Following two weeks in which:
– A five-year-old Kylian Mbappe scored a hat trick at Camp Nou against Barcelona.
– A four-year-old Erling Haaland scored two against Sevilla.
– A two month old Jamal Musiala scored his maiden Champions League goal.
– We all felt really, really old.
We’ve decided to switch the Definitive European Power Rankings a bit. Instead of ranking the 15 best teams in Europe, we’ve gone and taken quotes from the best films of the year 2000 and ranked the 16 teams left in the Champions League.
16. SS Lazio
“So long, boys. See you in the funny papers.” (O Brother, Where Art Thou?)
Yep, Lazio are very much out of the UEFA Champions League after their 4-1 thumping at the hands of Bayern Munich.
They are as out of a competition you can be while technically still being in it.
So long, Lazio, see you in the Europa League next season.
“Damn! We’re in a tight spot!” (O Brother, Where Art Thou?)
Damn! Barcelona are in one tight spot!
They’re five points adrift of Atletico Madrid in La Liga, basically out of the Champions League are their 4-1 defeat to PSG, and are roughly a trillion pounds in debt.
It’s not going well.
14. Borussia Monchengladbach
“I had power over nothing.” (Cast Away)
Everyone knew Borussia Monchengladbach had no chance against Man City, right?
At least they only lost 2-0. That’s something…we think.
13. Atletico Madrid
“Tommy, the tit, is praying. And if he isn’t, he f**kin’ should be.” (Snatch)
Diego Simeone you better be praying for a miracle in the second leg of Atletico Madrid’s last 16 tie with Chelsea, because you made a complete hash of that first leg.
12. RB Leipzig
“Who took the jam outta your doughnut?” (Snatch)
Honestly, we were expecting RB Leipzig to cause Liverpool a lot of problems last week – especially considering how poor the Reds have been in recently.
What we got instead was a rather tepid performance in which Leipzig’s attack was kept quiet by the quite-clearly-distinctly-average Ozan Kabak.
“For every action, there is a reaction.” (Snatch)
Yes, Sevilla did lose their first leg meeting with Borussia Dortmund, and, yes, they did concede three away goals, but you would be mad to think that this tie is over.
With Papu Gomez and co. in attack, expect a big second leg performance from Sevilla in a few weeks time.
“Where and when does this ‘real world’ occur?” (Almost Famous)
Question: Where and when do Juventus finally win the Champions League again?
Answer: Not sure on the venue, and probably not any time soon.
“Nothing happens to anyone that he is not fitted by nature to bear.” (Gladiator)
When Atalanta went down to ten men following a RIDICULOUS decision by the referee to send off Remo Freuler, everyone feared the worst.
A team, who’ve been in the Champions League twice in their history, down to ten men against a team that’s won 13 Champions League titles? Yeah…it seemed like it wasn’t going to end well for Atalanta.
But they, somehow, managed to hold Real Madrid to just one late goal, and in doing so they’ve given themselves some hope that they can go to Madrid in March and cause a big upset.
8. Real Madrid
“Who elected you leader of this outfit?” (O Brother, Where Art Thou?)
The man who scored the winner for Real Madrid was, weirdly, full-back Ferland Mendy.
The world class defender is slowly becoming a real leader for Los Blancos while the likes of Vinicius Junior, Marco Asensio and co. continue to be, well, pretty crap.
“Fit as a f**king fiddle.” (Wonder Boys)
We get that every centre back on Liverpool’s books is currently injured, but do you know who isn’t injured? The best footballer at the club.
That footballer is Mohamed Salah, and he seems hellbent on preventing Liverpool from regressing another further this season.
6. Borussia Dortmund
“What really matters is what you like, not what you are like… Books, records, films — these things matter. Call me shallow but it’s the f**kin’ truth.” (High Fidelity)
What really matters in football isn’t pass accuracy stats or xG, it is goal…goals in the league, cup and in Europe – these things matter. Call me shallow but it’s the f**kin’ truth.
That’s why everyone is so excited about Erling Haaland. The kid scores goals. A lot of them. All of the time.
“The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up is hard to do. It takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick it off with a killer to grab attention. Then you gotta take it up a notch. But you don’t want to blow your wad. So then you gotta cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.” (High Fidelity)
The making of a great Champions League performance:
You gotta kick if off with a killer early goal to stun your opponents. Then you gotta take it up a notch by not letting them touch the ball for the rest of the first half. Then up another notch with a goal at the start of the second half. So then you can cool it off a notch, but not too much, you don’t want to let them back in the game you just want to give your players a bit of a rest.
There are a lot of rules, and Porto so nearly followed them all against Juventus, but they did concede what could a crucial away late in the day to gift La Vecchia Signora a lifeline in the tie.
“Are you not entertained?” (Gladiator)
– The overhead kick vs. Atletico Madrid in the Champions League.
– The half-volley vs. Manchester United in the Premier League.
– The scorpion kick vs. Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
It’s official: Olivier Giroud exclusively scores great goals.
3. Manchester City
“It’s a symbol that we are sending the best! It’s a message that we’re going after their top guys.” (Traffic)
Manchester City’s recent form:
Goals scored: 49
Goals conceded: 6
Man City have sent a message to the rest of Europe – they’re going after the top guys in the Champions League.
2. Bayern Munich
“Your fame is well deserved.” (Gladiator)
After a pretty tepid start to 2021, Bayern proved to the rest of the Europe that they’re still one of the teams to beat in the Champions League with an absolute mauling of Lazio at Stadio Olimpico.
1. Paris Saint-Germain
“We have one of those conversations where everything clicks, meshes, corresponds, locks, where even our pauses, even our punctuation marks, seem to be nodding in agreement.” (High Fidelity)
At Camp Nou, Kylian Mbappe had one of those performances where everything just clicks, meshes, corresponds, where even the most speculative of shots on goal, even the most ludicrous bit of skill, seems to just work.
Those types of performances are becoming more and more regular from the future Ballon d’Or winner. It’s scary how good he is.