We thought we’d stick our necks on the line and predict the winners of each quarter-final.
BARCELONA V ATLETICO MADRID
(First leg: Barca v Atleti, April 1; Second leg: Atleti v Barca, April 9)
An all-Spanish clash should be a close affair with just one point separating second-placed Atletico Madrid from third-placed Barcelona in La Liga. Three matches between the two clubs have generated only two goals this season so far, both of which were in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup, so don’t expect a classic, but with Lionel Messi starting to find form, irrespective of Barca’s recent league travails, his experience in the latter stages of a competition he has scored 67 goals in 84 games in could be crucial.
PREDICTION: Barcelona to win on away goals.
BOOKIES' ODDS: 2/5 Barcelona, 7/4 Atletico Madrid
— Back Page Football (@bpfootball) March 21, 2014
REAL MADRID V BORUSSIA DORTMUND
(First leg: Madrid v Dortmund, April 2; Second leg: Dortmund v Madrid, April 8)
These two teams are getting sick of the sight of each other in the Champions League, having played each other in the group stages and semi-finals last season, with Dortmund winning an unforgettable two-legged encounter largely thanks to a stunning four-goal performance from Robert Lewandowski. The good news for Dortmund is that the Pole is still in situ, albeit with a summer move to Bayern Munich confirmed, but otherwise Dortmund are struggling for form, Juergen Klopp is getting tetchy on the touchlines and they are suffering from a string of injuries. Madrid, by contrast, are top of La Liga and are unbeaten in their past 32 games in all competitions, drawing only five. Dortmund are masters of the press and counter game, but Madrid have a sublime front line which will prove crucial
PREDICTION: Real Madrid through with ease.
BOOKIES' ODDS: 1/5 Real Madrid, 10/3 Borussia Dortmund
PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN V CHELSEA
(First leg: PSG v Chelsea, April 2; Second leg: Chelsea v PSG, April 8)
This is a match sure to be characterised as the battle of the egos as Zlatan Ibrahimovic clashes with Jose Mourinho. There is much mutual respect between the two men from their time together at Inter but Mourinho will have a tough time plotting how to keep quiet the most bombastic striker in football today. PSG are not just Zlatan of course, and they possess quality in all areas of the pitch, as their eight-point lead in France suggests. Chelsea are the Premier League’s top team at present but Mourinho keeps playing up their supposed inexperience, and they could be found out across two legs in a tight contest.
PREDICTION: PSG to edge through.
BOOKIES' ODDS: 10/11 Chelsea, 10/11 PSG
Petr Cech,John Terry and Franck Lampard are the only players still at Chelsea or PSG who played in their Champions League games 10 years ago
— Julien Laurens (@LaurensJulien) March 21, 2014
MANCHESTER UNITED V BAYERN MUNICH
(First leg: Man Utd v Bayern, April 1; Second leg: Bayern v Man Utd, April 9)
United was the draw they all wanted and as such this looks like a huge mis-match, pitting the best remaining team against the worst. United might dispute that title, but the fact they are seventh in the Premier League speaks volumes as to their struggles under David Moyes this season. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich are still unbeaten in the Bundesliga and remain on course for the most dominant league campaign ever seen in one of Europe’s major countries. A quick glance at the respective midfield options of the two teams tells you all you need to know. But if that's not enough, consider this: bookies make United 7/2outsiders to win the first leg - despite being on home turf. According to William Hill, that's the longest price they've ever been to win a match at Old Trafford.
PREDICTION: Bayern to cruise through.
BOOKIES' ODDS: 1/6 Bayern Munich, 4/1 Manchester United.
MNU v FCB: Bayern have won last 2 KO ties vs Man Utd, 2001, 2010, reaching final in both years. MNU's only KO win was famous 2-1 in 1999.
— Infostrada Sports (@InfostradaLive) March 21, 2014
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