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Geoff Cameron: American patriot in the Premier League

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND — As you walk into Geoff Cameron‘s home in the suburbs of Manchester, there’s a photo frame on the wall of the hallway.

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The final sentence from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1943 State of the Union address, along with an American flag, is hung up in that frame as it has been for many years in Cameron’s household.

“The State of this Nation is good—the heart of this Nation is sound—the spirit of this Nation is strong — the faith of this Nation is eternal.”

Most of us would agree that right now in the United States of America that’s not quite the case.

Cameron is a patriot, someone who loves his country deeply and someone who stands up for it each day overseas. For anyone who has ever lived overseas, they’ll likely agree that pride in your home nation perhaps becomes a little stronger each day you’re identified by your nationality.

Flying the American flag in England as the top American outfield player in the Premier League comes with a heavy sense of judgement every time something happens involving the U.S. Be it in sports, politics or anything else in-between.

Cameron has been on the frontline for five years.

“Guys here will always joke around and I say ‘hey, you wish you had this passport’ and I’m proud to hold the one I have,” Cameron said. “I am proud to be an American. I have an American flag tattooed on my arm because I believe in America, what we are as a country, how amazing the U.S. is and the American dream, a dream I’ve always dreamed. People have their different opinions and thoughts and that’s fine. What makes our country so great is that we are able to have our own opinions and the freedom to voice them. No opinion is wrong and no opinion is right. If I come out and say I am more conservative, does that mean I’m bad or wrong? No. It’s what I believe in.”

Last month Cameron was asked for a statement by a U.S. media outlet on his beliefs about the recent travel ban imposed by President Trump.

“My comment was set up in a negative context, with an opening line that set a negative tone,” Cameron said. “It suggested that my statements were about religious beliefs, which is a total misrepresentation of me and all that I believe and stand for. It left room for people to believe that I was coming from a place of malice and that couldn’t be further from the truth. At the end of the day, I, along with my family and friends – the people that truly know me – know who I am and where I stand.”

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Ahead of the two big World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama in 12 days time — Cameron will win his 50th cap on either of those games — the USMNT star is totally focused on national interests on the pitch and securing two big wins.

“Like I said, the most important thing for me is going into these games [World Cup qualifiers] and focusing on that,” Cameron said. “I know I am going to get asked questions about this. My response will be that I’m not here to talk politics, I’m here to play a game. If you want to talk about the game, let’s talk about the game.”

Talking about the game, Cameron has had a tough time over the past four months.

He suffered an MCL injury against Hull City in October and has only just returned to the pitch after a long, hard road to recovery where nothing seemed to be working.

“Throughout my career I’ve been pretty healthy, knock on wood,” Cameron said, tapping his fingers on the counter top in his kitchen. “I had a pretty serious injury in 2010 when I did my PCL and MCL and I’ve had some little niggles throughout the years but those happen when you’re playing sports. I would say this one was the most frustrating because it wasn’t getting better. It was frustrating because there were days when I felt great mentally and physically but as soon as I started doing things, I couldn’t do it. Kicking a ball or cutting, I still had pain, the same pain I had when I first did the injury. The most frustrating part was that it happened with the last play of the game against Hull. The referee blew his whistle and the guy pushed me and landed on my knee and my knee went outwards and I didn’t think any of it. I tried to get back for eight or nine days until the next game and I didn’t train all week and I trained the day before the game and it wasn’t good. I still felt the same pain.”

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That led to Cameron traveling to the USMNT’s January camp, linking up with new head coach Bruce Arena for the first time, to try something different and meet the U.S. team doctor.

“One or two weeks led into two months, then two months led into three, and then three to four. It got to a point where I wanted to seek out another opinion, and it wasn’t about Stoke City or anything like that, it was just me trying to see it from a different perspective,” Cameron said. “I think the visit to the States helped me, I was able to see our national team doctors and they gave me a different perspective and a couple of injections in a different area and it seemed to help me out. I came back and had one or two more injections after that I was okay. I still get bits of achiness here and there but that’s normal being out for four months and then being able to train for a week and a half, then playing two games in four days.”

