All the English clubs hit the canvas in the round of 16, but the show moves on! Without any representatives from the Premier League, the media hype was somewhat subdued for the draw on Friday for the Quarter Finals. Regardless, we still got some mighty intriguing ties.
PSG v Barcelona
After their sensational result at Stamford Bridge, PSG will finally have some serious belief that they can actually go on and win the big one. Not many would have bet that the Parisian club had it in them to overcome a hurdle which included a red card, and falling behind twice on enemy turf! Their belief will be tested to the limit with a tie against current La Liga leaders, Barcelona. The Catalans comfortably dealt with Manchester City, and without the display of Joe Hart in the Nou Camp, the victory would have been resounding. Both clubs were in the same group for the group phase, each winning their respective home tie. Not much separated the two clubs back in Winter, but Barcelona have found some great form, and have surged in front in Spain. Barcelona will be favourites to proceed here.
Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid
It’s a repeat of last years final, and current La Liga champions would dearly love to get some revenge for their defeat in May. Atletico were within seconds of winning the Champions League, before a late equaliser took the game into extra time. Although Real Madrid are the holders, their form of late has not been as devastating as it was earlier in the season. Atletico haven’t been great either, slipping down to 4th with their patchy form, but they seem to have somewhat of an Indian sign over Real as of late. Atletico have not lost in their last 6 encounters to their glamorous neighbours, and their last match ended in a resounding 4-0 win for Simone’s men. If Atletico can get something from their home leg, they could knock out the holders come the return at the Bernabeu!
Bayern v Porto
Both teams progressed with comfort in their return home leg. Bayern destroyed a shell-shocked Shakhtar 7-0 in the Allianz Arena. The German team showing that they will be a force to contend with, and a sigh of intent to regain the title they lost to Madrid last May. Porto progressed with a 4-0 victory over Basel, after a tight first leg which ended 1-1. The Quarter Finals may be a step to far for the Portuguese side, Munich simply look too strong, and barring any great upset, not many can see Porto winning over 2 legs against the 2013 champions.
Monaco v Juventus
Dortmund and Arsenal shared the same group, and both shared the same fate, going out in the final 16 to the participants of this tie. While Juventus beating Dortmund was a result that many would have expected, considering Dortmund’s underwhelming league form. Monaco shocked everyone by knocking out an in form Arsenal team, their first leg heroics sealing the tie, despite a loss in the return leg. Juventus are flying in Serie A, 14 points clear at the top. With the league pretty much wrapped up, they can give the Champions League a good push. The injury to Paul Pogba may have come at a bad time, but the Italians are still packed with talent. Monaco have done well to get this far, but Juventus will not be as charitable with their defence as Arsenal were in the last round.