UEFA Champions League Quarter Finals Preview

Chase O'Brien-Steele, Contributing Writer

The draw is in and the UEFA Champions League (UCL) quarter finals will take place beginning April 6. There are only eight European Giants left in the competition, and they are all vying for continental glory. Below is a preview of all of the matches. 

Real Madrid vs. Liverpool 

While neither club will be fielding the dominant rosters that they once ran out, these are still two European heavyweights that fancy their chances at the Champions League crown. Madrid and Liverpool both beat lackluster sides in the round of 16, but this is an intriguing matchup. Both are recent European and domestic champions that find themselves in a slightly more unfamiliar situation this year. Both clubs will feel aggrieved by this fact but this fixture is an opportunity to shift momentum. Liverpool, although ravaged by injuries this year, still has a quality squad that can go toe-to-toe with any team in Europe on their day. Real Madrid has lost a lot of star power over the past couple of years but still have talented players that can compete at the highest level. Liverpool will likely try to use their explosiveness on the counter against an unstable Real Madrid defense. Real Madrid have plenty of pace of their own on the wings and will also try to score against a depleted Liverpool back line. 

Manchester City vs. Borussia Dortmund 

A matchup between two teams who would consider themselves contenders to win the UCL. Borussia Dortmund brings a combination of experience, with veteran midfielder Marco Reus captaining the squad, and hunger from younger players, like forward Erling Haaland. The young Norwegian striker has 20 Champions League goals in 14 appearances, making him the fastest and youngest player to reach that threshold in the history of the competition. Haaland will look to punish City’s back line, but it won’t be easy. Man City have been brilliant this season and are eyeing multiple trophies. City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne scored a belter against Monchengladbach, and other in-form stars such as winger Raheem Sterling will look to contribute as well. This should be an entertaining clash between English and German giants. 

Bayern Munich vs. Paris Saint-Germain (PSG)

Bayern and PSG are two of the most talented teams in the Champions League this year, and stars on both teams can change games and ties. Bayern blew by Lazio and forward Robert Lewandowski, arguably the Ballon D’or frontrunner, will be eager to stake his claim in such a big matchup. PSG, on the other hand, are looking to avenge their loss to Bayern in the final last year, setting up the possibility of winning their first ever Champions League Title. While Bayern boast the scoring machine Lewandowski, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé also post incredible scoring numbers for PSG. Neymar has an impressive 41 total Champions League goals to his name, and Mbappe is the youngest player to score 25 goals in the competition. Look for PSG to try to get at Bayern’s defense with their speed, as veterans like center back Jerome Boateng don’t have the pace they used to have. Bayern, on the other hand, will see themselves as favorites in this game and play like the champions they are. Playing with as few mistakes as possible will be key to PSG’s success against this ruthless Bayern side. 

Chelsea vs. Porto

These are two teams that certainly aren’t accustomed to making it this far in the Champions League, especially in recent years. However, both sides earned quality results to reach this stage. Chelsea beat Spanish domestic league leaders Atletico Madrid, while Porto dispatched Italian giant Juventus with their superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. These two teams both fancy their chances at making it to the last four because this isn’t a lopsided matchup at all. Chelsea have been in incredible form under Thomas Tuchel, scoring 11 and conceding two in the Premier League. New players like German forward Timo Werner will be eager to perform well in this tie. Midfielder Hakim Ziyech has scored 14 goals in his last 17 Champions League games, so Chelsea will try to get him on the ball as much as possible. Porto, at the same time, are just coming off beating Juventus and would favor their chances against anyone, let alone Chelsea. Ex-Real Madrid center back Pepe provides veteran leadership in the back, and his adeptness will make it hard for Chelsea to penetrate Porto’s defense. Porto has talent over the pitch, as well as pace. Look for them to attack Chelsea from the flanks, as that’s a large part of how they successfully exploited Juventus.