Has this been the most frustrating time in Cameron’s career so far?

“It was definitely the most frustrating time in my career but what hurts you only makes you stronger and I’ve been there before, but this was the most difficult because it was one thing after the other. I got sick, then I had a tooth problem and I was still dealing with the injury, it just wasn’t good. It was one thing after another and I just felt like… you get depressed a little bit because the only thing you want to do is play,” Cameron said. “That’s where you can take your frustration and anger out and your feelings out a little bit. You don’t really have that outlet because you are not able to play in training. You go into training every single day and it’s like Groundhog Day. You are not getting the reps you want, you are not getting the reps out on the pitch, seeing the guys train. You are missing Boxing Day. You are missing the busiest time of the season.”

Cameron revealed that the biggest challenge was to overcome the mental aspect of not being able to play every day.

“There were times when I lost my head. I just needed to get away,” Cameron explained. “I talked to the gaffer a couple of times and he knew how frustrated I was because he was asking me how I was feeling and I’d say I wasn’t getting any better. He knew how bad I wanted to get back but it just wasn’t getting better. We didn’t know what the answer was. It’s a very, very uncommon injury. It rarely happens. Talking to surgeons, they are very rare. It just takes extra time and time you don’t want to give up as a footballer. When you lose time you’re missing games and minutes and that allows someone else to come into the position. The only thing I wanted to do was play.”

Now, to his relief, Cameron is back playing.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

After a brief run-out at Tottenham he was thrown straight in to back-to-back 90 minutes in the space of four days as Stoke beat Middlesbrough and got an impressive draw at Manchester City last Wednesday. Stoke now host Chelsea at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as they look to stun the Premier League leaders and keep their push for a top eight finish going.

“I just wanted to play, man. I wasn’t even planning on traveling to the Tottenham game but I think Jono [Jonathan Waters] pulled up injured and I was fortunate and the gaffer said ‘Geoff, you looked well. We wanted to get you another week of training to get ready for Middlesbrough.’ I came on and the game was sort of already lost, and he just said get your fitness in and get out there and get a run in. We go home to my first game and I wasn’t expecting to start. I was expecting to hopefully get 20 or 30 minutes and I started and I felt like I was trying to pick up where I left off before I got injured. I was probably playing my best football, especially in the center of the park where I am most comfortable and most confident in that defensive role. I just tried to go in there and ease myself into it and sit in my role and my position, and that helped me adjust and get the 90 minutes under my belt.

“It was a quick turnaround with the City game. Usually I have no problem playing two games in that short span. I take care of my body and I’m very professional off the field. My fitness has always been great but it’s just a case that your muscles aren’t used to wear and tear so quickly. It takes a little longer to recover. I was just happy that I was fit enough to play against Man City and it was a huge result for us to get a point out of there. No one expected us to get a point out of this game, especially with these next two games. That’s why it was such a vital game against Middlesbrough to get three points to go into the two toughest games against Manchester City and Chelsea, who are arguably the two best teams in the league. Getting a point out of City is huge and we are looking to get three points this weekend against Chelsea.”

Are Chelsea the best team in the Premier League by quite a distance? Can anyone catch them?

“I wouldn’t say quite a distance. I haven’t played them yet this season. Just looking at them and watching them on television, for sure. They seem to be firing on all cylinders,” Cameron said. “They are playing some of their best football. They are not playing European games. Players are fresh and they aren’t traveling. Their main focus is on the Premier League and that’s helped them out this year. Tottenham, for me, is a team which is going to challenge them. Hopefully they will make the league a little bit more interesting at the end of the season. Their movement off the ball, they are quick, fast and they pressure. I’m sure that’s very similar to Chelsea but if we perform like we did against Man City and everybody works together as one I think we will be okay this weekend.”

