In previous years, the Champions League has tended to get more and more dramatic as it goes along. However, this year, both the group stage, and the round of 16 have been full of drama with world class teams Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Arsenal, last year’s winners Chelsea, to name just a few, already being dumped out.
So with this season’s tournament already being full of excitement and tension, these quarter finals promise to be nothing less than spectacular.
Bayern Munich vs. Juventus
Both these teams are considered “dark horses” to win the competition by many, but only one will make the semi-finals as these two European giants clash, with the first leg being held in Munich.
Both teams look set to win their respective domestic leagues, and won impressively at the weekend. Bayern tore Hamburg apart, winning 9-2, while Juventus picked up a colossal three points in a 2-1 victory over Inter Milan at the San Siro. Both these sides are flying, with Juventus having one of the most organised teams in world football, and Bayern having the most well rounded and energetic sides.
Bayern’s attacking trio of Müller, Kroos and Ribery will look to create chances for the deadly Mario Mandžukic, but if any side can neutralise the threat posed by these four, it is the expected Juventus defence of Barzagli, Chiellini and Bonucci, helped by energetic wing backs Lichsteiner and Asamoah.
Bayern’s Javi Martinez is suspended for this game, so Bayern will need to rely on Luis Gustavo to help Bastian Schweinsteiger keep Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo and goalscoring midfielder Arturo Vidal quiet. Juventus tend to keep the ball regardless of the opposition, but against a creative Bayern side in the expectant Allianz arena, this may be difficult.
A genuinely mouth-watering tie.
PSG vs. Barcelona
Barcelona have fond memories of the French capital, having won this very trophy in Paris back in 2006, in a 2-1 victory over Arsenal. However, despite having virtually won La Liga a while back, this Barca team arrives in Paris with question marks regarding their ability to play away from home.
In the round of 16, Barca were beaten 2-0 against Milan, with many suspecting they wouldn’t be able to overturn that result. Barcelona managed it however, winning 4-0 in Catalonia, so PSG will need a huge result if they are to go into the second leg with strong hopes of going through.
PSG’s defence that includes Brazilians Thiago Silva, Alex and ex-Barca left back Maxwell, will need to remain fully focused and determined if they are to silence Messi and co., and knock out the side who many consider tournament favourites.
Malaga vs. Dortmund
At the start of the tournament, many considered Malaga a side too weak to make waves in the Champions League and Dortmund a side just too young to compete against Europe’s elite. However, both of these hard working sides are just two games away from a place in the Champions League semis.
Malaga’s well-oiled machine of a defence has conceded a mere 6 goals in 8 champions league games this season, while Dortmund possess one of Europe’s most feared attacks, with Reus, Götze, Lewandowski and Błaszczykowski all hitting form right now.
Malaga do possess creative players themselves though, such as the highly regarded Isco and Joaquin.
Definitely one of the most tactically unpredictable quarter finals.
Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray
After getting through to the quarter finals in a highly controversial manner against Manchester United, Jose Mourinho’s quest for an historic third Champions League triumph runs through Turkish champions Galatasaray.
Although Galatasaray aren’t the most feared team left in the competition, their impressive 3-2 win away to Schalke in the round of 16 second leg is a prime example why they shouldn’t be dismissed, especially with the champions league’s top scorer (along with Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo) Burak Yilmaz in absolutely unbelievable from, as well as a presumably determined Wesley Sneijder returning to his old stomping ground of the Bernabeu.
Galatasaray’s Hamit Altintop and Felipe Melo will be expected to do a great deal of running to prevent Mesut Özil and Xabi Alonso from controlling the game too much, although this may prove a task too much for this tenacious Galatasaray side.
Written by Joshua Sodergren
Follow Joshua on Twitter @chelsealad1365
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