We are getting to the business-end of the Champions League and many of the usual suspects in recent years are still around with a few interesting teams remaining in the competition. Here are my thoughts on the quarterfinals:
Atletico Madrid vs. Leicester City
Going by Diego Simeone’s impressive record in this competition which has seen Atletico reach 2 finals in the last 3 years, it is difficult not to pick them to advance against gutsy Leicester City. It is not like Leicester do not have a chance, afterall they just knocked-out Sevilla which is a very good Spanish team. However, there is something about Atletico Madrid in the Champions League that makes them very hard to beat over 2 legs.
Dortmund vs. Monaco
I am sure football fans around the world are rubbing their palms with glee over this one. 2 attacking sides going head-to-head with Pierre Emerick Aubemeyang coming up against Radamel Falcao and company. This is a tie both sides can win and they will fancy their chances but I am giving Monaco the edge in this tie because they have shown a lot more consistency in the French Ligue 1 this season than Dortmund have in the Bundesliga. Consistency may just be what separates the 2 sides, I will not be surprised if this tie ends 11-11 on aggregate.
Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid
There isn’t likely going to be much fear here as 2 of European football’s heavyweights clash. Carlo Ancelotti will be returning to his previous team which is still largely unchanged from when he was around with a Bayern team that seems intent on annihilating any opposition home or away (just ask Arsenal). However, it is rare to have Real Madrid enter a tie as underdogs and I do not see them as such. This tie could be one of fine margins with some star missing a great chance or scoring a great goal being the difference. If I have to go for a winner though, it will be Bayern despite the presence of Bale, Benzema and of course World Footballer of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo in the Real Madrid team.
Juventus vs. Barcelona
Barcelona really should not be here but they are and as such, I have to say they are favourites, how will Dani Alves cope with playing against his Barca friends? Juventus are a very good team and can match any team in Europe on their day. However, Barcelona are not likely to be complacent after their close shave with defeat against PSG. Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain might think they have a chance but with Luis Suarez, Neymar and Messi showing that they have the grit to go with their incredible talent, I find it difficult to see how Juventus can defeat them over 2 legs.