For Stoke, they’re currently where they usually find themselves: ninth place.

Mark Hughes has guided the Potters to three-straight ninth place finishes in the Premier League and although they’ve had an up and down 2016-17 campaign, they’re still hopeful of catching Everton in seventh place.

“That’s the goal. To finish higher than we did the last couple of years. We would like to make the Europa League spot and just finish higher. We are set to beat our points record from last year and I think we are very close to where we were last year in points and we have a lot of games left,” Cameron said. “We break the season down into periods of where we can get points in certain areas. I think we are pretty close to that. Our main goal is that you always want to finish better and always want to improve on every year but finishing in the top 10 this year is even tougher than last year and the year before. This year, all the big boys are in it and teams around have improved their squad and they are in it. From 10th to 7th it is all pretty tight, then the teams behind us are just around the corner as well. It is all up for grabs and it should be set for an interesting end to the year.”

Cameron is now 31 years old and is contracted at Stoke through the end of next season. After Clint Dempsey and Brian McBride, he has the most appearances for an American outfield player in Premier League history and could overtake McBride’s total of 148 PL appearances by the end of this season.

When you look around at West Brom’s Gareth McAuley still playing regularly at 37 years old and John Terry hanging in there at Chelsea, how long can Cameron keep playing in the Premier League?

“As long as my body allows me. I’d like to stay here as long as I can. If the situation is right with my contract and everything. I love it here, playing in the Premier League. It is an amazing feeling,” Cameron said. “Not many people come over here and play right away. A lot of people can say, ‘oh, I can play over there’ but they’re not. I’m here and I’m playing in a number of positions, not just one. People will always have their opinions and people will doubt me no matter what but I think I have shown and proved to myself that I can play here at this level. I am going to stay here as long as I can and as long as they want me.”

Many have lauded Cameron’s versatility as his main attribute as he’s played at center back, right back and in central midfield for Stoke over the past five seasons in England but this season he’s made the holding midfield role his own at Stoke when he’s been available.

What’s been the biggest improvement in his game since he arrived in the Premier League in 2012? Turns out familiarity breeds success.

“Everything. All around. Technical ability. Thought process. Speed. Endurance. Strength. Mental toughness. Awareness. All of that comes into play with experience. Knowing how to deal with games in certain situations in certain moments,” Cameron said. “The way you deal with that and get experience is by playing and putting yourself in those situations and those moments. This is my fifth year and you learn and lot. In your first year, especially, then it just becomes a natural thing. Then you kind of just see things which are very similar and keep happening over and over again and you get certain situations which are new in a game which you learn from whether you lose or win.

“You learn from the gaffer, you learn from your teammates and certain things they’ve experienced. It could be that at a particular moment we say ‘hey we need to tighten things up and buckle things up. We are starting to get exposed a little bit.’ You change your positioning a little bit. All of that plays it part. I think over the last five years I’m growing as a player and I’m improving and I have more to improve. I’m only going to get better.”

Life has been getting better off the pitch too. Cameron has a new dog, Duke, who playfully interrupts our discussion on many occasions as he glances upwards with a tennis ball in his mouth. As well as adding Duke, Cameron’s family have been over to visit from Massachusetts plenty in recent months. Despite his love for his homeland he’s happy in England and he’s often at traditional British sporting events with teammates, soaking up the culture whenever he can, and he flicks the remote from FA Cup games to Premier League to La Liga to Scottish games on television.

