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UEFA Champions League: Quarter-Finals Preview

Zinedine Zidane, head coach of Real Madrid

For the first time in 16 years, there’ll be no Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo in the Champions League quarter-finals, but there’s no shortage of big-name players with the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne and so much more.

Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports

The quarter-finals draw gave football fans mouth-watering ties to look forward to, including the replays of two recent finals.

Manchester City’s quest for a maiden Champions League title continues when they host Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, while Real Madrid and Liverpool do battle in the Spanish capital in a rerun of the 2018 final.

In the battle of the dark horses, Chelsea take on FC Porto at the Estadio Do Dragao on Wednesday, the same time that holders Bayern Munich face Paris Saint-Germain at the Allianz Arena in a repeat of last season’s final.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Tuesday 6 April

4/10 Manchester City | Draw 38/10 | Borussia Dortmund 54/10 (21:00)

Manchester City are hot favourites to brush aside Borussia Dortmund, but history shows they can’t afford to underestimate their opponents. Pep Guardiola’s side have faltered in the latter stages of Europe’s elite club competition, losing to several sides they should have comfortably accounted for. Dortmund aren’t having the best season domestically as they sit outside of the Bundesliga’s coveted top four. But City’s defence have a tough task ahead of them trying to contain the star-studded BVB attack that boasts the likes of Jadon Sancho, Julian Brandt, Marco Reus and the goal-scoring machine Erling Haaland. Sancho will try to haunt the club he spent time at as a teenager, while for City, Ilkay Gundogan comes up against his old team in red-hot form. While Dortmund have the ability to break down City with their attacking play, their leaky backline will be their undoing. I’m going for Man City to Win & Both Teams to Score at 18/10.

14/10 Real Madrid | 49/20 | Liverpool 18/10 (21:00)

Real Madrid and Liverpool will do battle in a rerun of the 2018 Champions League final, with the Spaniards beating the Reds 3-1 in Kiev to win the last of their record 13 titles to date. Jurgen Klopp’s side bounced back from that to lift the trophy for the sixth time in Madrid in 2019, but their Premier League title defence this season has unravelled, with the English side seventh in the table having lost nine times in 17 games in 2021. Real Madrid, on the other hand, are unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions with eight wins, including three in a row – before their home tie against Eibar. Karim Benzema scored six goals in four games last month and he’ll fancy his chances of scoring more against a Liverpool defence without Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip. Mohamed Salah, meanwhile, will be on a mission to even things up with Sergio Ramos after the Real Madrid centre-back dislocated his shoulder in the 2018 final, forcing him off the pitch 26 minutes into the game. The Egyptian has scored in each of his last three matches in the competition. I’m expecting a tight affair here, with Real Madrid tipped to grind out the victory. 

Wednesday 7 April

33/10 Porto | 49/20 | Chelsea 17/20 (21:00)

Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten Chelsea are overwhelming favourites to reach the semi-finals but Porto will be out to upset the odds once again. The Portuguese giants stunned Juventus in extra time to progress on away goals, while the Blues surprisingly made light work of La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid in a 3-0 aggregate victory. The Dragons have the ability to make life tough for Tuchel’s side, but the Blues will fancy their chances of getting the better of the Portuguese outfit. Sergio Conceicao will be without talisman Sergio Oliveira and Mehdi Taremi for this clash, though Malang Sarr is allowed to play against his parent club. Chelsea, on the other hand, will have Mason Mount and Jorginho available after the duo missed the second leg of the clash against Atletico Madrid due to suspension. I’m backing the Blues to edge a hard-fought encounter.

6/10 Bayern Munich | 33/10 | Paris Saint-Germain 36/10 (21:00)

Holders Bayern Munich will face Paris Saint-Germain at the Allianz Arena in a repeat of last season’s final. With the kind of European pedigree that PSG can only dream of, Hansi Flick’s side are favourites to advance to the semis. The quarters have frequently proved a stumbling block for the French champions in the Champions League, and last season represented the first time they successfully progressed beyond it since 1995. The duo of Neymar and Mbappe will want to avenge the narrow 1-0 loss to the German giants in last season’s final, but it’s hard to go with anyone but the reigning European champions here. Thiago Silva kept Lewandowski quiet in Lisbon last year, but with the Brazilian now at Chelsea, Presnel Kimpembe and Marquinhos must try to nullify the Poland star who has 13 goals in his last eight games for Bayern. Back the champions at 6/10.

QUAD @ 19/1

Man City Win & BTTS 18/10

Real Madrid Win 14/10

Chelsea Win 9/10

Bayern Win 6/10

Written by Chad Nagel

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