Champions League quarterfinal: Picking Chelsea-Real Madrid, Man City-Bayern, extra


Now that the quarterfinal match-ups for the UEFA Champions League are set, ESPN’s Mark Ogden and Julien Laurens have a look at how every group fared within the draw, the gamers who might resolve every tie, and which groups are the most secure bets to advance.

Full UCL quarterfinal draw: Man City vs. Bayern, extra

The quarterfinal first legs will happen between April 11-12, with the return legs held between April 18-19. The semifinals will likely be staged on Might 9-10 and Might 16-17.

This yr’s closing will likely be held on the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey on June 10.

Betting traces (through Caesars):

Real Madrid -112, Chelsea +310

How these two sides match up

This can be a rematch of final season’s unimaginable quarterfinal. Karim Benzema scored a hat-trick and Real Madrid gained 3-1 at Stamford Bridge earlier than Chelsea shocked the Bernabeu within the second leg by main 3-0 with a dominant efficiency, till Rodrygo first after which Benzema once more, in further time, led Madrid to victory and knocked the Londoners out.

This time round, Real Madrid are much more favoured in comparison with a yr in the past. The European Champions usually are not firing in all cylinders in LaLiga, the place they path Barcelona by 9 factors, however on the subject of the Champions League, they’ve this outstanding savoir faire and expertise; they not often panic and at all times maintain management of their future. The way in which they gained at Anfield in opposition to Liverpool (5-2) within the final spherical reminded everyone of their power.

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Chelsea, then again, usually are not the group they have been a yr in the past — removed from it. Regardless of three wins in a row, together with a victory of their last-16, second leg, in opposition to Borussia Dortmund, Graham Potter continues to be in search of consistency and momentum. The Blues must be an improved group in a month time after they journey to Madrid in the event that they wish to trigger issues. Time might play of their favour on this case.

The important thing participant who might resolve it for every group

– REAL MADRID: Karim Benzema. At 35 and regardless of an up and down season because of accidents, Karim Benzema continues to be a very powerful participant on this Real Madrid aspect. After all, Vinicius, Luka Modric, Antonio Rudiger or Thibaut Courtois are massively necessary however the 2022 Ballon d’Or is the X issue, the chief, the soul, the scorer and the information of the group.

For the reason that restart, he has been in nice scoring kind the place he performed and his report in knockout rounds of the Champions League since final season is unreal: 13 objectives in his final eight matches past the group stage. His consistency — 89 Champions League objectives now in his profession, solely participant with Lionel Messi to have scored in 18 European campaigns in a row — is excellent and he’s clutch by definition. A person for the largest events.



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– CHELSEA: Wesley Fofana. If Chelsea are presently doing higher, it is largely due to the defender’s kind. Since getting back from damage and integrating the Blues’ again three, the previous Leicester defender has made this group a lot strong, and even scored the winner in opposition to Leeds within the Premier League. His partnership with Kalidou Koulibaly is great and whoever is known as because the third man within the protection — Marc Cucurella, Benoit Badiashile, Thiago Silva — will slot in properly.

His duel with Benzema, if each of them are match to play, would be the greatest key on this recreation. At 22, Fofana is studying shortly concerning the calls for of the highest degree and this might show his greatest take a look at but. Didier Deschamps even referred to as him up for France for the primary time on Thursday, which is able to increase his confidence earlier than what will likely be an enormous finish of the season for him.

Who advances?

Real Madrid. I do not suppose this will likely be a simple tie in any respect for the European champions. I count on Chelsea to be higher by the point the primary leg comes and to make this aggressive. But the expertise and up to date success of Real Madrid on this competitors make them favourites. — Laurens

 logoInter Milan vs. Benfica

Betting traces (through Caesars):

Benfica +129, Inter Milan +130

How these two sides match up

A really very long time in the past, they confronted one another within the European Cup closing and neither of them would have began this present Champions League marketing campaign again in September pondering they may meet once more within the quarterfinals this time, however right here they’re, having fun with two very totally different types and seasons.

Benfica are the most effective groups in Europe proper now, with Roger Schmidt’s group solely shedding one recreation all season. They play nice soccer with depth, motion and intelligence. Even the departure of Enzo Fernandez to Chelsea on the finish of January would not appear to have damage them.

