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What To Expect From The UEFA Champions League Quarter-Finals

UEFA Champions League Quarter Finalists
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As we near the business end of the UEFA Champions League, the excitement is heating up. The draw has thrown up some fascinating ties as some of Europe’s heavyweights battle it out for the biggest prize in club football. In anticipation of these games, we are going to break down the key battles in each of the four quarter-finals and see who are the favourites to make the final four.




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There couldn’t be two teams with more different styles than Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund. Manchester City are arguably a better team when they play with no strikers and have 5 technically gifted midfielders on the pitch capable of interchanging between one and another in the attacking positions. Conversely, almost everything Borussia Dortmund do on the offensive side of things flows through their star striker Erling Haaland.

While City have been the dominant team in Europe this season, Haaland has been the dominant player and is currently the top scorer in this seasons Champions League with 10 goals. Much of this tie will come down to how Manchester City and their defensive partnership of Ruben Dias and John Stones can cope with the pace, power and poise of the Norwegian goal-machine. City have been rampant in the League and Europe this season and should deal with this Dortmund side with ease, but Pep Guardiola’s City side have infamously struggled at this stage of the competition in previous years – losing to Lyon, Tottenham and Liverpool in the quarters in the past three seasons.

My Pick: Manchester City




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Much has been said about Liverpool’s poor form in 2021 but the Reds have turned a corner in the last month and are showing shades of their title-winning season in 2019-20. Diogo Jota’s return from injury, Thiago’s resurgence and Fabinho’s return to the base of midfield thanks to Ozan Kabak’s and Nat Phillips’s defensive partnership have helped Liverpool recently and it feels like the gears are finally moving again. Liverpool dispatched Leipzig with ease over two legs and put up their best performance since the new year against Arsenal at the Emirates and enter the Madrid tie full of confidence.

Madrid however will be a stern assessment for the Reds and the likes of Kabak and Phillips, in particular, will be tested by Karim Benzema and the pace of Vinicius. Madrid are likely to dominate possession with Toni Kroos, Casemiro and the ageless Luka Modric in the middle of the park but will be without their captain, alpha male and leader Sergio Ramos through injury. While Nacho has performed well recently, Ramos’s absence might be the deciding factor in this tie over the two legs as the rest of the Madrid defence might struggle against the speed and directness of Liverpool’s attack.

My Pick: Liverpool




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Porto pulled off a major upset as they dealt with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus in the Round of 16 in extra time to advance to the quarter-finals. Porto play very much like Atletico Madrid – the team Chelsea beat in the Round of 16 – with a compact 4-4-2 and are happy to let the other team have possession and attack on the counter. The central defensive partnership of former Champions League winner Pepe and Chancel Mbemba were immense against the Old Lady and they will have their work cut out against an improved Chelsea side under Tomas Tuchel.

Barring their freak defeat to West Brom at the weekend, Chelsea have been resolute in defence under Tuchel and have kept 8 clean sheets in 10 league games. With Chelsea averaging over 60% possession under Tuchel and Porto having less than 40% of the ball in Europe, the Blues should dominate the ball and most of the game will likely be played in Porto’s half. The only question is how effective can they be with it. 

In such a game where space behind the opposition defence is a rarity, Chelsea might turn to Olivier Giroud – their top scorer in the Champions League this season – to unlock the Porto defence with his movement and aerial threat in the box.

My Pick: Chelsea 




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The most exciting tie of the round has to be the replay of last season’s Champions League final in Lisbon between Bayern Munich and PSG. Bayern Munich are in red-hot form at the moment having just beaten title rivals, RB Leipzig, to go seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga. PSG, on the other hand, haven’t been as dominant this season domestically as they trail Lille by 3 points in Ligue 1 after losing to them at the weekend. Nevertheless, despite their dominance, Bayern’s UCL hopes received a body blow over the international break as star striker Robert Lewandowski is facing four weeks on the sidelines with a knee injury.

The Bavarian outfit will have to find new solutions in front of goal with either Serge Gnabry or former PSG man Choup-Moting playing upfront.

Aside from Lewandowski’s injury, the main question surrounding this tie is whether PSG and Mbappe in particular can exploit Bayern’s high line. With sweeper-keeper Manuel Neuer in goal and quick defenders like David Alaba and Alphonso Davies, Bayern were able to play the high-line against Tuchel’s PSG in the final and limit the space for the likes of Mbappe and Neymar to exploit. It will be fascinating to see if this strategy continues to be effective over the two legs against a PSG side with plenty of technical midfielders capable of breaking through the lines.

My Pick: Bayern Munich


[Image Credit: UEFA Champions League]