CL Quarter-finals Preview

As the European football season reaches its climax we head into the final rounds of the CL, the pinnacle of club football across the continent. Over the next two weeks, four quarter-final ties will be played in order to establish who will take the next step towards reaching the final, which is set to be played at Wembley on the 1st of June. 

The draw for the quarter-finals set up some mouth-watering ties between some of the giants of European football, with many finely poised making it difficult to determine who might make it through to the next rounds. In the previous round we lost Inter, PSV, FC Porto, Napoli, FC Copenhagen, RB Leipzig, Lazio and Real Sociedad. As such, there weren’t any real surprises and whilst that might be somewhat predictable, it has left us with four scintillating showdowns.

Arsenal vs Bayern Munich

These two teams head into this match in contrasting form with Arsenal having a very good season and putting up a good challenge for the league title in England. They are one of three teams in with a shout of winning the PL, and did their bit last weekend with a straightforward win over Brighton. They are unbeaten in seven competitive matches, with six wins on that run and that includes a win over Porto in the previous round. Arsenal are yet to concede a CL goal at home this season but they do have bad memories of playing Bayern, with the German giants having beaten them 5-1 in March 2017. 

Bayern have won the last three H2H’s between these two but their season has not gone according to plan as there is unrest behind the scenes, uncertainty about who their next manager might be and a number of players who are not sure what their future holds. Their surprise loss to Heidenheim last weekend all but ended their remote hopes of retaining the Bundesliga title so now the only thing left for them is the CL. They lost the first leg of their tie against Lazio in the previous round but ended up convincing 3-1 winners overall and they have a good record against English opponents, winning six of the last seven encounters. 

Real Madrid vs Manchester City

Defending Champions Manchester City were handed a tough draw against the most successful team, serial winners Real Madrid. This is the third successive season that these two have been drawn against each other in the knockout stages of Europe’s elite competition and it’s currently 1-1 in terms of who progressed. A win at home for Real Madrid will be vital before heading to England next week if they are to continue on their run towards a 15th European crown. Real Madrid have an incredible record in quarter-finals, having won their last eleven clashes at this stage and have managed to knock out English opponents in the last three years. They have a record of 16 wins from their last 21 home ties and they will come into this match well rested, having not played at the weekend. 

Manchester City didn’t have the luxury of a weekend off as they had to do battle with Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon. They did eventually get the better of the Londoners but it wasn’t the easiest of afternoons. They are used to defending the PL, but this year they have the added task of trying to hang on to the CL trophy that they won for the first time last season. They are favourites to win again this year and are currently on a 22 game unbeaten run but that will be severely tested in this match. The last team to beat Manchester City was actually Real Madrid, back in the 2021/22 semi-finals and the team from the blue side of Manchester have only managed one win from their five visits to the Bernabeu. One advantage they do have is that Pep Guardiola has won six of his last eight matches against Carlo Ancelotti.  

Atletico Madrid vs Dortmund

Atletico Madrid have had a weekend off in preparation for this knockout round, something that might give them a decent advantage over their opponents. Their last match was a hard fought 2-1 away win over Villarreal and in the previous round of the CL they got the better of runaway Italian league leaders Inter thanks to a 3-1 home win. They will go into this match optimistic of winning the first leg of this quarter-final tie as they play a Dortmund side who are somewhat out of form having lost their last match and are currently in fifth place in the Bundesliga table. There is very little to choose between the two when it comes to head to heads with both teams winning two of the four meetings so far. 

Dortmund lost ground in the race for the top four in Germany as they lost at home to third placed Stuttgart at the weekend, although prior to that they had won their previous five in all competitions. In the previous round they got the better of Dutch team PSV thanks to a comfortable 2-0 home win after drawing 1-1 in Holland. They will certainly take another draw in this game and hope that home form and the support of their well renowned fans can drag them over the line next week. 

PSG vs Barcelona

PSG continue on their search for a first CL triumph having thrown so much money at the team in recent years. They have managed to dominate Ligue 1 and are doing so again this year as they find themselves ten points ahead of closest rivals Brest with six matches to go. They did have a blip last weekend as they were held to a draw at home to Clermont and they required an 85th minute goal to salvage a point. A win at home is surely vital for the French team if they hope to progress to the next round.

Barcelona have won their last four matches in a row, the last being a tight 1-0 triumph over Las Palmas. They played their last match on the 30th March so will go into this match well rested and that should be an advantage over their opponents. With eight matches to go, they find themselves in second spot in the La Liga table, seven points behind Real Madrid so they will be aware of the importance of carrying on their run in European competition. The home win over Napoli was relatively easy work but they were held to a 1-1 draw in Naples, a result that they will probably be content with in Paris. There have been a number of memorable meetings between these two in recent years including Barcelona’s 6-1 win in 2017 and a 4-1 win for the Catalan giants in Paris in 2021.

Last updated: 09.04.2024