The Champions League quarter final draws have been made and everyone is aware of the fixtures. UEFA have treated football fans around the globe to some blockbuster matchups. Benfica has to battle some of Seria A’s finest in order to reach the final while defending champs Madrid must overcome some familiar foes to retain their title. Here’s our early predictions for the matches.
Benfica vs Inter
Some may view this as the most “balanced” match of this draw. Of course Benfica are having a better season and are in better form than Inter. But as we’ve seen, historically and this season, Inter can remain resolute defensively and punish teams on the counter attack. Their experience and know-how in cup competitions can be a big factor in deciding this tie.
Benfica have some stars in their team. The likes of Gonçalo Ramos, Rafa Silva and David Neres can hurt any team. They’re a well drilled side and each player knows their importance as there’s no real star who they can look to in times of danger.
It’s an intriguing matchup that can end up being decided by one or two moments.
Prediction: Inter to progress
Man City vs Bayern
This is undeniably the most anticipated match of this year’s quarter finals. Both teams love to have possession and dominate in all thirds of the pitch. However, Julian Naglesmann’s sacking can force recently appointed Thomas Tuchel to deploy a more pragmatic system. There may not be enough time and matches to fully implement his philosophy in time for their match against Man City.
City doesn’t need any time to adapt to a new or altered system. Each player is familiar with their roles within the team. They now have a goalscoring machine in Haaland so being clinical shouldn’t be the issue this time around. It’s a narrative-filled tie and both legs will be filled with entertainment and drama.
Prediction: Bayern to progress
Madrid vs Chelsea
The two most recent Champions League winners meet for the third season in a row. Chelsea’s record against Madrid is very impressive. In four competitive meetings, they’ve beaten Los Merengues twice and drawn once.
Both teams are coming into this match on poor form. Madrid have basically lost the league after the El Clasico defeat while Chelsea are all but confirmed to miss out on top four this season. It’s a strange one to predict as both clubs seem to win the UCL when people least expect it. But it’s extremely hard to see Chelsea beating Real Madrid this time around.
They have no consistency and are struggling with some key injuries. Potter is yet to field his strongest lineup but he also hasn’t covered himself with glory with some of the tactical decisions he’s made.
Madrid will be eager to win this match and the Champions League to restore some pride after losing the league in embarrassing fashion. They have the weapons to do so. Will their weapons click or will Chelsea’s defense be solid enough to keep Real at bay.
Prediction: Real Madrid to progress
Milan vs Napoli
This is a complete mismatch on paper. Napoli are flying in Seria A while Milan are struggling to win two or three games in a row. In terms of European heritage, it’s also a mismatch. Milan are completely dominant in that aspect. Additionally, they also have experienced winners like Zlatan and Giroud who can guide the team on and off the pitch to get through these matches.
On the contrary, form can show and Napoli can thump Milan over both legs. Kvaratskhelia and Osimhen can continue doing what they’ve been doing and Kim Min-jae can hold it down at the back.
It’s very tough to predict but we’ll go with the most logical answer.
Prediction: Napoli to progress
Champions League quarter final draw
The serious business is about to commence. This is where the big teams and players earn their respect and ability to be called gargantuan clubs and world class players.
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