14 August 2020 20:41
Game to watch – Barcelona v Bayern Munich Even without everything else that has gone on the Champions League quarter-finals are also not normal. Getting shunted into August and cut down to one leg is one thing; a last eight that features only two former winners is quite another. In the first two quarter-finals, Atalanta came agonisingly close to stunning PSG, while RB Leipzig continued their energy-drink-fuelled adventures by knocking out perennial Champions League nearly men Atletico Madrid. Barcelona's La Liga title defence was already on its arse before lockdown came along, while Bayern have concluded their traditional domestic league success while cutting a brutal swathe through the Champions League. Their own ridiculous form and the one-leg format leaves them pursuing a frankly ludicrous achievement: a flawless Champions League season.
As the 2018/19 season played out, there was a suggestion that Liverpool and Manchester City would have been quite happy to trade trophies. Everyone left in the Champions League will inevitably be seeing this as a great opportunity: No Liverpool, no Real Madrid, no Tottenham. By the time City take on Lyon, either Barcelona or Bayern Munich will also be safely out of the picture. He's done that a few times," said Solskjaer, who had challenged Martial in pre-season to prove himself worthy of the No. 9 shirt he had reclaimed as a result of Romelu Lukaku's departure. He was the difference-maker on a difficult night against Copenhagen in the last eight; now he will again be the focus as United look to take care of Europa League specialists Sevilla in the last four.
Bayern have already won the Bundesliga and DFB Pokal Cup this season. Can you name the XIs that Atletico Madrid played in their last three European finals? Bayern Munich are European football royalty: easily the biggest side in Germany and five-times winners of the Champions League. But the Bavarians aren't always successful in the Champions League final. After winning the trophy three years on the trot in the 70s, Bayern had to wait a long time to hold it again; they won the Champions League in 2001, however, either side of Real Madrid victories.
Both midfielders start tonight at The Stoop and while Rohan Janse van Rensburg will come back into the picture at some point, there's a lot to like about the Hill-Tuilagi pairing. Steve Diamond admitted this week that hopefully Sale will be able to play Tuilagi in 14 matches next season, but Hill will be around throughout and the underrated centre can make a huge impact for Sale. Lood de Jager, the World Cup winner, will feel practically like a new signing as well in Sale's engine room, with the Sharks picking eight Springboks. As for Harlequins there are welcome returns for Mike Brown from injury and Joe Marchant from New Zealand, where the England centre impressed during his spell with the Blues. Rugby on TV this weekend: Gallagher Premiership 2019-20 round 14 preview, kick-off times, table and predictions Everything you need to know about this weekend's games as Premiership rugby restarts The Premiership form guide is nearly half-a-year old and best defenestrated, so predictions for this weekend will primarily be based around the squads selected, favoured styles of play and what the capricious weather feels like doing. The tantalising return of Joe Marchant from Super Rugby will be the most exciting thing about Friday night for fans of the hosts – who will be keen to see what he's picked up from the likes of Beauden Barrett and Dan Carter despite limited Aotearoa gametime. Otherwise, the prospect of a visit from a grizzled Sale side – who have added a sure-to-start Manu Tuilagi to their centre alongside ex-Chiefs new man Sam Hill – is one none too welcome. Quins' race for European competition next season starts with a difficult first hurdle as Sale's aims will be a little loftier, and the Sharks should expect to have too much quality (see also a long-awaited start for World Cup-winner Lood de Jager) and take the spoils on Friday night at the Stoop. Ex-Wasps man Billy Searle will also start at fly-half. Meanwhile, Jonny May will play his first game for Gloucester for three years with Ollie Thorley on the other wing and Louis Rees-Zammit on the bench. Henry Slade and Ollie Devoto start in the centre outside fly-half and captain Joe Simmonds, while the pack looks set to dominate in their familiarly brutal style. For the Tigers, it's a new-look team, with an established pack supported by some fresh faces in a debut for Scotland centre Matt Scott, Nottingham loanee David Williams on the wing, and new recruits Luke Wallace and Zack Henry in line to debut from the bench. Captain Charlie Ewels is set to make his 100th run out for Bath in front of a stacked back-row at the Rec. England's Zach Mercer and Sam Underhill start as flankers while Wales No. 8 Taulupe Faletau starts in the usual role, in front of new signing from Saracens Ben Spencer. For Bristol Bears, Fijian star Semi Radradra makes debut, at outside centre; Kyle Sinckler, the England tighthead prop signed from Harlequins, joins Saracens loanee Ben Earl, the England flanker, on the bench – or "system players", as Bristol's director of rugby Pat Lam has dubbed them. Saracens' team shows the way their squad has changed during the summer, as Alex Goode switches full-back to fly-half, and there are starts for four England forwards – Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola – alongside five Premiership debutants across the 23. Harry Mallinder gets a start on the wing ahead of the benched Taqele Naiyarovoro for the hosts, and excitement brews as Alex Mitchell gets a start at scrum-half. Jimmy Gopperth will start at inside centre for the visitors, outside young fly-half Jacob Umaga, who will hope for a good platform from a determined back-row of Jack Willis, Thomas Young and Brad Shields.