When the Champions League quarterfinal draws were made, many were excited to see two of England’s most attacking teams matched together in what is arguably the game of the round.
Liverpool who remain unbeaten in Europe and Manchester City who look set to win at least the Premier League and Carabao Cup double at the end of the season would go head to head and ensure that England has a team in the semifinals.
There is also the repeat of last season’s final as Juventus take on Real Madrid who have Christiano Ronaldo in top form in this new year, Barcelona have a fairly easier fixture as they play AS Roma while Bayern Munich’s reward for scoring 8 goals against Besiktas over two legs is a date with Sevilla. Can the Spaniards achieve another giant Killing?
Schedule for the Champions League Quarterfinals
The Champions League quarterfinal first leg games would be played between the 3rd and 4th of April, while the second legs would be played between 10th and 11th.
Champions League quarterfinal match preview and betting tips
Liverpool vs Manchester City
Liverpool remain the only team to beat Manchester City in the Premier League this season and the Cityzens look like they could end the season without tasting another defeat locally. However, they return to Anfield for this clash between the highest scoring teams in England and Pep Guardiola would be hoping that he would be a third time lucky as he has been defeated in his last two visits to this ground.
On Current form Liverpool are the second remaining unbeaten team in the Champions League this season, the other being Barcelona and they are the competition’s highest scorers at the moment with 28 goals.
The Reds have struggled at times against big teams this season, but those matches have been against teams that have adopted a negative approach, with Pep Guardiola unlikely to abandon his attacking philosophy, Liverpool would be up for a cracker in the two legs of this game.
Mohamed Salah has been a revelation this season and would be looking to score another goal against Ederson. Roberto Firmino is one of the most underrated players in the Premier League, but the Brazilian is very hardworking, skilful, and has a very good first touch. Sadio Mane completes Liverpool’s deadly front three, which have scored a combined 73 goals for Liverpool this season.
Virgil van Dijk was signed for a club record fee in the January transfer market and the Dutchman has brought some leadership and calmness to Liverpool’s defence. He missed the Premier League clash with Manchester City at Anfield, he would be looking to help them avoid the sloppy late goals they conceded in that game here.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are running away with the Premier League title, credit to the former Barcelona man as he has transformed Manchester City with a combination of new younger players and some tactical innovations. They currently have a 16 points gap at the top of the Premier League and they have clinched the Carabao Cup, this competition is the final piece of their treble and they would be doing all they can to win it.
Liverpool stopped them from going unbeaten while Wigan stopped them from a domestic treble, this matchup offers them the chance to get revenge on the former.
Guardiola is unlikely going to adopt a negative approach to both legs of this game and that means there would be several opportunities to bet here.
Kevin De Bruyne is set to become the PFA Player of the season except if Mohamed Salah continues his hot streak of form and the Belgian assist provider could be the difference here, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling have both benefitted immensely from the tutelage of Pep Guardiola and while Sterling has always struggled against Liverpool since he left them, Sane has netted 3 goals in his last two appearances against the Reds. Sergio Aguero has never scored or won at Anfield but remains a world-class striker. If Kompany is fit for this games, he would provide some assurances in defence, but Aymeric Laporte has done well since he joined that explains why he has been preferred to John Stones more recently.
Anfield Road Stadium, 54,000 capacities
Liverpool fans would have preferred for the return leg to be played at their home, but they have been given the first leg. Anfield is one of the best stadiums to be on a European night. One of the reasons is because Liverpool does not know when they are beaten on this particular ground. The last time against Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League, the Reds showed their comeback spirit after going 3-1 down against the Germans to eventually win 4-3. Their fans would be cheering them on to get as many goals advantage as they can going into the return leg.
Etihad Stadium, 55, 000 capacities
Manchester City have become one of the richest English teams over the past couple of years, but the Cityzens home ground does not have as much European history as Liverpool’s. This season, however, Pep Guardiola has made the Etihad Stadium a fortress and they remain unbeaten there in the Premier League and have lost just once at home in Europe.
Predictions: On their current form, Manchester City are favourites, however, over two legs, Jurgen Klopp’s men could outscore the Cityzens.
Juventus vs Real Madrid predictions, match preview and betting tips
This game would bring us the repeat of last season’s final and it would be interesting to see if Juve would get revenge or if Real Madrid would triumph again.
The Italians are running away with the Italian Serie A again after pursuing and overtaking Napoli. They have been one of the most unfortunate teams in the Champions League, however, as they have been to two of the last three finals yet they have not won it. They came second in their group behind Barcelona and expertly eliminated Tottenham in the Round of 16, Real Madrid are more experienced than Mauricio Pochettino’s men and they would need to be both lucky and excellent to eliminate Los Blancos. Max Allegri prefers a more pragmatic approach to management.
Paolo Dybala netted his first Champions League goal of the season in the return game against Tottenham, he remains a huge threat although he has had many off days this season. Gonzalo Higuain scored in the two legs against the Lilywhites. In midfield, Miralem Pjanic would be pulling the strings alongside the experienced Khedira, if the German does not play then Blaise Matuidi would be tasked with the job. Giorgio Chiellini and Gianluigi Buffon would provide cover for them at the back.
Los Blancos made history last season when they became the first team to retain the Champions League crown, can Zinedine Zidane guide them to a record three consecutive Champions League titles?
