Posted in Achieve, Sports on 29 March 2013 | by Amit

Champions League Quarter Finals Preview

For English fans this year’s Champions League has been an odd one. For the first time in 17 years there will be no English clubs in the Quarter finals. The realisation is that they weren’t good enough, but there still is reason to be cheerful about the football action. Plenty of reasons actually, as the elite of Europe clash for a place in the Semi Finals and a shot at the final in Wembley this summer. Let’s take a look at what the discerning gent football fan has to look forward to.

 

The Big Draw

The clash of the round has to be Bayern Munich vs Juventus – two clubs with immense European history and looking like they’ll run away with their domestic league campaigns. What we have here are two evenly matched teams with a number of aces in the pack.

 

Bayern have a largely youthful team full of attacking intent – an attacking trio of Franck Ribery, Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos provide guile and craft for the big and clinical front man (either Mario Mandžukić or Mario Gomez). An experienced back four with the safe hands of Manuel Neuer in goal could prove hard for the Italians to break down. However Arsenal proved this Bayern team are far from invincible by making the comfortable Germans sweat in the second leg of their tie of the last round.

 

Juventus have come through the stages looking a very solid unit. A team difficult to break down playing a preferred 3-5-2 formation that can seamlessly switch emphasis between attack and defence. Andrea Pirlo will again be the maestro in midfield conducting attacks with effortless grace. It will be very interesting to see how the Germans deal with his threat especially after Pirlo masterminded Italy’s 2-0 win over Germany at Euro 2012. Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal will prosper from the creativity and space Pirlo instinctively sees. This game will be hard to call either way.

 

The Glamour Tie

Perhaps the most glamorous tie of the round is between Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona. Big spending PSG will feel they are right where they belong amongst Europe’s elite and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading the line things could get interesting. The enigma that is Ibrahimovic spent a largely unhappy year in Barcelona with numerous fallouts with then coach Pep Guardiola (yet he still won the La Liga title). The big Swede may feel he has something to prove against his former employers which could energise the front man even more, or it might not register at all. Much talk is about David Beckham too although Elysium Magazine doubts he’ll start either match in this tie.

 

Barcelona needs no introduction. Lots were said about an apparent demise after the 2-0 loss to AC Milan is the first leg of the last round. This was pretty much answered with a 4-0 demolition of the Italian side in the return, whilst Barcelona are miles ahead in the La Liga title race. Expect plenty more tiki-taka from Xavi, Iniesta, Fàbregas and of course the irrepressible Messi. PSG are likely to get a lesson from Europe’s elite here.

 

On Trend Right Now

If you’re looking for a club to back in the absence of British interest then it should come from Malaga vs Dortmund. The Spanish club are punching well above their weight but continue to defy the critics and have a star-in-the-making with the young midfielder Isco. Malaga, banned from European competition for the next few seasons (big financial problems), look to be making the most of it. Rightly so!

 

Dortmund boast one of Europe’s most vibrant and exciting teams. Highly praised coach Jurgen Klopp is onto a very good thing here, but the fear is both he and his players are in the shop window for this summer’s dealings. With Mario Götze, Marco Reus, Robert Lewandowski and Mats Hummels just a few of the stars to mention, and a partisan home crowd behind them this will be a fantastic tie – Elysium Magazine sees the Germans winning this.

 

For The Old Romantics

In terms of squads, Real Madrid should win this one hands down but Galatasaray look to have taken a peek at the Madrid blueprint and devised a Galácticos policy of their own – but recruited ageing stars instead. The real drama in this tie is the reunion of José Mourinho with Didier Drogba. Mourinho recently quoted Drogba as the best player he has ever coached and the bond between the two is well known. Nostalgia aside, with a team boasting Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Mesut Özil amongst many others, it will be very tough for the Turkish team over two legs.

 

 

Quarter Final first leg fixtures. Second legs to be played 9th & 10th April

 

2nd April

– Paris Saint-Germain vs Barcelona

– Bayern Munich vs Juventus

 

3rd April

– Malaga vs Borussia Dortmund

– Real Madrid vs Galatasaray


 
 
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