The Champions League draw today created some interesting questions for the quarterfinal round next month. Who qualifies for the next round? Will two English teams face themselves in the final of the tournament?
Read on for answers as well as a quick betting preview for each team!
Man City vs Atletico Madrid
Manchester City have dominated both the EPL and UCL so far. However, with Liverpool now breathing down their necks in the EPL, they’ve lost their margin for error and will have to be absolutely perfect from now until the end of the season if they hope to retain the title they won last season and also celebrate their first UCL triumph.
Atletico, on the other hand, have failed to properly defend their La Liga title. After their victory over Manchester United, they will be aware that the tactic they used against the Red Devils –scoring a goal and defending resolutely cannot work against a team as good as City.
Our pick to progress: Manchester City.
Chelsea FC vs Real Madrid CF
The last time the two sides met, Chelsea progressed at Real Madrid’s expense, mostly due to N’Golo Kante’s brilliance and injuries to some important Madrid players. Both sides meet again, and it seems that Real Madrid has the upper hand this time.
The English side have been in turmoil for the last week after owner, Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the English government. Chelsea always seem to thrive in negative circumstances and it hasn’t been any different in this situation. Since the sanctions were announced, they’ve won five straight games. The same sanctions might also end up costing them. Without home fans at Stamford Bridge to back them up, they might be in for a long 90 minutes against Madrid.
Real Madrid are runaway leaders at the top of La Liga and their comeback victory over PSG showed that they’re still a European heavyweight. They will be eager to get their revenge on Chelsea and pay them back for the last time the Blues knocked them out of the UCL.
Our pick: Real Madrid.
SL Benfica vs Liverpool FC
Benfica have been excellent in this year’s UCL, and their victory over Ajax was well deserved. However, Liverpool is unlike any other club they’ve faced this season. If they can somehow survive the home game, they might be able to qualify for the quarter final even if no one outside the Benfica fanbase seriously expects them to.
On current form, Liverpool are currently playing the best football in England and will hope to have a Premier League title at the end of this season to show for it. The Reds are still in all four competitions and will be grateful to have been paired with Benfica. That the second leg is at Anfield makes this even more favorable to them.
Our pick to progress: Liverpool.
Villarreal vs Bayern Munich
The quarterfinal draws have brought up mostly mismatches and on the surface, this seems to be the biggest mismatch of all.
Villarreal are no strangers to the UEFA Champions League. 16 years ago, they were unlucky to lose out on a final spot to Arsenal and more recently, they’ve knocked the North London side and Manchester United out of the Europa League. More recently, they beat Juventus 3-0 at the Allianz stadium. If there’s a perfect team to execute an upset in the UCL, it would be Villarreal.
Bayern Munich fans will be overjoyed at this result. In recent weeks, they’ve dropped points and have now let Borussia Dortmund back into the Bundesliga title race. This draw could allow them to rest some players ahead of the second leg if they can win big in the first leg. That’s a big “if” however, Bayern have struggled to win the games they would usually win by huge margins and they’ll need to be careful that the Villarreal Head Coach, Unai Emery does not claim Julian Nagelsmann’s scalp.
Our pick to progress: Bayern Munich.
The potential theme of the semifinals is revenge. The winner of the Manchester City vs Atletico Madrid game will face the winner of the Chelsea vs Real Madrid game. This might give us our first chance to see two English teams face off in this year’s UCL in a replay of the last final.
The other side of the draw could bring a Liverpool – Bayern Munich rematch, giving the Bavarians a chance to finally avenge their 2019 loss to the Reds.