On June 20th, Italian top flight, Serie A, will return with an enticing clash between Torino and Parma, becoming the fourth and final top European league to resume.
Bundesliga, La Liga, Premier League, and Serie A — none of the four leagues have or will have the privilege of welcoming the fans to their cathedrals.
Yes, it’s far from ideal, but even closed-door encounters feel like an absolute win at this point — a monumental step towards normalcy.
Yet, until last week — even after the confirmation of league fixtures — football fanatics across the globe held their breath in anticipation of the announcement; the official verdict on the Champions League and the Europa League.
Following multiple rounds of discussion and debate, the committee has finally come to a conclusion: the tournaments will not be abandoned, and the remaining matches will be played out in a controlled environment.
The new normal
Yes, both the Champions League and the Europa League are set to re-commence, but not in a shape or form that we are familiar with.
As confirmed by the UEFA, both the Champions League and Europa League will have one-legged ties going forward.
The return leg of the remaining Round of 16 fixtures will be played first and will be followed swiftly by quarter-finals, semi-finals, and the two blockbuster finals.
Champions League 2.0
The most prestigious tournament in European football, the Champions League, will return on August 7th, with Round of 16 action.
Out of the four remaining Round of 16 matches — Manchester City vs Real Madrid, Juventus vs Lyon, Bayern Munich vs Chelsea, and Barcelona vs Napoli — two will be played on the 7th, while the remaining two will be played on the next day, August 8th.
Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, RB Leipzig, and Atalanta have already qualified for the quarter-finals.
After the RO16 ties are concluded, one-legged quarter-finals will take place between August 12th and August 15th, followed by semi-finals on the 18th and 19th.
The grand finale will take place on August 23rd at Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica.
UEFA has confirmed that the quarter-finals and semi-finals will be split between Benfica’s Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica and Sporting CP’s Estadio José Alvalade.
However, there’s a bit of uncertainty surrounding the remaining RO16 ties.
The matches will either be held at the home teams’ stadiums or they will be split between Estadio do Dragao in Porto and the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques in Guimaraes.
UEFA will reveal the complete Champions League fixtures with final venues in due time. All matches will kick off at 21:00 CET and the quarter-final and semi-final draws will be conducted in Nyon on July 10th.
Europa League 2.0
Similar to its glorified sibling, the Europa League, too, will host one-legged ties from here on out.
Even the two Round of 16 ties — Sevilla vs Roma and Inter vs Getafe — that were completely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will also be converted into one-legged affairs and will take place in Germany between August 5th and 6th.
The six remaining return-leg ties are also set to be concluded by August 6th.
The quarter-finals will be played between August 10th and 11th, while the semis are set to take place between August 16th and 17th. The final, on the other hand, will be played on the 21st in Cologne.
The quarter-finals will be spread out evenly between four German cities — Cologne, Duisburg, Dusseldorf, Gelsenkirchen.
The venues for the RO16 and semi-final ties are yet to be decided. Similar to the Champions League, the remaining RO16 matches could take place at the home teams’ stadium or in Germany.
The RO16 ties will kick-off either at 18:55 CET or 21:00 CET. The remaining matches will all be played at 21:00 CET.