“It’s been five years… I’ve got a new family member with Duke. An German Shepherd-Malinois mix. It is fun, man. I grew up with dogs and I’ve always wanted one and I just wanted to do it. Especially being injured for those four months, I think it helped me out a lot. Mentally it distracted me and gave me something to look forward to every day, going to the park and walking him and seeing him run because that was something I couldn’t do,” laughs Cameron. “He brought a smile to my face. He is a man’s best friend. It is an old saying but a true saying

“He is an amazing dog. Days like this on a Sunday, just relaxing, watching TV and then taking him for a walk in the morning and the evening, playing ball with him in the morning in the park and hanging out with him all day, it’s just great. It was a positive light during a tough, difficult time. My Dad was just over here for about a week and a half and he got to meet him and I’m excited to take Duke home for the summer for a month or two so he can meet my parents’ dogs and have some fun.”

Despite having fun with Duke on lazy Sunday’s, Cameron’s mind is never too far away from politics and the country he loves and represents.

Interesting times lie ahead.

“There are things I disagree with when it comes to President Trump and there are things I agree with. No matter what, he is the President of the United States of America,” Cameron said. “As an American, we need to come together and have some reconciled agreement to say ‘hey, he’s our President. It’s no one else, it’s him.’ We need to support this person and hope he does well and hope he proves that he is a positive guy and he wants to make America great again. Not wish that he fails and wish that he does bad. What does that do? That’s like saying, let’s burn this place up and you’re in it. Because you are an American and you’re living in the country, let’s hope he fails and be part of that failure… No. You want to make sure he does well and hope that he does well whether you agree with him or disagree with him and that was my statement.”

“As an American soccer player for the national team, the most important thing I’ve seen is that we always do well in tournaments. We always do well, as a team. We believe in each other and whether you are white, black, Hispanic, Asian whatever ethnicity or religion, that doesn’t matter. Because we are here representing America, we come together and we work for one another. That’s what we’ve done throughout the history of playing soccer. Why don’t we do that as a nation off the field? It doesn’t matter. We should care about working together as one. That’s it.”

Pro Soccer Talk will be speaking in-depth with Geoff Cameron early next week about the USMNT’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

3 things learned as Bayern Munich hammer Barcelona 8-2

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Barcelona – Bayern Munich was a UEFA Champions League classic as Bayern ran riot in Lisbon to book their spot in the semifinals as they won 8-2. That’s right. 8-2.

[ MORE: Barca, Bayern players reaction ]

Bayern scored early and often as both teams had chances galore but the German giants took theirs with Thomas Muller scoring twice, plus Ivan Perisic and Serge Gnabry scoring one each. Joshua Kimmich, Robert Lewandowski and Philippe Coutinho (twice) all scored in the second half after Luis Suarez pulled one back to make it 4-2.

Early on Barcelona briefly made it 1-1 through David Alaba’s own goal but Lionel Messi and Co. were dominated and made so many defensive errors. Hansi Flick’s Bayern will now face the winner of Manchester City v. Lyon in the semifinal, while Quique Setien’s brief spell in charge of Barcelona is surely over.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

The game started at an incredible pace as Jerome Boateng defended superbly with Suarez lurking, then Bayern took the lead. Lewandowski and Muller combined and the latter finished to make it 1-0, but soon it was 1-1. Jordi Alba’s cross was shanked into his own net by Alaba to level things up.

Barca then went close as Suarez was denied by Manuel Neuer, then Messi hit the post as his cross missed everyone and struck the woodwork as four Barcelona players were left clutching their heads in disbelief.

[ VIDEO: Alphonso Davies magical assist ]

Chances kept on coming for both teams in an entertaining, end-to-end clash with Messi forcing Neuer into a save. Perisic then drilled home a low shot to make it 2-1 and Bayern almost scored a third but Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved well. They did make it 3-1 soon after as Gnabry drilled home a low shot after fine passes from Thiago and then Leon Goretzka.

Muller made it 4-1 before the break as Joshua Kimmich’s cross found the veteran German at the near post as Barcelona kept conceding chances, and goals. In the second half Suarez made it 4-2 early on to give Barca a chance of an unlikely comeback but that’s all it was. Alphonso Davies’ amazing assist set up Joshua Kimmich to make it 5-2 and Lewandowski got his goal to make it 6-2 as Barca were humiliated further when their player, Coutinho, on loan at Bayern rolled two home late on to rub further salt into their wounds.

