UEFA Champions League Quarter-Finals: Who Goes Through, A Prediction

The Champions League quarter-final fixtures are out, and here we can divulge a few predictions of what might happen.

The international break is upon us, giving us plenty of time to indulge in something other than club football before the end-of-the-season run-in kicks in. For every club supporter, there is something to aim for, be it a top club or a team that is scrapping for relegation. For those still involved in the UEFA Champions League, there is plenty to ponder about and make it make sense to put their team above the rest.

Manchester City fans are already dreaming about getting one over Real Madrid again. However, in the Spanish capital, one Jude Bellingham is ready to welcome the reigning champions with open arms. Interestingly, Manchester City battled hard to sign the Englishman before he chose Los Blancos.

Atletico Madrid only scraped through to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals courtesy of an entertaining game in Madrid against Inter Milan, beating one of the top contenders for the big prize on penalties. The Rojiblancos are in this competition for the fight and adrenaline it brings. Any neutral would see them as the lucky horse who got what others wished for in that draw for the next round, as they now meet Borussia Dortmund.

Meanwhile, Barcelona are pitted against one of their recent foes, PSG. The Parisians hope the departing Kylian Mbappe leaves a legacy behind, while the Catalans are seriously hoping for a miracle and probably even a lucky passage to the next round.

Finally, there is Arsenal, who made it past the Round of 16 after a staggering 14 years, although that stat could be clearer considering they have not competed for the past six seasons. In any case, the Gunners have booked their date against formidable European enemies Bayern Munich, who will remind them of a 15-3 aggregate score in the last few times they met the North Londoners.

The neutrals must have seen this quarter-final draw as a great advert for the Champions League, with the strong teams still in the competition. Some fans on the red side of Manchester would have hoped their team was part of this and make it a more elite group. But as things stand, this is good enough for the Champions League, considering how these sides have performed throughout the campaign.

Before we proceed on this prediction ordeal, it must be noted that we are merely looking at each side based on their overall form and their players’ ability to be game changers. In the Champions League, strategies can jump out of the window for all we care, as this is the competition that champions game changers more than anywhere in the world.

Arsenal vs Bayern Munich

Some Arsenal fans still think this is a tie the Gunners cannot overcome. Sure enough, there are plenty of reasons to feel pessimistic about the whole situation, and to put it bluntly, Arsenal are to the Champions League what Tottenham are to the Premier League, trophyless.

The Gunners also have the record for the most games played without winning the competition, with 189. They have also yet to make it to the semi-finals since the 2008/09 season, and they have a formidable enemy in Harry Kane returning to familiar pastures. Whether he has the hunger to trouble the Emirates crowd again remains to be seen.

Alternatively, Arsenal can put an end to the idea of Kane winning a trophy and let him and Eric Dier continue that long-publicised trophy drought. On the game itself, it is a mouth-watering tie, in all honesty, with many of the Gunners supporters realistically looking forward to this intense competition.

Some fans might see Bayern as the team that regularly handed Arsenal a thorough thrashing, but are they the team with that same mentality and vigour? This team has defensive frailties, and this might be the big stage for the Gunners to exploit.

While the Gunners are nowhere near being favourites to win the tie, let alone the competition. So, clinching a semi-final berth at the expense of Bayern would exponentially improve their chances. This game has all the ingredients to turn into total entertainment. Arsenal should see themselves as favourites heading into this one, especially against this fragile and imbalanced Bayern Munich side, and we expect them to go through.

Real Madrid vs Manchester City

Some neutrals may have wanted this clash at a later stage of the tournament, as this is the blockbuster fixture of this tournament so far. Even a PSG-Barcelona game does not bring the level of competitive excitement the Manchester City-Real Madrid rivalry does.

There is a great history over a short period, with Real Madrid’s famous comeback at the Santiago Bernabeu reminiscent in everyone’s mind, so much so that they have utterly forgotten what Manchester City have done since. The issue with such a high-profile fixture is that their chances have dived light of the draw being made.

For Pep Guardiola, he will never get tired of beating Real Madrid, and it is a matter of personal pride for the Catalan. He has been fortunate since that shambolic late defeat a few years ago, but he has beaten them soundly since then.

For Real Madrid, it is a matter of pride, and restoring the balance in continental football. Carlo Ancelotti will know the pain of being the biggest club in the world and losing to a Manchester City side that did assert their dominance.

Nothing would give Real Madrid more pleasure than beating a side currently considered the best in the business. Overall, the rivalry between these clubs promises a blockbuster affair, and the safest prediction here points at either side winning their home encounters, and Manchester City have the slight edge to get past Real Madrid and into the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Atletico Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund

Atletico Madrid are only coming back from a taxing second leg clash with Inter Milan, but the Rojiblancos will feel energised and recharged ahead of the task in front. Diego Simeone has repeatedly proven that beating his team in Madrid is impossible, irrespective of which teams come here.

Borussia Dortmund will feel the pressure and may not be able to go the distance in this clash. Edin Terzic did a decent job of brushing aside PSV Eindhoven, but the task ahead is much more challenging than the one in the Round of 16.

Atletico had to dig deep and beat one of the tournament’s top contenders, Inter Milan, in their own game. Before the clash, all stories about an imminent Inter Milan victory and Federico Dimarco’s opening strike in Madrid fueled that conversation.

Little did Inter Milan know what was about to hit them, as goals from Antoine Griezmann and a late Memphis Depay strike took the game beyond the realms of the 90-minute affair. Ultimately, the outcome resulted in the team having the best goalkeeper, as Jan Oblak proved his credentials after a couple of years of suffering countless criticisms.

Borussia Dortmund have been fragile all season, and any neutral may think the quarter-final might be the end of their European journey until further notice. Terzic’s men do have the chance to prove these predictions wrong, but as things stand, we can only see Atletico Madrid going through to the semi-finals to set up a date with either Barcelona or PSG.

PSG vs Barcelona

This is another mammoth clash swept under the rug due to more notable fixtures at the quarter-final stages. Real Madrid vs Manchester City certainly takes the limelight away from this clash, while one may argue that Arsenal vs Bayern Munich is probably the second biggest game of this upcoming round.

Some might remember the epic 6-1 win for Barcelona against PSG when the Blaugrana came into that game 4-0 down from the first leg. Do Barcelona have the minerals to replicate that sort of mental resilience with their current group? Unlikely.

Luis Enrique needs to make a big mark on PSG before considering planning for next season. Right now, the Spaniard is doing all he can to keep some of his key players, especially Kylian Mbappe, fit enough and fresh for these Champions League nights, and those decisions might pay dividends.

For PSG, the pressure is far less compared to Arsenal or Bayern Munich, considering their opponents are not as high profile as Manchester City or Real Madrid. Hence, entering this first-leg quarter-final clash, the Parisians will feel confident about toppling this Barcelona side and have a clear hope of reaching the final in London. We certainly predict Barcelona to fail in their bid to topple PSG.

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