This week sees the first legs of the Champions League quarter-finals taking place. This year we have three Spanish sides, two from Germany and one from France, Turkey and Italy – that’s right, none from England – all battling to make the final that takes place at Wembley in May. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report.
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Bayern Munich vs Juventus
Undoubtedly the tie of the round as these two powerhouses of European football go head to head in the last eight. German side Bayern have won the European title five times while the Old Lady from Turin has captured the crown twice. Both teams are leading their respective domestic leagues: Bayern are a massive 20 points clear of second-place Dortmund, while Juventus look set to retain their Scudetto crown as they are currently nine points clear of chasing Napoli. Munich will also want to erase the bad memories of losing in the final to Chelsea at home last season and are many favourites to win this year’s title. But Juventus are many people’s tips as dark horses and Antonio Conte’s side will pose problems for the Germans. A tight encounter but I think Bayern will just have enough to make it through as they continue to try and ease the pain from last season.
Paris Saint-Germain vs Barcelona
Backed by Qatari money PSG have been transformed from French also-rans to potential winners of the Champions League in only two seasons. There is quality throughout the side from Thiago Silva in defence to Swedish star Ibrahimovic in attack, while their manager Carlo Ancelotti has a Champions League pedigree second to none. Yet, they still find themselves as second favourites in their quarter-final match-up with tournament favourites, Barcelona. The Catalan side have found their form and are looking to win their third title in six years and after their demolition of AC Milan in the last round, few would bet against them.
Malaga vs Borussia Dortmund
At the start of this season Malaga were in crisis as the debt-riddled Spanish side were facing a points deduction, elimination from European football and a player exodus. But they ended the year unbeaten in a Champions League group that included AC Milan and Zenit St Petersburg. Manager Manuel Pellegrini then oversaw his team’s victory in the last 16 against Porto but surely the run cannot continue. They play against Borussia Dortmund who have taken this season’s Champions League by storm knocking out Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk. Dortmund cannot retain their Bundesliga title and so their only focus is the Champions League – a title they won in 1997. They should have enough to overcome Malaga but again, it will be close.
Real Madrid vs Galatasaray
No team has won the European Cup/Champions League more times than Real Madrid but they have been looking for their tenth title for more than a decade. Manager Jose Mourinho is hoping to win his third Champions League title with three separate clubs and both he and the club will be confident of defeating Turkish side Galatasaray in the last eight. ‘Gala’ have surprised many this season – they have beaten Manchester United as well as knocking out Schalke in the last round. They also have former Champions League winners Wesley Schneider and Didier Drogba in their ranks and Madrid should progress, despite Galatasaray being no pushovers, .
the tie of the round: The most anticipated match; everyone is looking forward to it.
go head to head: Face each other; play against each other
Old Lady: The nickname of Juventus
to erase the bad memories : They want to wipe away the bad memories
A tight encounter: A close game
also-rans: A team that does not feature near the top of the table; the team is not that strong
pedigree second to none: There is no one better
demolition: Destruction, heavy defeat
debt-riddled Spanish side: The club had lots of debts; they owed lots of money
a player exodus: Lots of players are leaving
taken this season’s Champions League by storm: Have excited many fans
in their ranks: In their team