Just like every year, the UEFA Champions League has seen its share of surprises. A competition which sees the Europe’s clubs taking part in the quest for the holy grail, has reached its quarter final stage. With the Round of 16 games giving viewers some scintillating games in the form of Arsenal vs Bayern Munich, Real Madrid vs Manchester United and AC MIlan vs Barcelona, some of the favorites of the tournament have been knocked out, leaving just 8 teams remain to fight it for Europe’s top prize. With outsiders such as Borussia Dortmund, Malaga, Galatasary all part of the draw, predicting the outcome for the semi final is all the more difficult considering how well these teams have done.
Here is a look at all the four clashes and our verdict as to what can happen..
Malaga v/s Borussia Dortmund
One of the surprises of the season, Malaga has been ruthless in the Champions League this far. Having seen off Porto in the round of 16 tie, the Spanish side have come a long way since selling its top players during summer. Quick passing, slick football is their style of play and Manuel Pellegrini’s men could be said to be a typical Spanish side.
Malaga face a stiff opponent in the form of Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinal. The German champions play a similar brand of football as that of their opponents. However, Dortmund move the ball in a lightening quick fashion, similar to that of Barcelona and have come a long way from being underachievers to one of the favourites.
Dortmund have an array of stars in their team and this could very well end Malaga’s Champions League quest. Dortmund, thus certainly look the favourites to qualify.
PSG v/s Barcelona
The Spanish high fliers take on the new big wigs of European football in this enticing clash. With a new owner and a new manager, Paris Saint Germain has suddenly become a force to reckon with. With players like Ibrahimovic, David Beckham and Thiago Silva in their ranks, PSG could be said to be capable enough to achieving anything, at least on papaer. However, the new look PSG side will take some time to settle and it may not be easy for them to continue in this competition.
PSG’s opponents are such that other teams look to avoid them. Runaway leaders in the Spanish League, Barcelona have played some scintillating football this season. The Blaugrauna outfit nearly escaped elimination in the previous round and will be wary of their opponent’s potential. However, Barca’s slick passing, possession game might just be too hot for PSG to handle and the Barca stars in the form of Xavi, Iniesta, Messi might just overplay their European counterparts.
Real Madrid v/s Galatasaray
It’s a clash between the Spanish and the Turkish Champions. Madrid, who have played second fiddle to Barcelona in the Spanish League, have take full advantage of their Champions League outings. Having gotten past the group of death, Madrid went on to beat Manchester United, the English heavyweights, to reach the quarters. Madrid have with them a shrewd tactician in the form of Jose Mourniho who needs to make sure they get past the Turkish side comfortably to reach the semis in high confidence. Having hoards of stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, Kaka etc, Madrid are expected to win the clash no matter who big a challenge Galatasaray pose.
The surprise package of the year have been Galatasaray. The Turkish Champions have shown great mettle to get till here but they might find it tough to get past Madrid. Having bought Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder in the winter transfer window, Galatasaray do possess some quality. They might prove to be a stiffer opponent than they look lie but this tie is surely for Madrid’s to lose.
Bayern Munich v/s Juventus
Last but not the least, the Champions League quarter final awaits this mega clash. The German giants Bayern Munich have been handed the toughest draw of the quarters as they face the Italian bigwigs Juventus.
Having scraped through to the quarter finals, Bayern Munich started as one of the favourites to win the Champions League. Runaway leaders in the German League, Munich have conceded just 6 goals at home this season and Juventus have a certain job on their hands when they visit the Allianz Arena (Bayern’s home). Having a star studded line-up, the Bavarians, as they are called, can defeat any team on their day.
Juventus have come into the Champions League after a very long time. A relegation to the Serie B due to a match fixing scandal in 2007 had seen the Italian Champions face tough times but they fought on and eventually find themselves top of the Italian League for the second consecutive season. Juventus were also unbeaten in the League for the whole of the last season and have a strong side. As a typical Italian team which defends well and attacks with a little flair, Juventus will be a great match for the German outfit. This tie is therefore too tough to call.
With the first leg being played on the 2nd and 3rd April followed by the second leg on the 9th and 10th, the teams who win will go one step closer to Wembley and the teams who go out will only rue on what could have been!