Wednesday 13th March 2019

It is difficult to determine which of Liverpool’s stunning victory in Munich this evening or Manchester United’s equally impressive comeback in Paris last week was the greater achievement, but one certainty is that when coupled with the more expected progression of both Manchester City and Spurs, there will be no Champions League Brexit this month.

It will now be down to the pure chance of the quarter-final draw to see whether for the first time in history there will be a chance that all four semi-finalists in Europe’s premier club competition could be drawn from the same country. Given that it is a free draw with neither seeding nor country preferences, what are the odds of that all four teams will be kept apart in Friday’s draw? Well, we believe that it has a reasonably high chance of 22.86% and this is why!

The first team out would have a 50% chance of being English or non-English and then the second team would have a four in seven chance of being the opposite. Hence:

the probability of the first tie being English v non-English is 0.5*(4/7 +4/7) = 0.5714 or 57.14%. Since this is linked probability then in order for the outcome to be no all English ties then this event is assumed to have happened and the drawing of the next two teams is dependent upon this outcome, therefore:

the probability of the second tie drawn as required is 0.5*(3/5 +3/5) = 0.6 or 60%, and:

the probability of the third tie drawn as required is 0.5*(2/3+2/3) = 0.6667 or 66.67%

If the above have all happened then the final tie can only be between an English and a non-English club. This results in a final probability of:

0.5714 x 0.6 x 0.6667 = 0.2286 or 22.86%

Which is a lot higher than we thought it would be. Obviously, the teams would have to win their respective ties and since we are not bookies, we would dream of putting odds on that.

Feel free to comment on the outcome or the methodology behind its calculation.