Champions League: Quarter finals preview and predictions
By Britwatch team
- UEFA Champions League quarter finals predictions
- The Britwatch team give their aggregate predictions for all four ties
- Kicks off 4th and 5th of April
With the Champions League quarter finals right around the corner, the Britwatch football team weigh in with their predictions for the ties.
Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid
Can the devastating trio of MSN be stopped? A 5-1 aggregate victory over Arsenal confirmed their place in the last eight of the prestigious competition. Lionel Messi broke his duck against Petr Cech with a brace in the first leg at the Emirates, a rare achievement Messi hadn’t conquered. It’s not a one man show however, with both Messi and Luis Suarez scoring six goals apiece in Europe. MSN’s total for this year’s competition? Only a mere 15 goals! The Catalan side have found the net 20 times in eight games, an average of 2.5 goals a game, good luck Atletico.
Atletico Madrid have been a force to be reckoned with in recent years. A Europa League victory was followed up by a Radamel Falcao inspired 4-1 drubbing of Champions League winners Chelsea. Having taken Real Madrid to extra time in the 2014 final and losing 4-1, an incentive of a potential rematch of the 2014 final could spur the Rojiblancos to victory over Barcelona. With the pace of Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres’ last experience of facing the Catalans in this competition with Chelsea, a semi-final place isn’t out of reach; even against MSN.
Aggregate Score: Barcelona 4-2 Atletico Madrid
If you asked Barcelona who they would have wanted to avoid in the last eight, rivals Atletico Madrid would be near the top of that list. Diego Simeone’s side are one of the best defensive units in Europe and are notoriously difficult to break down. Even with the devastating ‘MSN’ up top for the Catalans, Barcelona will may struggle to find goals against this Atletico side.
It was two seasons a go that Simeone led his side to the final where they were seconds away from winning the most prestigious club competition in the world. However since then Barcelona have improved by adding Suarez to their strike force. It will likely be two cagey affairs, but the firepower for Barcelona will see them through in a close tie.
Aggregate Score: Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid
Paris Saint Germain vs Manchester City
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will bow out of the Parc De Princes in the summer, can he leave with a Champions League winners medal? Having dumped Chelsea out for a second year running, another Premier League club in Manchester City sit between the cross-hairs. Having been knocked out at this stage last year the French club will hope to go one better this time round.
This is the first time Manchester have reached this stage of the competition. Their defensive frailties have held them back on many occasions this year without Vincent Kompany and with Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani to keep at bay, this might be a step too far for the Citizens. Attack will need to outweigh defence, Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne, among others, providing the threat. Raheem Sterling made the group stage XI, can he be the player to move City one round away from European glory?
Aggregate score: Paris Saint Germain 3-1 Manchester City
Manuel Pellegrini will bow out of Manchester at the end of the season to be replaced by Pep Guardiola, so wouldn’t it be something if the Chilean led the Citizens to their first Champions League success before he departs? City are making their maiden appearance in the last eight and face the current French Champions who disposed of English opposition in the last round.
City have shown improvements in Europe this season after struggling in the past to adapt to the different style of play, but this is a quality PSG outfit full of attacking options. The Premier League side have their own firepower up top, but their defence looks leaky. It is likely the French side will have too much going forward, but it should be an entertaining two legs.
Aggregate score: PSG 4-2 Manchester City
VFL Wolfsburg vs Real Madrid
Wolfsburg may be newcomers to a Champions League quarter-final but don’t rule them out until the home tie has been played. The Bundesliga outfit are unbeaten at the VfL Wolfsburg Arena in this season’s competition. The likes of Andre Schurrle, Luiz Gustavo, Dante and Julian Draxler will be key if they succeed. Draxler will be seeking revenge after being involved in the 9-1 aggregate defeat against Real while playing for Schalke two years ago in the round of 16. With only one win in four over Spanish opposition, the stats don’t fall in their favour.
Fresh from an El Clasico victory, Zinedine Zidane will hope to enhance his reputation further by adding another two years after claiming ‘La Decima.’ A sixth consecutive appearance in this round shows their calibre as one of the best. Keylor Navas will prove hard to beat having kept eight clean sheets in the Champions League while Wolfsburg also try to prevent Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale from scoring at the other end.
Aggregate score: Wolfsburg 1-5 Real Madrid
Many people will be quick to write Wolfsburg out of this tie, but the Wolves are a quality outfit who have looked impressive in the Champions League this year. The Bundesliga side have some good players such as Schurrle, Draxler and striker Bas Dost who can cause the Madrid defence problems, but can the defence handle ‘BBC’?
The answer is probably no. Zidane’s side will most likely have too much quality in all areas of the field for Wolfsburg over two legs, but Wolfsburg will put up a better fight than many people expect.
Aggregate score: Wolfsburg 1-3 Real Madrid
Bayern Munich vs Benfica
Bayern meet Portuguese opposition in the last eight for a second season running. FC Porto couldn’t beat the German Champions despite taking a 3-1 aggregate lead into the second leg. Pep Guardiola leaves the Allianz Arena in the summer for the Etihad Stadium and will want to do so with another Champions League trophy to go with his one from Barcelona’s triumph. The message from Bayern is clear, learn from last year’s mistakes so another 6-1 second leg victory is not a necessity.
Porto’s exploits in Portugal will give Benfica great hope of causing an upset but keeping Bayern at bay in Bavaria is the priority. An away goal in a draw or a tight defeat will ooze great belief through the Portuguese outfit for the second leg. Bayern push men forward and Manuel Neuer is prone to a half way line stroll, a quick counter attack seems the only option but against a force like Bayern, it won’t be as easy as it sounds.
Aggregate Score: Bayern 3-1 Benfica
Bayern’s fortune has changed from drawing hardly the best second placed side in the round of 16, to drawing perhaps the easiest tie in the last eight. The German Champions squeezed past Juventus in the last round in one of the better two legged ties you will ever see. Quality football and entertainment were on show, but this one should be a lot simpler.
Benfica are a good side and have experience in Europe, but it is difficult to see where they will trouble Bayern. They will have to be tight in defence and sharp on the counter if they are to stand a chance here, but it is likely this is done before it really gets going.
Aggregate score: Bayern 5-1 Benfica
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