A very intriguing Champions League round saw two heavyweights of world football leave the competition in Juventus and Barcelona as the quarter-final draw produced some fascinating matchups and storylines.
Erling Haaland’s Borussia Dortmund are set to face Manchester City,in the next round; the team he grew up supporting. The quarter-finals also includes a Champions League Final rematch between Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.
Champions League Wide Open
Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund
Manchester City are the best team in the Premier League on current form but are yet to win the Champions League and pressure is on mounting on Pep Guardiola to win it. This is City’s best chance to win the Champions League and with it being Sergio Aguero’s last season, he will be hoping to provide one last hurrah. City however, cannot underestimate Borussia Dortmund in this tournament despite the struggles the German team are going through in the league.
The false nine Guardiola tactic used last game will not work in this tournament and possibly this matchup. A striker will be needed at some point in this tournament. The Spanish manager cannot overthink and needs to play his best team that has worked all season. Also, substitutions need to be made earlier in the game.
City last faced the German side nine years ago and have never beaten Dortmund. The Manchester side had a certain Mario Balotelli on their side whilst Robert Lewandowski was still at Dortmund. With both Cristiano Ronaldo‘s Juventus and Lionel Messi‘s Barcelona out of the competition, this is Pep Guardiola’s best chance to win the Champions League.
Chelsea vs Porto
However, the hero of the Juventus game, Sergio Oliveira will miss the first leg because of card accumulation. A brutal loss considering he had two goals in Turin against Juventus to pull off the upset. Porto play some smart football and they don’t make mistakes that result in goals so the Blues will find it tricky to break them down.
These two teams are very similar; they aren’t an offensive machine like Bayern Munich but get find ways to win football matches. Both are great defensively. Whichever team takes advantage of their opportunities will likely win this fixture. Both ties are likely to be low scoring affairs two as both will be tentative of the other.
Liverpool vs Real Madrid
Two teams with a prolific Champions League history will face off after Real Madrid defeated Atalanta 4-1 over two legs. With Sergio Ramos in the team and Karim Benzema, the Galacticos can go all the way with both of their talismen having the ability to carry the team.
Benzema has 59 Champions League goals but Zinedine Zidane will want more from Eden Hazard who has been one of the biggest blunders after his move from Stamford Bridge. His Real Madrid career has been prolonged with injuries and when he’s on the pitch he hasn’t produced what he showed us all at Chelsea.
Meanwhile, Liverpool are all in on the Champions League because they cannot win the Premier League. They easily beat RB Leipzig 4-0 on aggregate. Despite not allowing any goals Liverpool can still be had in the back. Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah were the two stars. The loss of Virgil Van Dijk will likely be the difference and why Real Madrid are favourites.
These teams both have three wins in the Champions League against each other
PSG vs Bayern Munich
This a rematch of the Champions League final., Paris Saint-Germain have been inconsistent in Ligue 1 and Champions League. For example, PSG blitzed Barcelona 4-1 at the Camp Nou thanks to a Kylian Mbappe masterclass scoring a hat-trick. The inconsistency could be because of Neymar being hurt but still, PSG is loaded with talented players. The French side need to replicate the performance at the Camp Nou to knock out Bayern Munich. Angel Di Maria is now back and will help add some flair into a very passive midfield.
Bayern defeated Lazio comfortably over two legs because of Lazio’s mistakes in the first leg. For all of Bayern’s offensive output, their defensive frailties have never shown more but their extra determination in the Champions League papers over those cracks.
PSG will need to find a way to contain Robert Lewandowski. He has 56 Champions League goals and is an obvious threat.
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