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UEFA Champions League 2020-21 quarter finals preview

For the first time since 2004-05, the Champions League quarter final does not feature either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. With only eight teams left in the competition, the Champions League is perfectly poised to provide us with a mouth- watering quarter finals stage.

The defending champions Bayern Munich will face Paris Saint Germain in a replay of last year’s final, current Premier League leaders Manchester City will take on Borussia Dortmund, a revitalised Chelsea team will face FC Porto, and 13-time UCL champions Real Madrid will face 6-time champions Liverpool.

Manchester City vs. Borussia Dortmund 

Pep Guardiola will be looking to lead Manchester City to the semi-finals for the first time since he has been in charge while Dortmund will be aiming to replicate the form that took them to the UCL final in 2013. As each season progresses, an increasing amount of pressure is placed on Pep Guardiola to deliver a Champions League title for Manchester City, especially considering that they have not made it past the quarter finals stage in the past four seasons.

Dortmund are also similar to Manchester City in terms of their lack of European success, failing to make it past the quarter finals since they made the final in 2013.  

Manchester City go into this tie on excellent form, with only one loss in their last 32 games in all competitions and are one of the favorites to win the title. But Manchester City’s defence have a tough task ahead of them trying to contain the star-studded Dortmund attack which has the likes of Jadon Sancho, Julian Brandt, Marco Reus and the goal scoring machine Erling Haaland. Rueben Dias and John Stones will have to be cautious as the midfielders will try to play Haaland in behind the back line.

Although Dortmund have the ability to break down City with their attacking play, their defence is prone to conceding goals. They narrowly beat Sevilla 5-4 on aggregate, and if they are looking to make it far in the Champions League they need to find some consistency in their defence. 

While Dortmund can cause some problems of their own, Manchester City are still considered the favorites in this tie. But Pep Guardiola and his men should not take Dortmund lightly, as they could suffer the same fate that they did last season when they were knocked out by Lyon at this same stage. 

Predicted Score

Manchester City 3-1 Dortmund – Arsh

Manchester City 6-5 Dortmund – Prasham

Real Madrid vs. Liverpool

If there were two words to describe this matchup it would be European pedigree, with 19 UCL titles between the two sides they will now battle it out in the quarter finals with their prestigious histories on the line. While Liverpool may currently be in the Champions League this season, they may be in danger of losing out on European competition next season due to their disastrous league form.

The reds currently sit in sixth place, having lost their last four home games and six of their last ten matches. Despite their poor run of form, they still managed to comfortably beat RB Leipzig 4-0 on aggregate in the round of 16. With their long list of injuries which includes the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez they have a tough task on their hands against Real Madrid in this quarter finals tie.

But their recent wins over Leipzig and Wolves have shown that even during difficult periods The Reds can still pull together some strong performances. The first leg will be away from home for Liverpool so grabbing an away goal will be vital. 

Real Madrid were struggling during the start of the season, but a recent resurgence in form has kept them in contention for the La Liga title and now the Champions League. In the round of 16, they took a crucial 1-0 win against Atalanta away from home thanks to a weak footed long-range strike from left back Ferland Mendy before eventually seeing them off 3-1 at home with goals from returning players Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos as well as Marco Asensio.

In comparison to Real Madrid’s defence, Liverpool’s centre backs are relatively inexperienced and they may have a difficult time trying to mark the runs of Benzema, who became the latest player to surpass 70 goals in the Champions League. 

With Liverpool and Real Madrid’s run of form it is easy to think that this tie could be a repeat of the 2018 final, but Liverpool could find the much-needed spark that was missing the last time these two met and avenge that finals loss. 

Predicted Score

Real Madrid 2-1 Liverpool – Arsh

Real Madrid 2-5 Liverpool – Prasham

Bayern Munich vs. Paris Saint Germain

In a rematch of last season’s Champions League final, the Parisians will be looking to take their revenge after narrowly losing 1-0 against the Bavarians. Just like last season Bayern Munich look as dominant as ever, beating their opponents with ease while Hansi Flick’s men are scoring goals for fun.

Bayern scored the most goals in the group stage with 18, and cruised past Lazio beating them 6-2 on aggregate. Even though Bayern are not running away with the Bundesliga title this season, they still look like the favourites to secure their ninth consecutive title. But their Champions League title defence faces a difficult path as they face a Paris team who put on an impressive display against Barcelona in the round of 16. 

Despite suffering with an injury to Neymar, Paris Saint Germain dispatched Barcelona with ease, winning 5-2 on aggregate inspired by a hat trick from Kylian Mbappe at the Camp Nou in the first leg. Domestically, the Parisians have not been nearly as dominant, as they sit in second place three points behind leaders Lille. Although it was not evident against Barcelona, it is clear that Neymar’s injury has had an impact on PSG’s attacking play and their creativity.

When PSG signed Neymar for a world record fee of 222 million euros with the aim of European dominance and to bring Paris their first Champions League title. It is clear that the Parisians will need the Brazilian forward fit and ready to go if they are to beat a full-strength Bayern Munich side. 

Bayern Munich are on the hunt to become the first non-Real Madrid repeat champions since AC Milan in the late 80’s, but they face a tough challenge ahead of them against a Paris Saint Germain team who are hell-bent on doing one better than they did in the 2020 UCL final. 

Predictions

Bayern Munich 4-2 PSG – Arsh

Bayern Munich 5-5 PSG (PSG win on penalties) – Prasham

Porto vs. Chelsea 

This may seem like the least enticing tie in the quarter finals, but it actually may turn out to be the most interesting. Chelsea have found new life under Thomas Tuchel, going unbeaten in their last 11 games since Tuchel has taken charge and securing an impressive 3-0 win on aggregate against Atletico Madrid in the round of 16.

Chelsea found themselves in ninth place and seemingly out of the race for a Champions League spot after Frank Lampard’s sacking. But since then the Blues have had a big transformation since the German boss has taken charge, as they now sit in fourth place and in contention for the Champions League title.

The biggest difference for Chelsea under Tuchel has definitely been their defence, keeping clean sheets in their last four Premier League games and only conceding two goals since Thomas Tuchel has taken charge. Although the defence has been relatively stable, Chelsea have had some difficulties with getting their two German star signings Timo Werner and Kai Havertz contributing to the attack and getting on the score sheet.

But the trio of Werner, Havertz and Ziyech showed some impressive link up play in their second leg match against Atletico Madrid in their 2-0 win. Thomas Tuchel will be hoping that the trio can keep building their confidence and momentum ahead of their quarter finals tie with Porto. 

Similar to Chelsea, Porto defied all odds by beating Juventus on away goals in the round of 16. After winning 2-1 away from home in the first leg, the Portuguese side went toe to toe with the Italian heavyweights in the second leg and managed to progress on away goals despite losing 3-2 in extra time.

Porto found themselves an unlikely hero in 38-year-old centre back Pepe, who defended admirably against the likes of former team mate Cristiano Ronaldo, Alvaro Morata and youngster Frederico Chiesa. The Portuguese veteran will be key for Porto’s defence if they are to try and keep out the attacking players of Chelsea. In attack, Portuguese midfielder Sergio Olivera and Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi who both scored in the round of 16 will try to put pressure on Chelsea’s back four. 

Although Chelsea do seem like the favorites in this tie, it is possible that Porto could pull out another upset just like they did against Juventus in the round of 16. 

Predictions

Porto 0-3 Chelsea – Arsh

Porto 3-2 Chelsea – Prasham

Tags: Bayern Munich, borussia dortmund, champions league, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool Football Club, Manchester City Football Club, Porto, PSG, Real Madrid

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