They started the season so poorly that they have to concede that they cannot retain their La Liga title again, however, Christiano Ronaldo has roared back in style after a slow start to the season and he has scored 21 goals in his 11 games for Real in 2018 so far and does not look like stopping soon. Los Blancos have won 10 of their last 12 matches and they have now reached within 4 points of Atletico Madrid and 15 points of Barcelona in the league. Zinedine Zidane is a more attacking manager than his opponent in this game.
Just like last season, Christiano Ronaldo has hit top form at just the right time, if he keeps his form, he can fire Madrid to the Semifinals and to even win the trophy again, who knows? Sergio Ramos and Rafael Varane have struck up a good partnership at the heart of Los Blancos’ defence and that could prove key in stopping the likes of Gonzalo Higuain here. Toni Kroos has been named the best defensive midfielder in Europe and the German would be very important to Real’s cause here from midfield.
Allianz Stadium, 41,000 capacities,
The Allianz Stadium is Juventus’ home and it has been where the Italian giants have recorded some of their biggest victories. It is the sixth largest Stadiums in Italy, and it is usually filled to the brim on European nights.
Santiago Bernabeu, 81, 000 capacities
This is one of the most iconic stadiums in Europe and this season it has provided the right atmosphere for Los Blancos to keep winning, only Tottenham came out without a defeat there this season.
Predictions: Real Madrid have the upper hand here, with the return leg scheduled to be played at the Bernabeu, Los Blancos should get the win or goal they need after the first leg there.
Barcelona vs Roma
Barcelona seem to have been given a fairer draw with AS Roma one of the teams who doesn’t have the biggest pedigree in this competition. Ernesto Valverde’s men, however, would still have their work cut out as Roma have shown this season that they are not afraid of the big boys. Barca are currently topping the La Liga table and have reached the Copa Del Rey final, they have the chance to win the treble if they can clinch the Champions League as well. They are 11 points clear in the La Liga table.
Lionel Messi remains arguably the best player in the world at the moment and he has dealt well with both Barcelona and Argentina needing him to come to their rescue in many games, he was instrumental in eliminating Chelsea at the last round and would be key here again. Luis Suarez remains one of the world’s best scorers, while Ousmane Dembele have recovered well from injury to become one of their key men in recent fixtures.
Roma have defied the odds to reach the quarterfinals, however, Shakhtar Donetsk whom they faced in last round were not the toughest opponent, this game provides them with their toughest challenge this season. They have buckled under pressure on several occasions this season particularly in the Serie A where they were considered one of the favourites early on, they are now struggling for a place inside the top four ahead of next season. They have won 7 of their first 13 games of the year 2018.
Star Men: Edin Dzeko has scored 4 times for them in this season’s Champions League, but their star man has been Liverpool target, Allison Becker. The Brazilian shot-stopper has kept 4 clean sheets in 8 games, and has saved 27 of the 35 shots on target fired at his post, can he keep Lionel Messi and others out?
Camp Nou, 99,000 capacities
Camp Nou is the second biggest stadium in the world and the success of the Catalans has made it easy for this ground to always be filled especially on European nights, It has held a record crowd of 120,000 before and should provide Barcelona with the perfect atmosphere for their home game
Stadio Olimpico, 70,000 capacities
The Stadio Olimpico is home to both AS Roma and SS Lazio and it is the second biggest stadium in Italy. Roma fans are also one of the most passionate in Italy and they would surely be looking to give their team the support they deserve.
Chelsea would be considered a tougher test for Barca since they overcame the Blues, they should see off Roma here.
Sevilla vs Bayern Munich
Another team who would feel they have been given a fair draw is the rampant Bayern Munich, but they would need to be careful not to allow Sevilla perform another giant-killing act on them.
Sevilla eliminated a very negative Manchester United side at the last round to reach the quarterfinals for the first time in over 3 decades. Wassim Ben Yedder was their star man in that famous night at Old Trafford. They are currently outside the top 5 on the La Liga table, but their European form makes them a team that should not be underrated.
Star Men: Wassim Ben Yedder has scored 8 goals in the Champions League this season and he is currently second behind Christiano Ronaldo in the scorers’ chart. Angel Correa is also a dangerous player and could be key to opening up Bayern’s defence in these games.
Bayern Munich are back to their very best under Jupp Heynckes who famously led them to the treble of in the year 2013, they currently lead the Bundesliga by 17 points and could wrap up the title within their next two games. They finished second in the group stage behind PSG, but scored 8 goals over two legs to eliminate a previously unbeaten Besiktas team in the last round, they are one of the favourites and it would be interesting to see if Sevilla can stop them.
Robert Lewandoski has scored only 5 times in Europe this season, but he is one the best in the world at the moment, while Thomas Muller has found new form and confidence under Heynckes. Corentin Tollisso has looked a good signing and Arturo Vidal would be key in their midfield should he be picked.
Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, 42,000 capacities
This is the home where Sevilla have been able to avoid a defeat in Europe this season. The Spaniards even famously came from 3-0 down at halftime to draw 3-3 against Liverpool, making this ground a place where they don’t know when they are beaten. The club’s fans support have been tremendous also and they would be coming out en masse for the first leg of this game.
Bayern Munich’s famous home would play host to the return leg. Their fans would be hoping that they come home with a good away advantage, even if they fail to do so, they should finish the job here. The last time they hosted a European side here, they ended the game 5-0 victors.
Sevilla showed they can be giant killers against Manchester United, but they would be getting a more attacking display than what Manchester United offered in that game over two legs here, we expect Bayern to edge out the Spaniard in their normal outrageous fashion.
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