The UEFA Champions League returns this week with the first game of the two-match quarterfinals series. Eight teams remain in soccer’s biggest club tournament.
Reigning Champions League winners Chelsea are still alive in the tournament, although some external factors could play a part in the team failing to make it back to the final. Last season’s runners-up, Manchester City are also still alive. The Cityzens have been the bookies’ favorite since the start and remain as thus heading into the quarterfinals.
UEFA Champions League quarterfinals matches
Benfica vs. Liverpool — Tuesday, April 5 — Estadio da Luz, Lisbon
Manchester City vs. Atletico Madrid — Tuesday, April 5 — Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Villarreal vs. Bayern Munich — Wednesday, April 6 — Estadio de la Ceramica
Real Madrid vs. Chelsea — Wednesday, April 6 — Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
The return legs will be played on Tuesday, April 12, and Wednesday, April 13, respectively. The matches will be flip-flopped with the teams playing the first leg on Tuesday playing their return matches on Wednesday and so on.
The semifinal match-ups have already been set and will be as follows:
Chelsea / Real Madrid vs. Manchester City / Atletico Madrid — 26 / 27 April; 3 / 4 May
Benfica / Liverpool vs. Villarreal / Bayern Munich — 26 / 27 April; 3 / 4
Odds to win the Champions League Final
Manchester City +187
Bayern Munich +300
Real Madrid +1400
Atletico Madrid +2500
Pep Guardiola’s Man City have been the tournament’s favorite from Jump Street. The Cityzens are a strong side and despite not having the quality of some of the sides left in the tournament, continue to win games.
Liverpool have already lifted the English League Cup and are in a serious fight with Manchester City for the Premier League title. The Reds received the easiest draw in the quarterfinals against a so-so Benfica side. Liverpool won the competition in 2019.
Germany’s only team left in the Champions League. This is a seriously strong attacking side with the world’s best striker, Robert Lewandowski, banging in the goals. Lewandowski has 45 goals in 38 games this season for Bayern. There are some holes in the team and Villarreal do offer up a tricky fixture.
Last year’s Champions League winners were going strong until the War in Ukraine. Since then, Russian owner Roman Abramovich has had his assets frozen. There are a lot of issues at the club internally and it could play into the team’s Champions League run. Chelsea were smashed by Premier League rival Brentford 4-1 on Saturday at home. The Blues conceded all four goals in the game’s final 40 minutes.
No club has won the Champions League more than Real Madrid. Los Blancos looked dead and buried in the last 16 against Paris Saint-Germain, but made a sudden comeback to win the second leg and tie thanks to a Karim Benzema hat-trick. Real Madrid can never be counted out.
Last season’s La Liga winners have blown hot and cold this season. They reached the quarterfinals thanks to a last 16 win over Manchester United. They now face Manchester City and the Atletico defence will be pushed like never before.
Don’t count this plucky little Spanish team out. Villarreal are the reigning Europa League winners and go into the last eight after knocking out Juventus. Unai Emery is a fantastic coach and no manager has won more Europa League trophies than him. Can he finally lift the Champions League?
Benfica have the longest odds to win the Champions League at the quarterfinal stage. This is the weakest team left in the tournament. Benfica came from behind over two legs to knockout Ajax in the round of 16. Liverpool will be an extremely difficult opponent for the Lisbon-based club to defeat.
UEFA Champions League quarterfinal picks
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Benfica vs. Liverpool
Liverpool are head and shoulders better than Benfica in all areas. The Reds should weather a few storms in the first leg and overcome the Eagles in the tie. Liverpool should pick up wins in both matches to punch their ticket to the semifinals.
Manchester City vs. Atletico Madrid
Atletico’s attacking deficiencies should show over the two legs. Manchester City simply win games. They may not have the world’s best goalscorer in the team, but that doesn’t stop them from winning. Expect a difficult two-legged series at times, but ultimately, Man City will win the quarterfinals to reach the final four.
Villarreal vs. Bayern Munich
This is a tricky tie for Bayern, but ultimately, they should see off Villarreal over two legs. Villarreal may sneak a draw at home in the first leg. Bayern Munich should control the second match at home.
Chelsea vs. Real Madrid
Soccer Buddy sees Chelsea winning the first leg 1-0. Yet, I don’t agree with the score prediction. Real Madrid should outplay Chelsea over two legs and reach the semifinals against Manchester City.
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