In opposition to them, they may face an Inter Milan aspect which has struggled at occasions. It isn’t the good ball taking part in group of final season, however somewhat extra pragmatic, which defended for its life in opposition to Porto within the last-16 second leg and managed to maintain its 1-0 benefit from the primary leg. They’re able to good soccer however we have now not seen it sufficient this season. They nonetheless beat Napoli in Serie A, which says loads about their potential on their day.

The important thing participant who might resolve it for every group

– INTER MILAN: Andre Onana. It is unimaginable to suppose that supervisor Simone Inzaghi took so lengthy to present him the beginning spot forward of Samir Handanovic, however since he did, the Cameroon worldwide has been nice — significantly in Europe. He was unimaginable in opposition to Porto within the two video games: his unimaginable double save within the first leg was one among Inter’s most necessary moments this season.

Onana’s excellent distribution helps the group when beneath strain and on his line, he’s able to miracles, even when generally there’s nonetheless a mistake or two in him. For a again to again journey to Portugal, he’ll in all probability have much more work to do in opposition to the formidable Benfica assault than he did in opposition to Porto. And he must be prepared.

– BENFICA: Goncalo Ramos. Darwin Nunez left Benfica final summer time for Liverpool, however Goncalo Ramos has made Benfica a greater group than when Darwin was there! The 21-year-old Portuguese striker, who scored a hat trick on the World Cup in opposition to Switzerland, has been on hearth all season: In 12 Champions League video games to this point, he has seven objectives and three assists, with 15 and one help in 20 league matches.

He isn’t just a fantastic finisher; Ramos is already a whole ahead with fast toes and nice consciousness. He has been a handful for each opponent this season, even when he has not been scoring. Inter’s again three must discover a approach to maintain him quiet.

Who advances?

Benfica. I feel the Portuguese aspect may have an excessive amount of for Inter. Roger Schmidt and his gamers have been unplayable at occasions this season, and their depth will likely be an issue. Inzaghi may have a plan and this Inter aspect can defend properly, however additionally they have too many weaknesses to beat Benfica over two video games. — Laurens

Betting traces (through Caesars):

Man City +100, Bayern Munich +240

How these two sides match up

This fixture might have been a sensational closing between two Champions League heavyweights, however regardless of each side having ambitions to win this season’s competitors, neither has reached their regular excessive requirements throughout this marketing campaign. Bayern have gained all eight Champions League video games this season — City have gained 5 and drawn 3 — however they’ve been inconsistent within the Bundesliga. City have been equally unconvincing within the Premier League.

However whereas there’s a sense that every group loved its peak possibly 2 or 3 years in the past, each are able to producing a giant efficiency to win this tie. Bayern overcame Paris Saint-Germain within the final spherical with a mix of youth and expertise — the precocious expertise of Jamal Musiala, the Champions League pedigree of Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka, plus the ageless Thomas Muller.

City displayed their ruthless aspect by beating RB Leipzig 7-0 within the second leg, with Erling Haaland scoring 5 objectives, and that show was a warning to all of their Champions League rivals. However Kevin De Bruyne and goalkeeper Ederson are struggling for kind, simply as Bayern have needed to overcome the damage that dominated keeper Manuel Neuer out for the season.

Each these groups have weaknesses, even with the coaches Julian Nagelsmann (no European success) and Pep Guardiola (too vulnerable to erratic ways at this stage of the competitors), so neither can declare to be the favorite. It could all come all the way down to Haaland and whether or not he’s unstoppable once more or contained by Bayern.

The important thing participant who might resolve it for every group

– MAN CITY: Rodri. This recreation will likely be gained in midfield and City want to regulate Bayern a lot better than PSG have been capable of within the final spherical. If Rodri is at his greatest, City ought to dictate the tempo of the sport and that will likely be decisive. But when Goretzka and Muller run the present, as they did in opposition to PSG, it’ll give Bayern the sting. Guardiola might have to deploy Ilkay Gundogan alongside Rodri so as to tilt the tie in City’s favour.