Here’s a look at what we learned from Barcelona – Bayern Munich, a truly memorable Champions League quarterfinal.


BARCELONA THEIR OWN WORST ENEMIES

No team had conceded four goals sooner in a Champions League knockout match and this was the first time Barcelona conceded five or more goals in a Champions League match in their history. It was also the first time since 1949 that Barcelona had conceded seven goals in a single game. It was also the first time since 1951 they lost a game by six goals and the first time since 1946 that they conceded eight goals in a game. It was also the first time a team had scored eight in a Champions League knockout game. Yes, Bayern were clinical but Barcelona caused their own problems time and time again and it was all too easy for the Germans. Ter Stegen was hellbent on playing the ball short inside his own penalty box which put Barca under pressure, while Sergi Roberto and Frenkie de Jong were totally overpowered in midfield and Nelson Semedo was bullied at right back. Barcelona kept making poor defensive mistakes and anybody who has watched them since the restart in La Liga will understand why. This is not a new thing. Bayern could have scored more and Barcelona were just woeful and looked totally devoid of confidence late on. Messi and Co. looked stunned in the final stages of the game, and for most of the 90 minutes. Bayern were good but the story here was about Barcelona being woefully bad.

END OF AN ERA AT BARCELONA?

Messi, Suarez, Busquets, Vidal, Pique. What do they all have in common? Four of them are 33 years old and Busquets is 32. This feels like the end of an era at Barcelona. Of course, Messi is Messi and he can play until he wants as he whipped in delicious deliveries in the first half but didn’t have enough help around him. Even he gave up in the second half. This Barcelona team couldn’t cope with the pace and power of Bayern and they just gave up and Messi was one of the worst culprits. Earlier this season the Argentine legend was outspoken when it came to asking questions of the powers that be and his own teammates and he knew. He knew that big problems were coming and Barca were in big trouble. This has been coming. The shock Champions League defeat in the second leg at Liverpool last season. The collapse at Roma before that. Barcelona have been papering over the cracks for a long time now and relying on Messi and Suarez to bail them out.

They still finished second in La Liga and reached the last eight of the Champions League this season but that’s not good enough for Barcelona and this was one of the most humiliating nights in their history. Quique Setien doesn’t seem to have the belief of his squad but this Barcelona team is running on empty. It has been for a long time. Is it the managers fault, or the fault of their ageing squad which has been so good for so long but not rebuilt out of faith to their superstars and down to haphazard recruitment process? The answer is a little bit of everything and this defeat will now be the reference point for a dramatic Barcelona rebuild.

BAYERN’S HIGH-LINE A PROBLEM

The one negative for Bayern was how many chances they gave to Barcelona, especially in the first half. Their high-line was problematic but perhaps they pinched so high up so they could give Barcelona’s shaky defensive problems? Either way, they can’t play that high of a line against Manchester City or Lyon in the semifinal. Alhonso Davies and Joshua Kimmick were left exposed at full back and that is something they should address because this game, and result, is likely be a freak one. Aside from that defensive line, they were dominant, powerful, hungry and classy throughout. The German champions are full of confidence and are the red-hot favorites to win the Champions League. Barcelona – Bayern Munich will go down in history and Bayern will be feared by everyone if they weren’t already.

Destroyed Barcelona a ‘disaster’; dominant Bayern react after 10-goal stunner

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Barcelona – Bayern Munich reaction. How do you have a reaction to that?

