The draw for the Champions League quarter-finals was made on Friday and it has thrown some very interesting and enticing fixtures for the fans to look forward to.
The reigning Spanish and European champions Barcelona have been drawn to face the 2014 Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid. With the evidence of their European as well as league campaigns this season a case can be made that the two sides are the strongest in Europe. And the fact that they have been drawn so early in the competition will mean that only one of the two will be left in the last four.
Diego Simeone’s side have the stingiest defence across all of Europe, while Barcelona possesses the most lethal attack on the continent, meaning the fans can be assured of an intriguing battle at the Camp Nou on 5th April and at the Vicente Calderon the following week.
The Catalans will be favourites owing to the fact that they have won all six of their games against Los Rojiblancos under Luis Enrique.
The reigning German champions Bayern Munich will face Benfica in their quarter-final tie. The Bavarians were on the verge of going out of the competition in the last round, but they made an impressive comeback and qualified ahead of Italian champions and last year’s Champions League finalists Juventus.
Bayern faced a Portuguese opponent – FC Porto – last season at the same stage as well and were beaten 3-1 away before hammering the Dragons 6-1 at home. Pep Guardiola, who is in his last season at the helm of Bayern Munich, will be eager to end his tenure with a Champions League in tow and getting past Benfica will be a first step in that quest.
In a battle between two of the richest clubs in Europe, Manchester City will take on Paris Saint-Germain for a place in the last four. The Citizens have come this far for the first time in their history and will fancy their chances of taking another decisive step towards their first European triumph when they take on their French rivals at the Etihad Stadium on 6th April and at the Parc des Princes in the subsequent week.
PSG have spent a lot of money in the summer and one of their signings Angel di Maria has proved to be a great addition to their squad. The Argentine’s performances have helped the side do as well as they have this season.
Real Madrid have been drawn to face German outfit Wolfsburg in their last eight clash. Los Blancos haven’t been at their fluent best in the league this season and the Champions League remains their only real hope for a trophy this campaign.
Zinedine Zidane, appointed club manager at the halfway stage of the campaign, will be eager to win the Champions League to make history in his first season at the Santiago Bernabeu. The first leg is due to be played in Germany on 6th April before the action moves to Spain on 12th April.