UEFA Champions League: Power Ranking the Coaches Among the Last Eight
With the last eight teams in the Champions League now confirmed, the race to crown the best club side in Europe is reaching it's peak.
Only Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan and Schalke 04 remain. Each team has their own advantages, but each team also has their own weakness, even Barcelona.
The draw for the quarterfinal matches is due to be made on the 18th of March and will also decide which side of the draw meets who in the semifinals and the final as well.
Here is a look at the merits of each manager that led their team to the final eight.
8. Felix Magath (Sacked)
Club: Schalke 04
Round of 16 Opponents: Valencia
Group Stage Opponents: Olympique Lyonnais, Benfica, Hapoel Tel Aviv
Despite the club's poor league form (hence why he was sacked), Magath was the mastermind behind Schalke's progression the the last eight of the Champions League. The club may not have had the most difficult path through to the quarterfinals, but they have still overcome being the underdogs on more than one occasion to get as far as they are now.
Felix Magath is no longer manager of Schalke following a poor run of form in the Bundesliga, but having taken the team to the quarterfinal's of the Champions League deserves some credit.
7. Mircea Lucescu
Club: Shakhtar Donetsk
Round of 16 Opponents: Roma
Group Stage Opponents: Arsenal, Braga, Partizan Belgrade
Another manager not many people will have heard of, Lucescu is the head coach of another one of the quarterfinal's surprise packages. Shakhtar Donetsk managed to overcome both Arsenal and AS Roma to reach this stage of the competition and based on their showing so far, they should be able to give most of the other quarterfinal sides a run for their money.
Lucescu has done very well with limited resources at Shakhtar (in comparison to other top European sides) and taking them to the quarterfinals of the Champions League is a huge boost to the club. As per usual Lucescu has also ensured that the team hold a very healthy lead over all of their rivals at the top of the Ukrainian Premier League.
6. Carlo Ancelotti
Round of 16 Opponents: Copenhagen
Group Stage Opponents: Marseille, Spartak Moscow, MSK Zilina
His trophy history with other teams would set him higher on this list, but since joining Chelsea he has not done as well as expected. The London team are at threat of dropping outside the top four this season and haven't been performing up to expectations recently.
With that said they have been able to manoeuvre their way into the Champions League group stage, with the help of a slightly easier draw. With that said, Copenhagen were no pushovers and gave Ancelotti's side a close run.
He should perhaps be doing better with the club considering the position he is in, but reaching the Champions League quarterfinals and sitting near the top of the Premier League table is still nothing to complain about.
5. Harry Redknapp
Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Round of 16 Opponents: AC Milan
Group Stage Opponents: Inter Milan, Werder Bremen, FC Twente
When Redknapp took over Tottenham in 2008 they were sitting at the bottom of the English Premier League having earned just two points from eight games. Since then he has taken them into their first Champions League campaign and through to the quarterfinals.
Tottenham have already beaten both Italian giants Inter Milan and AC Milan so far this competition and have been one of the most exciting attacking sides in the tournament. Redknapp's side are also in fifth position in the English Premier League this season, just outside a position that would give them another season of Champions League football.
He stands as the first Englishman to guide a team to the Champions League quarterfinals since the competition was rebranded in the early 1990s.
Club: Inter Milan
Round of 16 Opponents: Bayern Munich
Group Stage Opponents: Tottenham Hotspur, Werder Bremen, FC Twente
Admittedly, Leonardo wasn't in charge of Inter for their whole Champions League campaign, but since he has taken charge he has changed their fortunes for the better. In the group stages, the reigning Champions managed to come just second behind newcomers Tottenham. When they were drawn in the round of 16 to Bayern Munich, many fans wrote the club off after their performances this season.
Leonardo then entered and beat the odds to overcome their German opponents in a rehash of last season's final. While it was two late goals that secured Inter Milan's progress, Leonardo has managed to turn them from a significantly under performing side into one that looks like it could being to fulfil its potential again very soon.
3. Sir Alex Ferguson
Club: Manchester United
Round of 16 Opponents: Marseille
Group Stage Opponents: Valencia, Rangers, Bursaspor
Fans will say he's lost it a bit over the course of the past year, but with his club in line to claim a 19th Premier League title this season equalling Liverpool's all time record there can be no denying his talent. Sir Alex has already led United to two Champions League winners trophies and is looking for his third this year.
The club won their group consisting of strong Spanish side Villareal, Scottish champions Rangers and Turkish side Bursaspor. They earned an easier draw in the round of 16 with Marseille, although the club proved they were no pushovers.
Sir Alex has not been on his best form this season, hence why he isn't higher on this list, but his record with the club speaks for itself.
2. Josep Guardiola
Round of 16 Opponents: Arsenal
Group Stage Opponents: Copenhagen, Rubin Kazan, Panathinaikos
Pep Guardiola, the man who famously won an unprecedented sextuple in his first season in charge of the club. In 2009, Guardiola won La Liga, the UEFA Champions League, the Copa Del Rey, the Supercopa de Espana, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA World Club Cup. That sort of record speaks for itself.
Just one year later, Guardiola won the double with his magnificent Barcelona side consisting of La Liga and the Supercopa de Espana.
Since then his team have gone on to be dubbed by many as the best club side the world has ever seen, due to their patient approach to the game, their undeniable ability and the great results they get from that.
He may only be in his third year in charge of the club, but Guardiola has already made himself a Barcelona legend.
1. Jose Mourinho
Club: Real Madrid
Round of 16 Opponents: Olympique Lyonnais
Group Stage Opponents: AC Milan, Ajax, Auxerre
It's difficult to outdo a man who won the sextuple in his first year and the double the year after, but Mourinho somehow does just that. Many fans will hate him for his ego, but regardless of opinion he's a great coach and he knows he is.
Having grown up as a youngster very interested in the tactical side of the game, Mourinho developed a knowledge and understanding that is rarely seen in football today. After a short playing career in the lower Portuguese leagues, he found his way up through the coaching ranks in his native Portugal.
He burst onto the European scene in 2004 when his Porto side beat all odds to win the UEFA Champions League. Since then, Mourinho has won the tournament with Inter Milan, as well as coming close with Chelsea and now trying with Real Madrid.
Thanks to his meticulous planning ahead of every match, Mourinho has not lost a home league game in over nine years, an all-time world record.
If the coach of your fierce rivals tells you you're one of the best coaches the world has ever seen then you better believe it.
People can argue about it all day, but if you ask me his record deserves the title 'special'.
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