Madrid already knows the seven possible rivals that could touch them in the second round of the Champions League. The white team, the only Spanish survivor in the top continental competition, will know their opponent in the draw next Monday in Nyon (12:00). The emergence of PSG as one of the second, finally, draws a more complicated picture for Madrid, which should also avoid Liverpool. The matches will be played on February 14-15 and 21-22, in the first leg, and March 7-8 and 14-15, 2023, in the second leg. This is the analysis of all of them:
By name, one of the great threats. He was the white rival in the last Champions League final and maintains the block of these years, in addition to having signed Darwin Núñez. Still, his start to the season is not good. He is far from the top in the Premier and passed as second in the group in Europe behind Napoli. It is also true that his seasons usually go from less to more. Meeting Liverpool in February will have little to do with Liverpool now. Players like Darwin and Salah, for example, are starting to pick up steam now.
The great revelation of the Champions. He lost the lead on the last matchday against Leverkusen, but left out the Germans and Atlético. A very dynamic team, with a Jutglá in a state of grace and Vanaken’s hierarchy in midfield, even Mignolet has performed as a goalkeeper despite his experience. The class drops are put by Noah Lang. In his stadium it is difficult to beat, although he drops quite a few points at home. He is not doing well in the Jupiler League and it is unknown if he will perform as well in February.
He left Barcelona out, although against Bayern the seams were seen. He doesn’t seem as competitive an Inter as in recent seasons and even so he has managed to get into the round of 16, which is something that he had resisted lately. Lukaku’s physical problems will be resolved by February, presumably, and the presence of Lautaro or Dzeko remains a threat. Fundamental Nicoló Barella in midfield, as well as Inzaghi’s wonderful lanes: Dimarco on the left, Dumfries on the right.
Facing the Germans would be to repeat the last European Super Cup, in which Madrid was superior. What Glasner is doing with this team is highly commendable. He left Kostic and despite this the team is competitive. Special mention for Kamada, at a high level, and Kolo Muani and Lindstrom, two extremely dangerous players with spaces and on the counterattack. If he manages to be a little more consistent in defense, he is a dangerous opponent despite the fact that he has rarely managed to be at this stage of the Champions League.
He was beaten by Chelsea in the double confrontation of his group and until the last minute he could not sentence his pass against Salzburg. It is the Milan champion of last season with some new nuance. Ibrahimovic is no longer the most decisive footballer, and others like Giroud are gaining weight. It will be interesting to see if Brahim returns to the Bernabeu in another team’s shirt. Sandro Tonali is the boss in midfield and is expected to have his starting goalkeeper Maignan back by February.
A Dortmund already without Haaland, but improved in many aspects. Especially defensively with the arrivals of Süle and Schlotterbeck, who have given him a consistency that he didn’t have. He was behind City in the group, but competing quite well against them. In attack, and in the absence of Haller due to a testicular tumor, youngsters like Moukoko and Adeyemi have grown. Despite this, the team’s soccer boss is Reus and due to the solution of his physical problems, it happens that Dortmund can look at Madrid face to face.
They won in Turin on the last day, but Benfica took the lead with an epic night in Israel. He has made the same mistakes that the Parisian team has almost always made in the Champions League. Little rhythm and everything trusting to what the three above do. Messi is giving the best version ever in Paris, Neymar has also hit his ceiling and Mbappé is still Mbappé. It should be enough, but the defensive problems, even with Ramos, haven’t gone away and the ghosts of the Champions League appear one year in and the other too. Still, a danger.