Juventus is one point from eight-straight Scudetto, Man City is one game from second title this season, Bayern is once again leader of the Bundesliga - we bring out this and many other facts in the second episode of “Europe Throne”, Power Ranking of the best European clubs according to One Hash Team.
- Status quo maintained in top five
- New faces from Munich, London and Porto
- Paris Saint-Germain’s blessing in disguise
1. Manchester City (-)
Pep Guardiola’s boys stayed at the top because they are recurrent like no other team on the continent. They haven’t lose a single point since 29th January and sensational 1:2 defeat to Newcastle United. It was 14 won matches ago! The Citizens achieve their goals no matter what. They didn’t play outstanding football against Brighton in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final but even though got through. If they win against Watford in final, the second title this season will come to Etihad Stadium. But that’s only the beginning, British media increasingly talk about Quadruple’s chances which shouldn’t come as a surprise. This team was designed for great, historical things. The Citizens will put another step on the road to eternity on Tuesday, facing Tottenham at Londoner’s new magnificent stadium in Champions League quarter-final. - “I don’t care about it (the stadium). I care about the team we play. Everybody talks about it like it’s something special. But it’s not” - Kevin de Bruyne’s words say everything. It’s not City that should be afraid of anyone. It’s everyone that should be afraid of City.
2. Juventus (-)
No Ronaldo, no party? Apparently only in Madrid. Juventus didn’t need its injured superstar to once again manage brilliantly in Serie A. After prestigious 2:1 triumph over Milan and Napoli’s 1:1 draw with Genoa Juve’s only one point from eight straight (!) Serie A trophy. It’s obvious another Scudetto won’t be enough for Massimiliano Allegri’s players, this week they will visit Amsterdam to continue road for Champions League trophy. More importantly, with Cristiano Ronaldo on board. According to Allegri, Portuguese should be fit and ready on Tuesday. Champions League is arguably his competition, so be afraid, Ajax. Be really afraid.
3. FC Barcelona (-)
With Catalan side this season is the same old story over and over again. When Ernesto Valverde needs it, Leo Messi & Luis Suarez get the team out of trouble. Situation looked exactly this way on Saturday, in LaLiga’s clash against Atletico. Barcelona suffered for 85 minutes of goalless draw but then two heroes come to the rescue at an interval of 60 seconds. Due to goals of Suarez and Messi Spanish reigning champs are on the highway to defend the title, being 11 points ahead of second Atleti. With Champions League the situation looks different. Blaugrana is rather favourite of Wednesday’s quarter-final against Manchester United but tight schedule can be a problem. Between last game and upcoming match at Old Trafford Barcelona will have only three full days of rest while Red Devils can rely on as much as eight free days. This difference may be crucial.
4. Liverpool (-)
“We are doing well in Champions League and Premier League, so we just need to savour these moments and enjoy them. That's it. We have to be really focused and motivated to achieve these goals” - Sadio Mane’s quotes maybe perfectly summarize Liverpool’s attitude under Juergen Klopp. In German coach’s world joy of football is always the most important thing. Joy for both players and fans. Joy that can now maybe only growth due to Mohamed Salah’s comeback. Egiptian King scored on Friday’s 3:1 triumph over Southampton, ending goal drought that lasted eight games and two months. Moment to shine seems perfect, with five matches in 17 upcoming days - including Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final vs Porto at Anfield - Liverpool’s gonna need its biggest star in perfect shape.
5. Ajax Amsterdam (-)
All of neutral fans favorite European team showed how to kill two birds with one stone. Preparations to Wednesday’s Champions League quarter final with Juventus didn’t stop Ajax from returning to top of domestic table. Youthful and exciting squad from Amsterdam won 4:1 against Willem II and due to PSV’s 3:3 draw with Vittese became Eredivie’s leader for the first time this season. However, Ajax get all the recognition for Champions League matches. According to its former winger Jesper Olsen capital club can reach far higher than Europe’s best eight. "I think they're capable of it winning it, of course. Their youth, they're fearless, they’re fantastic” - Olsen told Omnisport. OneHash Team wholeheartedly agree with this opinion. Just watch that video and don’t ask us why.
6. Bayern Munich (New Entry)
That’s how you show who’s the boss in your country. After hopeless defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League it may have seemed that Bayern’s season is dead and gone but Bavarians came back from the dead in only a week. And did it in some style! First there was kind of weird but still entertaining 5:4 win over Heidenheim in DFB Pokal. Second came 5:0 thrashing of Borussia Dortmund which helped reigning champs return to the top of the table. So now everything is back in their hands. The season that was once seen as a failure actually can end up pretty solid for Bayern, with first domestic trophy double since 2016.
7. Tottenham (New Entry)
Except easy win against Borussia at the beginning, March was a nightmare for Londoners. At the time they drew one and lost two of three Premier League matches. Nevertheless April seems like a breath of fresh air for them. Tottenham finally got the three points, beating 2:0 Crystal Palace at the opener of club’s 62,062-seater stadium. Experts say that new ground can take Spurs to the new level while Mauricio Pochettino defines Champions League quarter-final against Man City as one of the biggest nights in his coaching career. Vibes are once again good for Argentinian coach’s side. Expectations are even higher
8. Manchester United (two down)
Football that United’s showed in the last two games didn’t convince anyone. Although it was enough to secure 2:1 triumph over Watford but couple days later Wolverhampton exposed all of the issues that the Red Devils struggle with and won 2:1. Hopes at Old Trafford are for sure lower than last week and team’s style bothers fans the most ahead of clash with Barcelona in the Champions League. Although it’s always worth to believe and try. “Anything’s possible. We weren’t expected to get past PSG but we did that. Now it can be similiarly” - club legend Andrew Cole told Manutd.com before Wednesday's tie. It’s hard to argue with 47-years-old Englishman. Especially if you have a manager that once did some incredible things at Camp Nou.
9. FC Porto (New Entry)
At first glance the weakest of eight remaining teams in the Champions League, at second maybe one of the most underrated. It’s April already and Dragoes lost only five matches this season. They still fight for Primeira Liga title, having the same amount of points as table leaders Benfica. Players from Estadio do Dragao are consistent, play attractive football and came to Liverpool in good mood after prestigious 2:0 win over Boavista in city derby. Will it be enough for Juergen Klopp’s side on Tuesday? Hard to tell, anyhow we can expect that Portugueses will return from England with some scores on their mark. In this season they’ve finished only two matches with no goal.
10. Paris Saint Germain (-)
PSG could have been first champions of top five Europe’s leagues but failed to defeat Strasbourg on Sunday and only drew 2:2. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s unbelievable miss has flashed around the world and somehow summarized domestic season of Parisians. They can do whatever they want in their league but still be light years ahead of the others. Sunday’s game with Lille should do the job and bring second straight championship title to Paris.