run-in to the final begins, it’s left to see if Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool can pull off a miracle or if Manchester City finally break free of the alleged Yaya Toure curse. Perhaps it would be Luciano Spalleti’s in-form Napoli that would cart away this edition. With the UEFA Champions League, nothing is certain. We just have to catch every moment as the tournament runs to the more interesting stages.