The Champions League return With the start of the quarterfinals, Spanish football faces England, massively represented among the survivors of the decisive stage of the competition.
Three teams from the Premier (Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool) and as many from LaLiga (Real Madrid, Atlético de Madrid and Villarreal). Behind, Bayern Munich from Germany, and the Portuguese Benfica.
two of the quarter finals that break out this coming week is a direct duel between the Spanish and the English. Atlético de Madrid visits the Etihad to play against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Real Madrid goes to London to face the defending champion, Chelsea. The two teams from Madrid against the finalists of the last edition.
The poster is completed with Benfica against Liverpool and Villarreal against Bayern Munich.
The path is traced. The last draw established the route to follow. The winners of City against Atlético and Chelsea against Real Madrid will play one of the semi-finals. The other the winners of the match between Benfica and Liverpool and Villarreal against Bayern. Paris is the final destination, on May 28.
The tie between the Spaniard Guardiola and the Argentine Diego Pablo Simeone is one of the great attractions of the quarterfinals. The clash at the Etihad opens the quarter-finals next Tuesday. It will be the third face to face between both technicians. Two were won by the current City coach. One the South American from Atlético de Madrid.
The rojiblanco team tests the potential of Manchester City, one of the favorites that faces his fifth consecutive quarter-finals from which he only emerged victorious once, last season. The Spanish representative has not been beyond this stretch in the last five years.
Atlético’s three victories in this edition of the Champions League, which has overcome three of its last quarter-final matches, have been away from home, especially decisive those achieved against Porto in the group stage and at Old Trafford, against Manchester United, to overcome the round of 16.
Tuesday will also be played the first leg of the confrontation between Benfica and Liverpool. Two former champions of the competition who will play the first leg in Lisbon. The Portuguese representative is for the first time in the last six years among the top eight in the tournament. Since 1990, the last time he reached the final, he has not progressed further.
A opposite dynamic to that of his usual rival in the quarterfinals, which he has reached four times in the last five years. The Portuguese club has won two titles in 1961 and 1962, and another five lost finals. Liverpool, however, has six trophies, the most recent three seasons ago. It is one of the sets to take into account. Benfica has managed to straighten its course after the crisis in the Portuguese competition that cost the dismissal of its then coach Jorge Jesús to make way for Nelson Varissimo.
The ‘reds’, however, are on a roll and have emerged as a serious alternative to Manchester City in the race for the Premier.
Real Madrid and Villarreal go into action on Wednesday. The Madrid squad faces a rematch against Chelsea who eliminated them in the semifinals last year to later become champions.
Second face to face in a row and the Carlo Ancelotti’s return to Stamford Bridgewhere he worked long ago, between 2009 and 2011. Chelsea, who have won all four games they have played in Europe this season, have made it out of the quarterfinals the last three times they have played them.
Real Madrid, damaged by the loss conceded in the classic against Barcelona and with doubts on Saturday against Celta, intends to prolong the momentum provided by the tie against Paris Saint-Germain, resolved at the Bernabéu, in the second leg. This time the second match will also be played in Madrid. It is the eighteenth time that the Whites’ squad has been among the top eight in the Champions League. He has emerged victorious on all nine recent occasions.
It is a challenge for Real Madrid reunion against Chelsea. The team then led by Zinedine Zidane had no choice and showed signs of inferiority against Thomas Tuchel’s team, who took over the English club in January after the dismissal of Frank Lampard. The German coach, dismissed from Paris Saint Germain, led the London team to the second title in its history.
The duel between Villarreal and Bayern Munich complete the quarterfinals. The yellow submarine that successfully beat Juventus in the round of 16 has become the ‘covered’ player in the tournament.
Villarreal returns to the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time since 2009. It is the third time in its history that it will be in a situation like this. Nothing to do with their rival, Bayern, who have played twenty times this stage of the event.
Unai Emery’s team, champions of the Europa League, only once reached the semi-finals. It was in 2005-2006, when he eliminated Inter. Later, Arsenal deprived him of reaching the final. The Gunners slaughtered him three years later when he failed to make it past the quarterfinals.
Bayern is the opposite. Experience is plenty for Julian Nagelsmann’s team led by Pole Robert Lewandowski, the tournament’s top scorer. The German champions have won all of their matches except for a draw against Salzburg in the first leg of the round of 16. Six titles and five finals stand out in his record.