Motley’s Eoin McSweeney assesses the quarter final ties in this year’s Champions League.
So, we’re into the latter stages of the greatest club competition in world football, and the draw has thrown up some interesting ties. However the answer as to who will emerge victorious is more obvious than you would think!
Bayern Munich v. Manchester United
The easiest to predict by far. While Bayern have been a juggernaut of pace, skill, power and determination this season in both Europe and Germany (18 league wins in a row at the time of writing speaks for itself), Manchester United are becoming a shadow of what their illustrious past represents. With Guardiola at the helm, Bayern look unstoppable and it would be fallacy to say that United are the team to stop them.
Real Madrid v. Borrusia Dortmund
At first glance, this seems like an incredibly difficult tie to call. Dortmund were the finalists last year, and under Klopp they have been invigorating to watch. However this season they have not brought the same intensity to games, and they sit second in the Bundesliga – 23 points behind Bayern. On the other hand, Madrid have been majestic. Despite their recent 4-3 loss at home to Barcelona in El Clásico, you would be a fool to bet against a forward line of Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema and Di María.
Paris St. Germain v. Chelsea
This tie is intriguing as it pits two oligarchs of European football against each other. PSG have had a phenomenal rise in recent years, much like Chelsea did when Roman Abramovich bought the club in June 2003. They are dominating the French league at the moment and have one of the best strike partnerships in the world in Cavani and Ibrahimovic. However I feel that it is too soon for them to conquer Europe (it took the London club nine years to win the competition after the takeover), and Chelsea have experience and the underestimated Mourinho factor.
Atlético Madrid v. Barcelona
This is the hardest of the quarterfinals to call. Atlético have been sensational this year, and after the result in the second El Clasico they sit pretty at the top of La Liga. With Simeone at the helm and Costa leading the line, they may break the monopoly that the big two in La Liga have held for so long. In the games that they’ve played against each other this year, Atléitco have more than held their own against the three time winners of the Champions League. However I think Barcelona’s experience at this level and the resurgence of Lionel Messi will see them through.