The 2016/17 UEFA Champions League has reached the quarter-final stage and with every team open to draw each other, it’s time for the big guns to collide.
If there was one team to avoid in the draw it had to be Real Madrid but unfortunately for Bayern Munich, they have the task of playing the current holders. This is arguably the tie of the round and Bayern will need to take a lead with them from the first leg, to stand any chance of going through. Real Madrid are undefeated in their last thirteen home Champions League games and Bayern are undefeated in their previous sixteen Champions League games at the Allianz Arena. There is going to be plenty of attacking football to enjoy in this tie and given the strength of both teams at home, it could easily come down to away goals.
The second big tie of the round sees Juventus meet Barcelona, with the first leg in Turin. Again, much will depend of what sort of lead, if any, Juventus can take to the Camp Nou for the second game. Barcelona showed what they are capable of against Paris Saint-Germain in the Round of 16 but surely Juventus will not be picked apart in the same way, given their quality at the back? Barcelona will feel as though they are capable of anything following their extraordinary win against PSG and are now the most dangerous team in the competition. Everyone thought they were out but they are back with a bang and must be considered one of the favourites to make the final.
In terms of attacking football and pressing the opposition, Borussia Dortmund vs Monaco has the potential to provide two cracking games of pulsating football. Both teams like to play on the front-foot and Monaco showed exactly what they can do in their second leg victory over Manchester City. There is no reason for them to change their away tactics either, so expect to see the Ligue 1 team attack Borussia Dortmund at every opportunity in the first leg, in the search for away goals. The Bundesliga side must be on their guard at home and not allow Monaco the same space as Manchester City did at the Etihad or face the possibility of conceding away goals. In terms of pure excitement, this will be the tie to watch.
The fourth quarter-final is between Atletico Madrid and Leicester City. The Foxes were given no hope against Sevilla but turned around a 2-1 deficit from the first leg, to win the tie. Atletico Madrid got the job in the first leg against Bayer Leverkusen, scoring 4 goals and seeing out the tie with a 0-0 at the Vicente Calderon. Although he will never admit to it, Diego Simeone must be pleased with this draw. To draw a team in the lower half of their domestic division at this stage of the tournament is a plus and Atletico, with their quality and experience, must be favourites. As for Leicester, they were probably a little disappointed with the draw, as they were hoping for a Barcelona or Real Madrid. However, it does present them with the small possibility of progressing and much will depend on whether they can stay in the tie following the first leg in Spain.
With four giants of European football coming together, plus the excitement of Borussia Dortmund vs Monaco and intrigue of Atletico Madrid vs Leicester City, we are all set for a cracking Champions League quarter-final round.