The UEFA Champions League has offered one huge matchup, but the rest of the favorites for the title were separated in this season’s quarterfinal draw.
The UCL also provided football fans with a rematch of the 2013 quarterfinal round as well as a replay of two UCL finals. The most recent of those, which is the 2014 Madrid derby, is likely to be the most intriguing matchup of the round.
All games will be played on April 14-15 and April 21-22.
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Barcelona
Two questions will decide this matchup: Can Barcelona continue its magnificent recent form, and can PSG build on its round of 16 victory versus Chelsea?
PSG has been checked back once from such a notion this season. It beat Barcelona in its first group game only to be denied top spot by Barcelona on the last group stage match day. PSG is full of confidence, but it will not have Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marco Verratti for the first game. Lionel Messi should provide the difference.
Barcelona to advance
Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid
This is the matchup that will command the most attention. These teams have faced each other six times this season, so the form of both times should go out the window here.
Both teams will be driven by revenge. Atletico beat Madrid, 4-0, in January, but Madrid won last season’s UCL final in extra time, 4-1. Atletico has the perfect opportunity to kill off those painful memories, but what would it say about Atletico if it failed to beat its biggest rival on the grandest of stages yet again?
Can Madrid turn around its recent poor run of form? It should be a sensational matchup.
Real Madrid to advance
FC Porto vs. Bayern Munich
Bayern is a heavy favorite, but that doesn’t mean it will blow away Porto like it did Shakhtar in the last round. Porto is dangerous in attack but doesn’t defend well at times. It’s capable of surprising Bayern, and if Bayern plays like it did at Shakhtar, Bayern could be in real trouble.
This matchup comes down to one harsh reality: If Bayern plays up to its ability in both games, it will cruise past Porto.
Bayern to advance
AS Monaco vs. Juventus
Both of these teams should feel lucky because they’ve avoided the favorites, which include Bayern, Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico.
This matchup represents a great opportunity for both of these teams to reach a place they haven’t been in a long time. Monaco last reached the semifinal in 2004, Juventus in 2003.
It’s a tough one to call. On one side, Monaco has a solid defense, but it struggles to score and almost blew its comfortable cushion against Arsenal in the last round. On the other, Juventus is a technical team, but it will be without star midfielder Paul Pogba for close to two months after he picked up an injury against Dortmund in the second leg last round.
It’s certainly a golden chance for both teams, but who will take advantage?
Juventus to advance