Manchester United and Arsenal were eliminated in the last 16 meaning there will be no English team in the quarter-finals, but that does not mean the quarter-final draw is any less compelling.
Bayern Munich vs. Juventus
This one is the pick of the quarter-finals. Bayern demolished Arsenal in London but were strangely muted at home. They seem to struggle under the pressure of their home crowd, as shown by their failure to beat Chelsea in the Champions league final despite creating numerous chances.
The club is also obsessed with winning the Champions League, especially after losing two out of the last three finals, so this will add to the pressure. Juventus have taken a while to recover from being demoted for match-fixing, but are now back at the top of European football. When playing Celtic they seemed happy to soak up pressure and to tire their opponents out, so they will probably adopt a defensive approach away from home.
It is important to note they had the weakest team in the last 16 so it is hard to draw many conclusions from them winning that tie. Celtic did create chances, which better players would have put away.
My Prediction- Juventus
Real Madrid vs. Galatasaray
On paper this should be a Madrid win, as they have an extremely strong squad and a manager with two Champions League winners’ medals. There are several factors however that makes me question this.
The first is the hostile atmosphere in Turkey that will give Galatasaray an advantage in their home leg. The second is how despite the riches in their team, Madrid were unimpressive against Manchester United, only winning the tie when they had a numerical advantage. They clearly can be nullified if opponents get their tactics right.
This leads me to suspect that the Turkish team might get lucky, especially if Didier Drogba is on form and they utilise his strengths.
My Prediction: Galatasaray
PSG vs. Barcelona
This tie pits one of European football’s nouveau riche against one of its old guard. Despite losing Pep Guardiola, it is hard to see past Barcelona, as a team with Messi, Xavi and Iniesta are still formidable opponents whoever is managing them.
It will be interesting to see if PSG adopt the kind of defensive approach that allowed Inter Milan and Chelsea to knock Barcelona out, and whether they do it well. Even if they do they still need a huge amount of luck if they are to have any hope of getting through this tie.
Chelsea in some senses got lucky that they played Barcelona when they had “one of those days” when the chances just wouldn’t go in. It will be vital for the French team to take a lead to Spain; otherwise the tie will really be all over.
My Prediction: Barcelona
Malaga vs. Borussia Dortmund
This is the most intriguing, and hardest to call, of all the quarter-finals. Like PSG, Malaga are in the quarters because of big money investment from abroad, which has already stopped, leaving them in financial difficulties. UEFA have threatened to ban them from European football for four seasons starting next season due to unpaid bills.
Dortmund in comparison have built themselves up more organically. Their manager Jurgen Klopp has impressed many by winning back to back Bundesliga titles against the big money of Bayern Munich. Malaga’s coach Manuel Pelligrini impressed during a season managing Real Madrid, and allegedly Chelsea are interested in him. Due to how they tore Manchester City apart, I cannot see past the Germans for this one.
My Prediction: Borussia Dortmund
Now let us know your predictions...
image: © Jan S0L0