Barcelona 2-8 Bayern Munich. Yep, that was the score in the Champions League quarterfinal. That’s why the Barcelona – Bayern Munich reaction post-game saw both sets of players and coaches looked utterly stunned. It was the first time since 1946 that Barcelona had conceded eight times in a game and they had no answer to Bayern’s relentless attacking.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

Lionel Messi and Barcelona’s players and coaches looked totally stunned towards the end of the game as Bayern could have easily scored 11 or 12 goals. We are not exaggerating. This looked like the end of an era for Barcelona, as their players were outclassed and overpowered throughout.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu had this to say: “A very hard night. I’m sorry for the fans, for everyone. We weren’t the team we are or the club we represent… Today has been a disaster. Now we have to take decisions. Some we had already decided before today. Above all we have to say sorry to the fans.”

[ VIDEO: Alphonso Davies magical assist ]

Barcelona boss Quique Setien didn’t have much else to add, as his time as Barca boss is surely up but he did state that his team were ‘destroyed’ in the dressing room in Lisbon after the game.

“The truth is it is a defeat tremendously painful. Scoreline maybe too harsh, but for sure they deserved many of the goals. The team was overrun at many times. We started very well, but the decisiveness of (Bayern) in many areas overcame us… The dressing room is destroyed. I’m not going to talk about what is needed at the club. I’ve been here for just a few months. If Gerard Pique says that it’s time for big changes there’s going to be importance to his words. It’s time for us to review and take the decisions which are needed for the future.

“The fans? The team did what we could and the rival allowed us to. We started well and as the game went on, we were beaten… We are all tremendously frustrated at the moment. It hurts but we have to accept it. You have to think always that the future will be better, that you can improve the image we showed today, above all thinking of the future. I think that right now it’s too soon to be talking about whether I stay at the club or not. The reality is that it doesn’t depend on me. It’s worth all of us working out what’s important and considering a wide range of things which correspond to a defeat of this importance and which is so painful.”

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

Setien may not be in charge of that future, as he only took charge in January but has struggled to galvanize a talented but error-strewn Barcelona side. Setien has overseen one of the most embarrassing nights in Barcelona’s history and although his ageing players were outclassed, the way they kept making the same mistakes time and time again surely points to his managerial style not fitting this squad.

Barcelona veteran Gerard Pique summed it up best.

“Embarrassment is the word, no one is indispensable. If new blood has to come and change the dynamic I’ll be the first to exit and let it happen. Now, we have reached the bottom,” Pique said. “I’m in pain. We all are. We can’t compete like that. It’s very, very tough to take. Nothing more is worth saying. The club needs changes. Not just the players, I don’t want to point out anyone.

“But football is a sport where change is constantly required. We must change the dynamic we are on because I believe we have just hit bottom. We have to look around, we have to trust that people will do the right things for the club. Is it an end of an era, I’m not sure? But I know that we must accept that we have hit bottom. Not just players the but, as a club, we aren’t on the right road. We have had years of success but we haven’t won the league and we haven’t won in Europe and we have to compete. You’ve seen it on the pitch and this today is unacceptable. This was a horrible game… it’s a dreadful feeling. It’s shameful. Structurally we need changes at all levels.”

On the other side of the Barcelona – Bayern Munich reaction, Thomas Muller continued his amazing season to score twice and grabbed an assist as the German legend summed up the focus in the camp of the German champions as they want to win the Champions League and not dwell on their humbling of Barcelona.

“Of course it’s a big statement. The semifinal starts from 0-0. Statement doesn’t matter,” Muller said. “I know the other teams watch our games. They can be impressed or not. It starts from 0-0. We have to be quiet, calm and relaxed, also a little bit happy. Tomorrow morning when we wake up and answer the whole messages on our phone from home and the whole world, then we have to focus and concentrate on the next game. That is our business. We are not here to win the quarterfinal or semifinal. We are here to win the final. I know these tournament situations a lot. Most of the times after these big wins it is more difficult, so we have to be careful.”

Muller and Bayern are ruthless and hungry for more, as he also said they can be more aggressive in their remaining Champions League games.

Hansi Flick has created a ruthless winning machine, as Bayern have scored 26 goals in the six Champions League games he’s been in charge since replacing Niko Kovac in November and they’ve won 27 of their last 28 games in all competitions and are unbeaten since December 7 and have won the Bundesliga and German Cup.

