Soccer

Champions League: Real Madrid vs. Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund vs. Shakhtar Donetsk

Manchester United vs. Real Madrid: The marquee matchup. The world’s two biggest clubs. The world will stop to watch this one, or at least they like to think so. It is also Cristiano Ronaldo’s first trip back to Old Trafford. Both teams have been strong since the first leg. Man U dumped three EPL also rans by a combined score of 8-1. Real Madrid beat Barcelona twice in five days.

The match is still wide open after the 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu. Madrid must score at least one goal to advance. You’d expect them to do that, as Man United’s back four is hardly the imperious group that shut down Barcelona and pretty much everyone in 2008. We’ll say a 3-3 aggregate draw with Real Madrid advancing on away goals.

Borussia Dortmund vs. Shakhtar Donetsk: This is the matchup of “football hipster” favorites. It also will define the season for both teams. Dortmund have little else to play for, with Bayern having run away with the Bundesliga. Shakhtar are so dominant in the Ukranian Premier League it is an afterthought.

Dortmund should be favorites on paper, netting two away goals in the first leg’s 2-2 draw. That said, Shakhtar can score goals, have played well on the road in the Champions League this season and hung with Dortmund at home despite being rusty after a three-month winter layoff. We’ll say 5-4 Dortmund on aggregate, with “football the real winner.”

[Photo via Getty]

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