Canadians in Europe – 2023 Champions League Last Sixteen Edition

Canadians in Europe – 2023 Champions League Last Sixteen Edition

This week, the most prestigious club competition in world football returns, and there are three CMNT members who will be hoping to go on a deep run in the UEFA Champions League. It feels very natural now to have multiple Canadians at this stage in the competition, and it’s a good indicator of just how far the men’s program has come in a short space of time! The three Canadians, Alphonso Davies, Stephen Eustáquio, and Tajon Buchanan all have tough but winnable ties, here’s a recap of what they have done so far this season, and a rundown of what they’re up against.


Alphonso Davies – Bayern Munich vs Paris Saint-Germain

The expectation for Bayern Munich are the same as they always are, win the Champions League, and after qualifying from a Group of Death with relative ease, you can see why. Bayern and Davies were placed in a group containing Inter Milan and Barcelona, and they still went a perfect six for six including an impressive 3-0 win at the Camp Nou. Davies played in five games for Bayern, and when he played, Bayern didn’t concede a single goal in any of those fixtures, he also chipped in with an assist in their final game against Inter. During this group stage campaign Davies reached a career total of twenty-four UEFA Champions League appearances – making him the Canadian men’s player with the most ever champions league appearances. It’s hard to believe that he’s still only twenty-two!

Alphonso Davies in action for Bayern Munich vs Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League (GETTY IMAGES / MIGUEL MEDINA)

Davies will need to be at his best in Bayern’s last sixteen tie, they will be facing up against an absolutely staked PSG side with one overriding goal above anything else this season – win the Champions League. Both Lionel Messi and Neymar are capable of lining up on PSG’s right-wing and if that wasn’t daunting enough, Achraf Hakimi – one of the best right-backs in the world will for sure be a constant threat on the overlap. We haven’t even mentioned Kylian Mbappé yet, who is also very capable of drifting wide and giving Davies problems! But Davies is one of the best left-backs in the world, he is constantly linked with Real Madrid and was named in the IFFHS team of the year for 2022, there is no reason to suggest Davies can’t handle the task of keeping the PSG megastars at bay. It should be a great tie, the first leg is on February 14th in Paris, and the second leg is on March 8th in Munich.


Stephen Eustáquio – Porto vs Inter Milan

One of the breakout stars for Porto in this season’s Champions League, Eustáquio made his Champions League debut on match day One against Atlético Madrid and immediately looked like he belonged. He started all six of Porto’s fixtures, putting in great midfield performances each time, and even got on the scoresheet twice as Porto won four consecutive games to finish first in their group. In the space of a few months, Eustáquio went from a squad player for Porto to genuinely one of the finest midfielders in Portugal. Everyone in Canada knew he was capable of it, and it’s fantastic to see him thrive given the opportunity.

PORTO, PORTUGAL – OCTOBER 04: Stephen Eustaquio of FC Porto celebrates after his teammate Zaidu Sanusi of FC Porto scored during the UEFA Champions League group B match between FC Porto and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Estadio do Dragao on October 4, 2022 in Porto, Portugal. (Photo by Diogo Cardoso/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Porto now has a fixture against three-time Champions League winners Inter Milan, who pipped Barcelona to second place in their group to set up the tie. Inter have been off the title pace in Serie A this season, so they will be looking to go on a deep run in Europe. Eustáquio will be in a midfield battle with any three-man combination of Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Nicolò Barella, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Roberto Gagliardini. There is also the small matter of coming up against a familiar foe from the World Cup…Croatian midfield general Marcelo Brozović. Brozović and Croatia’s overall midfield dominance back in December was the biggest catalyst in Canada’s heavy defeat, but now that Eustáquio will be fully fit, he’ll be highly motivated to get revenge on the Croatian. Porto are underdogs, but they have every reason to believe they can win the tie and reach the last eight for the third time in five seasons. The first leg is on February 22nd in Milan, with the return fixture in Porto slated for March 14th.

S. 2 Ep. 17 – Can Canada Hold Herdman FC13 Podcast

Welcome back Ball Boys and Girls, as we are now back from our mini break after our national team suffering, to bring you some of that beautiful football action. And what a better way to start it off than with a 401 derby in which Toronto shows again why they are the toxic ex in the relationship, Vancouver FC pulling out the big guns for the big wins, and the CSA is at it again with some new crap. So jump on in as Paul and Thomas break down what happened this past week, and buckle up for your source of everything Canadian. ———————————————————— Thanks so much to todays sponsor SeatGeek! When you need tickets, but can't seem to find them, head on over to the #1 trusted name in the ticket resale business, and use our code FC13Pod to get $20 off your first order. ————————————————————- Be sure to follow us on Twitter @FC13Podcast, and our parent account, @13thManSports for all of your sports needs!

Tajon Buchanan – Club Brugge vs Benfica

Akin to Eustáquio, this was Buchanan’s debut Champions League campaign and despite playing for a Pot 4 team, Buchanan and Brugge took Europe by storm! Buchanan was injured for the first two games but made his debut on match day three against 2014 and 2016 Champions League runners-up Atlético Madrid. Buchanan excelled against Madrid, he was a threat in the wing throughout and had an assist in match day three and in match day four in Madrid – Buchanan was unfortunate that VAR ruled out a penalty he looked to have won for Brugge. In the games Buchanan played Brugge won five points and finished second in a group most people assumed they would finish bottom in.

Brugge’s Tajon Buchanan, center, fights for the ball against Atletico Madrid’s Yannick Carrasco, second right, during the Champions League Group B soccer match between Club Brugge and Atletico Madrid at the Jan Breydel stadium in Bruges, Belgium, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. (Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP)

When it comes to teams Brugge could’ve been drawn against, Benfica was probably the best-case scenario. But that doesn’t mean Benfica are pushovers, they topped a group that included Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus, going unbeaten against the two allegedly bigger teams. They have many dangerous players; Gonçalo Ramos, João Mário, Florentino Luís, Rafa Silva, and Nicolás Otamendi have all featured heavily for the Portuguese side, and all will pose a worry to Brugge. As a right winger, Buchanan will be lined up against Álex Grimaldo – a seasoned player who has made over sixty appearances in Europe for Benfica and made the 2018/19 Europa League team of the season. It’s not an impossible task, but Brugge and Buchanan will have nothing to fear. No one thought they would get this far, and they are in no rush to end their run at this point! Leg one in Brugge is on February 15th, while the return leg in Lisbon is on March 7th.

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