2015 Champions League Quarter-Finals
We are down to the last eight in Europe’s premier competition and in this post we preview the four quarter-finals and offer a prediction or two!
Atlético Madrid vs Real Madrid
A repeat of last year’s final sees Atletico, who came so close to winning their first ever Champions League/European Cup title, take on crosstown rivals and ten-time winners Real Madrid. Atlético’s coach Diego Simeone will be looking for revenge for that defeat in Lisbon last May although his side are unbeaten in six matches against Real this season – a bogey side of sorts. Real were beaten in four of those games and this will surely have an effect on how they perform in the first leg at Atlético’s Vicente Calderón Stadium. I’m going for a 1-1 draw in this one with Simeone’s men to scrape through to the last four.
Juventus vs AS Monaco
In the previous round, Arsenal fans were delighted to have been drawn against French Ligue 1 side AS Monaco; seeing them as the weakest side left in the competition. However, a chastening 3-1 home first-leg defeat lead to the Londoners being dumped out of the tournament. Serie A leaders Juventus will surely not be as overconfident as Arsenal and should see off Monaco though they will have to break down one of the best defenses in Europe. With the Italian title all but won, Juventus can focus all their attention on this tie and with Pogba, Morata and Tevez in their side they should have enough for Jardim’s Monaco.
Paris Saint-Germain vs Barcelona
The home side will be without star striker Ibrahimovic after his sending off against Chelsea in the previous round, while they will also be missing Brazilian defender David Luis and their absences will offer Barcelona hope of gaining an advantage in the first leg. Barca’s front three of Messi, Neymar and Suarez will test the Parisian back four, though the Catalan side have already been defeated there this season when the two sides met in the group stage. The teams also met at this stage of last year’s competition when Messi and co. only went through on away goals. I am not sure it will be as close this year with Barcelona to win in Paris and then progress to the semi’s.
FC Porto vs Bayern Munich
With six first-teamers out of the squad through injury, Bayern Munich have something of an injury crisis before their game away in Porto. They should still have enough to defeat a Porto side that is on a ten-match unbeaten run in all competitions and will be buoyed by a partizan crowd. Bayern blitzed Shakhtar 7-0 in the last round and while it will not be as easy against the Portuguese side, expect Bayern to be in the draw for the semi-finals.
We are down to the last eight: We have reached the quarter-final stage
take on crosstown rivals: Will play their city rivals
a bogey side: A team that another team finds hard to defeat
to scrape through: To just about make it
chastening: Humiliating; left them feeling embarrassed
being dumped out of: Crashed out of; they were beaten in a game that they should not have lost
see off: Defeat
to break down one of the best defenses: To overcome the defence
title all but won: Juventus have almost wrapped up the title
back four: Defence
Messi and co.: Barcelona (Messi and his team mates)
on away goals.: The two teams scored the same amount of goals but Barcelona scored more away than PSG
first-teamers: Players who would appear in the starting eleven
will be buoyed by a partizan crowd: The home fans are very supportive and will make it difficult for Bayern
blitzed: thrashed; trounced