– BAYERN MUNICH: Jamal Musiala. Bayern would possibly look like a group in transition proper now, with the group nonetheless adjusting to final summer time’s lack of Robert Lewandowski, however Musiala is their shining gentle and the 20-year-old absolutely causes Pep Guardiola the best concern. The Germany ahead can run at defenders, choose a move and rating objectives — in some ways he matches the profile of an ideal Guardiola participant — so he will likely be a serious downside for City and Bayern’s greatest hope.

Who advances?

Bayern Munich. This tie is so powerful to name, however Bayern have the sting because of taking part in the second leg at residence. Golf equipment like Bayern — you possibly can evaluate them to Real Madrid and Liverpool on this sense — possess an X-factor in European video games due to their historical past and the idea that it provides to gamers and supporters.

City solely have the strain to ship after constant Champions League failure, and I count on that to work in opposition to them once more. — Mark Ogden

Betting traces (through Caesars):

AC Milan +210, Napoli +140

How these two sides match up

On paper, this tie appears to be like like a mismatch, with Napoli 20 factors away from Milan in Serie A and on target to win a primary Scudetto since 1990. Luciano Spalletti’s aspect beat Milan 2-1 at San Siro in September and they’re the highest scorers within the Champions League with 25 objectives this season. However Milan are the reigning Italian champions and regardless of enduring a troublesome current interval, they continue to be a European big, with solely Real Madrid (14) successful extra Champions Leagues than the Rossoneri (7).

If this tie goes to kind, nonetheless, Napoli will attain the semifinals for the primary time. They’ve arguably been essentially the most spectacular group on this season’s competitors as a result of performances of Victor Osimhen, Kim Min-jae, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and so many others. They are not only a formidable power going ahead, both: they’ve the very best defensive report in Serie A and have conceded simply 6 objectives in 8 Champions League ties this season.

Whilst overwhelming favourites, Napoli must address the strain of expectancy in opposition to a home rival and Champions League historical past is affected by examples of upsets in ties between groups from the identical nation. Milan merely need to discover a manner of stopping Napoli’s formidable forwards, although it appears an not possible job.

The important thing participant who might resolve it for every group

– AC MILAN: Fikayo Tomori. If Milan are to drag off a shock on this tie, they merely need to cease Napoli ahead Victor Osimhen. And having stored Harry Kane quiet throughout the Spherical of 16 tie in opposition to Tottenham, England defender Tomori is more likely to be tasked with doing the identical job right here. After all, Napoli have threats in all areas of the pitch, however Milan will look to stifle the sport so as to stay within the tie when the play the second leg in Naples, so their defenders have big accountability on their shoulders and Tomori will carry most of it.

– NAPOLI: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. The Georgia worldwide has been the breakout star of this season’s Champions League. He tore Liverpool aside within the first group recreation again in September and he has continued in an analogous vein all through the marketing campaign. His stats of two objectives and 4 assists within the competitors to this point don’t do justice to the influence he has had for Napoli, the place he has been nicknamed “Kvaradona,” after membership legend Diego Maradona, due to his game-changing potential.

Who advances?

Napoli. Milan have the pedigree and that at all times counts for one thing within the Champions League, however Napoli are so superior to Stefano Pioli’s group that the ghosts of Milan’s superb previous will not be capable to knock them off their stride. Napoli can go all the best way this season; do not count on Milan to cease them. — Ogden

Who will attain the ultimate primarily based on the complete draw?

Outright winner traces, through Caesars:

Man City +225, Napoli +320, Bayern Munich +350, Real Madrid +650, Inter Milan +1400, Chelsea +1400, Benfica +1600, AC Milan +2000

Real Madrid and Napoli: Bayern have a fantastic report in opposition to Real over time, however Carlo Ancelotti’s group are too sturdy to falter in opposition to the Germans once more this time round and they’re going to even be too good for Manchester City. Napoli are the excellent group within the different half of the bracket: it is powerful to see Inter or Benfica beating them over two video games within the semis in the event that they get past Milan. — Ogden

Manchester City and Napoli: Napoli are the excellent favourites within the aspect of the draw and except one thing loopy occurs to their star gamers, they’re manner too good for Inter, Benfica or Milan. The street to the ultimate for City is way tougher however Pep Guardiola and his gamers have discovered from their errors and disappointments of the previous. This may very well be their yr and beating Bayern Munich and Real Madrid or Chelsea will not scare them and can make them stronger. — Laurens

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