The treble is on for Bayern after their historic humbling of Barcelona.

VIDEO: Alphonso Davies turns on style with amazing assist

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Alphonso Davies ladies and gents. Alphonso Davies.

The Canadian teenager set up Bayern Munich’s fifth goal in their demolition of Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal and he did it in some style.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Remember: the Vancouver Whitecaps product only broke into Bayern Munich’s first team as a regular earlier this season and he’s now ripping it up against Barcelona in the latter stages of the Champions League.

He will be pinching himself right about now as he played a key role in a classic Bayern display as they tore Barcelona apart and could have scored seven or eight easily.

Alphonso Davies, 19, totally bamboozled Barcelona’s right back Nelson Semedo on more than one occasion way out on the left flank. He then drove towards goal, skipped past another defender and put it on a plate for Joshua Kimmich to make it 5-2.

Check out the video below to see Davies doing what he does best for the assist, as the teenager is surely going to become the best left back on the planet.

His incredible story continues as his first season as a regular for Bayern Munich has been a hugely memorable one.

Champions League, Europa League: How to watch, odds, start time, predictions

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The UEFA Champions League and Europa League action has resumed and I’m going to reveal my predictions for this next round as well as the latest odds for Europe’s top two continental tournaments.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

With Manchester City still in the Champions League and Manchester United still in the Europa League, there is a lot on the line for the two Premier League clubs in the next week.

Just because the Premier League season is over, that doesn’t mean the action is over. Far from it. Both Manchester clubs are the bookmakers favorites to seal their respective European glory.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]

In the next few days the Europa League semifinals and Champions League quarterfinals will take place as the mini tournaments take place in Germany and Portugal.

Man City beat Real Madrid 4-2 on aggregate, while Chelsea lost Bayern 7-1 on aggregate as they crashed out of the Champions League. Man United beat Copenhagen in extra time and will face Sevilla in the semifinals and are the lone Premier League club after Wolves were knocked out by Sevilla.

Lisbon, Portugal will host the Champions League games from the quarterfinal stage onwards, while the Europa League games will be hosted around Germany.

Below is a look at my predictions, the odds for the games this week and how to watch and follow all of the fixtures in the USA.


How to watch, stream Champions League and Europa League

Dates: August 5-23
Location: Quarterfinals onwards in Lisbon/Germany
How to watch: CBS Sports
Live updates: UCL here at NBCSports.com & Europa League here at NBCSports.com


JPW’s Champions League predictions

Quarterfinals (August 12-15)
Wednesday, August 12: Atalanta 2-3 PSG
Thursday, August 13: RB Leipzig 1-2 Atletico Madrid
Friday, August 14: Barcelona 1-3 Bayern Munich
Saturday, August 15: Manchester City 3-1 Lyon


JPW’s Europa League predictions

Semifinals (August 16-17)
Sunday, August 16: Sevilla 1-2 Manchester United
Monday, August 17: Inter Milan 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk


Champions League betting odds via DraftKings

Quarterfinals (August 12-15)

(+210) Atalanta v. PSG (+117). Tie: +275
(+225) RB Leipzig v. Atletico Madrid (+135). Tie: +220
(+235) Barcelona v. Bayern Munich (+115). Tie: +255
(-305) Manchester City v. Lyon (+750). Tie: +450

Outright winner
Bayern Munich (+150)
Manchester City (+250)
Paris Saint-Germain (+250)
RB Leipzig (+900)
Lyon (+5000)


Europa League betting odds

Quarterfinals (August 10-11)
(+195) Sevilla v. Manchester United (+150). Tie: +215
(-132) Inter Milan v. Shakhtar Donetsk (+350). Tie: +280

Outright winner
Inter Milan (+160)
Manchester United (+190)
Sevilla (+280)
Shakhtar Donetsk (+800)