Champions League Quarter Final Predictions

The eagerly awaited Champions League quarter-final draw was announced on Friday after Europe’s top competition was whittled down to just eight teams.

The round of 16 was one of the best the game has ever witnessed. In just 16 games, we saw a whopping 62 goals – an average of 3.88 goals per game. We saw some superb goals including a rocket from Casemiro and a wonderfully executed chip by Radamel Falcao as well as some of the best games in the competition’s history.

Eight teams remain, but only four can go through to the semi-finals. Below are my predictions for the quarter-final fixtures.

Leicester vs. Atletico Madrid

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Leicester is the last remaining English in the team after Manchester City crashed out on away goals against Monaco. The Foxes’ European fairy tale continued after they dumped out Europa League champions Sevilla. Claudio Ranieri lost his job following a 2-1 defeat in Spain, but under Craig Shakespeare, they overturned the deficit at the King Power thanks to goals from Wes Morgan and Mark Albrighton.

Up next, they face their most difficult test yet – Atletico Madrid. Diego Simeone’s men are a formidable barrier to reaching the last four and have reached the final in two of the last three seasons. Atleti are one of the best defensive teams in the world meaning Jamie Vardy will struggle to find space – something he thrives off. Teams that have nullified Vardy’s threat have usually come away with a result against the Foxes.

Prediction: Atletico Madrid

Barcelona vs. Juventus

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Against all the odds, Barcelona progressed to the semi-finals following one of the best Champions League comebacks in history. Paris St Germain held a 4-0 advantage going into the second leg at the Nou Camp, a result which saw Luis Enrique announce his resignation from the Barca job at the end of the season. In the second tie, Barcelona made history by becoming the first team to overturn a 4-0 deficit beating PSG 6-1 to send them out the competition. Three goals in the final seven minutes secured their place in the quarters for the 10th successive season.

They face Juventus – in a repeat of the 2015 final where Barcelona were victorious. But since then, Juventus have evolved as a side, bringing in quality players such as Paulo Dybala and Miralem Pjanic.  Juve quickly disposed of Porto in the round of 16 and was the only side not to concede a goal. They are unbeaten at home this season and will give Barcelona a much different test than PSG. The Italians are much more organised defensively meaning Barca cannot afford another slip-up.

Prediction: Juventus

Monaco vs. Borussia Dortmund

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Two attacking sides come head-to-head with Monaco facing Borussia Dortmund. The French league leaders knocked out Manchester City, overturning a 5-3 deficit in the second leg, winning 3-1 at Stade Louis II to go through on away goals. Teenage winger, Kylian Mbappe, earned a spot in the France squad after two spectacular performances against Pep Guardiola’s side. Fabinho and Tiemoue Bakayoko also impressed in the middle of the park, but question marks surround Leonardo Jardim’s side in defence.

City was able to score freely which is something Dortmund will look to capitalise on. The German side fell to a 1-0 defeat against Benfica, but a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hat-trick completed the comeback to send them into the next round. Both sides have attacking quality in abundance so goals should be guaranteed in this one. It is a tough tie to call, but I think Monaco might have enough about them to see off the Germans.

Prediction: Monaco

Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid

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Arguably the biggest tie in the round sees Bayern Munich face Real Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti’s side demolished Arsenal 10-2 to set up a clash with his former side – a side he has already lifted the European Cup with. After a slow start to the season, Munich are back to their best and could be considered favourites for the competition. They lead the Bundesliga by ten points, and Ancelotti knows all about Madrid’s squad.

On the other hand, Real Madrid also lead their league but have looked far worse than Bayern domestically. Zinedine Zidane’s side, who are the defending European champions, have lost more games this year than all of 2016 with issues arising all over the field. Keylor Navas has been poor in goal, and Gareth Bale has been missing through injury – they have relied on Sergio Ramos to bail them out in recent weeks. With Robert Lewandowski on form, the Pole could cause serious problems, and Ancelotti’s European prowess gives Bayern the edge for me.

Prediction: Bayern Munich

Who do you think will win this year’s Champions League? Comment below!

Follow me on Twitter – @MarcusBanks7 – Visit my blog The Beautiful Game for more

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