Guardiola, manager of Champions League quarterfinal team Manchester City

Champions League Quarterfinal Preview & Predictions

Up until this stage, this year’s European Cup has been far from memorable but with the Champions League quarterfinal draws, we can look forward to some of Europe’s heavyweights going head-to-head with a place in the final four at stake.

With the two best teams drawn against each other, the possibility of European glory has just cranked up a notch for a number of teams. We take a look at the four quarter-final ties and predict where they may be won and lost.

Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich

A return to London for Harry Kane is on the cards. In this mouth-watering tie, both teams will fancy their chances of progressing to the final four, but it’s Munich with the head-to-head advantage over the Gunners, leading 4-1. Contrasting league form for both teams sets this one up nicely.

The sides haven’t met since 2017, with Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Muller the only current squad members of either team still available. Former Arsenal man Serge Gnabry has been suffering from a muscle injury for the majority of this season. He is beginning to regain fitness, will be keen to contribute against his former club and will have to be watched closely.

Arsenal came through a tense penalty shootout with Porto to get to this stage, while Bayern came through 3-1 against Lazio.

With Munich’s domination of the Bundesliga seemingly coming to an end with Bayer Leverkusen’s unbelievable unbeaten run and 16-point lead, it’s hard to believe Champions League success is their only chance of winning silverware this season. A fact Bayern fans will not be used to or accept.

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Although Arsenal have definitely improved this season, Munich’s experience at this stage of the competition will give them the upper hand, and having a top-quality, clinical striker in Harry Kane, who has an excellent record against Arsenal (14 goals in 19 appearances), can swing the tie in the Germans favour.

  • Prediction: Bayern Munich to qualify

Atletico Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund

Both teams would be relatively happy with the draw, as avoiding reigning champions Manchester City would’ve been the priority, with a home 2nd leg favourable too.

Unfortunately for Atletico, they will have a return leg in Germany but if their home form is anything to go by, they will be in a commanding position by then.

Diego Simeone has created a team that has become one of Europe’s most feared when it comes to playing at the Metropolitano.

Having come through a penalty shootout during the week with last years finalists Inter Milan, Atletico are building up momentum and are quietly going under the radar in this competition.

Under Edin Terzic, Dortmund are also going about their business in this years competition very efficiently. With the likes of Donyell Malen, Jadon Sancho and club legend Marco Reus, the Germans have match winners in forward areas that can cause Atletico’s defence problems.

This year will mark 8 years since Atletico Madrid’s last appearance in the Champions League Final and there’s definitely a possibility they’ll replicate that achievement this year.

  • Prediction: Atletico Madrid to qualify

Real Madrid vs. Manchester City

Undoubtedly the best two teams in Europe at the moment. A dreaded draw for both clubs makes it a very hard tie to call. Manchester City have the advantage in recent head-to-heads with a 4-2 lead, having met in last year’s semi-final with City convincingly coming through 5-1 on aggregate.

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Both squads are relatively similar, apart from the addition of English talisman Jude Bellingham to the Madrid team. His influence could be the difference in a very close tie.

With the extra pressure of the Premier League title run-in, Pep Guardiola will struggle to rotate and rest his best players leading up to the pair of ties; the form of Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland and Phil Foden, among others, will be crucial.

As the most decorated manager in Champions League history with four titles, Carlo Ancelotti is no stranger to huge matches in this competition and the result of the home first leg will be crucial in determining who qualifies out of these heavyweights.

Brazilian Vinicius Jr has been in red-hot form for Madrid all season and how he performs over the two legs can be a deciding factor in the tie. With Kyle Walker out for at least the first leg, the Citizens don’t really have another man to match the speed of Madrid’s talisman.

  • Prediction: Real Madrid to qualify

Paris St Germain vs. Barcelona

These two have a history of memorable Champions League two-legged ties. In 2017, they served up a classic, with the Spaniards coming through 6-5 after a convincing 6-1 2nd leg win at the Nou Camp for Barca. Unfortunately for Barca fans, those were the days of Messi, Neymar, and Suarez. Robert Lewandowski, Frenkie De Jong, and Pedri and co. have long since taken their place.

PSG’s hopes rest on the form of arguably the hottest prospect in world football at the moment, Kylian Mbappe. Increasingly likely to be Real Madrid-bound in the summer, the Frenchman will be eager to impress against his future rivals and Barca will know the outcome of the tie is massively determined by his contribution.

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Fellow Frenchman Jules Kounde is likely to be given the role of keeping Mbappe quiet and is capable of restricting his national teammate’s influence going forward.

It’s a very tough tie to call the winner, with both teams in a period of “transition” and performing at a level far from their best. I feel if Barcelona can get enough supply for striker Robert Lewandowski, they may have enough to get through.

  • Prediction: Barcelona to qualify

It’s been an underwhelming season so far in Europe but with the ties that are upcoming over the next month, this year’s Champions League is about to burst into life. All remaining teams will fancy their chances of progressing and the door is open for a team to emerge from the pack and have a tilt at the title.

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