The Champions League quarter-final draw
The quarter final draw to determine which team plays which in the Semis was just recently completed and football fanatics are in for a treat.
After the World Cup, the UEFA Champions League (UCL) is considered the best and most exciting football tournament. The best teams in European football battle it out to be called “Champion” for a year. All the greatest teams have won the trophy with Real Madrid being the most successful in the UCL with 13 total wins since its beginning in the 1955/56 season. Then, it was called the European Cup and involved only 16 teams. The tournament was then renamed into the Champions League in 1992/93 season and involved way more teams, with as many as 79 entering participating in 2019.
Fast forward to 2021/22 and the tournament has really heated up. The quarter final draw to determine which team plays which in the Semis was just completed on Friday the 18th of March and football fanatics are in for a treat.
Chelsea vs Real Madrid
This is certainly the pick of the bunch. Current champions Chelsea faces a revived Real Madrid after they beat a resolute Paris Saint Germain. Club captain Karim Benzema and his fellow attacker are in scintillating form this season and are currently considered the best attacking duo in Europe. Benzema is third top scorer in the tournament with 8 goals and certainly has a chance to overtake Sebastien Haller (11 goals) whose team was bundled out by Benfica. Chelsea on the other hand, will be hoping to repeat last year’s feat where they knocked out Los Blancos 3-1 on aggregate thanks to a N’golo Kante midfield masterclass. Thomas Tuchel has proved to be a force to be reckoned with in the knockout stages and has broken the record for most UCL wins as a manager in the first 50 games. The winner of this tie will either face Manchester City or Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals. The 1st leg between Chelsea and Real Madrid will be played at 10:00pm EAT on 6th April, with the return fixture being played on the 12th of April, at the same time.
Manchester City vs Atletico Madrid
Pep Guardiola is largely considered the best coach of all time but one trophy has eluded him since he joined the Citizens: The Champions League. He came close to winning it last year but was beaten 1-0 by an impressive Chelsea thanks to Kai Havertz’s coolly taken finish. He will be hoping to improve on that this season and there’s absolutely no reason they cannot. Pep’s style is both attractive and lethal, capable of bringing any team to its knees. However, Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid are by no means pushovers. “El Cholo” as he’s nicknamed is known for his defensive prowess and hitting teams on the break. This makes sense boasting the likes of Joao Felix, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann leading the line for the outfit. Having beaten Manchester United 2-1 on aggregate, Diego Simeone will hope he has finally broken his duck having beaten a team lining up with Cristiano Ronaldo, who has knocked him out thrice with Juventus and Real Madrid (twice). The winner of this tie will either face Chelsea or Real Madrid in the semi-final. The 1st leg between Manchester City and Atletico Madrid will be played at 10:00pm EAT on 5th April while the 2nd leg will happen at the same time on 13th April.
Villareal vs Bayern Munich
Villareal, and especially their manager Unai Emery, are better known for their prowess in the lower tier cup, UEFA Europa League. However, this season they’ve impressed on the big stage, putting in some great performances along the way. The Yellow Submarines knocked out Serie A giants, Juventus 4-1 on aggregate, including a 3-0 away win at the Allianz Stadium in Turin. They also edged out Atalanta and Swiss side Young Boys in the group stages to follow Manchester United into the knockout stages. They however face a dangerous Bayern Munich side who have won 7 of their 8 matches so far and scored 30 goals along the way thanks to the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Leroy Sane and Thomas Mueller. The Germans are favorite but everyone knows anything can happen in the UEFA Champions League. The winner of this tie will either face Liverpool or Benfica in the semi-finals. The 1st leg between Villareal and Bayern Munich will be played at 10:00pm EAT on 6th April while the 2nd leg will be played on 12th April at 10:00pm EAT as well.
Benfica vs Liverpool
Liverpool are certainly favorites in this tie, having won all six of their group stage games. They also bypassed current Serie A champions Inter Milan 2-1 on aggregate despite the rare loss at home to them. Liverpool will be full of confidence having already won the Carabao Cup and having caught up with league leaders Manchester City in the title race. The Reds are also into the semi-finals of the FA Cup (facing Manchester City mind you) so they’re certainly in great form across all competitions. Benfica on the other hand have had a great campaign. They’ve beaten Barcelona, Ajax, Spartak Moskva, PSV and Dynamo Kyiv in the season so far, which is no mean feat. Their talisman, Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez will be hoping to lead the line against one of the best defences in world football boasting of keeper Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and of course, Virgil Van Dijk. The winner of this tie will play either Villareal or Bayern Munich, but will definitely hope for the Yellow Submarines. The 1st leg between Liverpool and Benfica will be played at 10:00pm EAT on 5th April while the 2nd leg will be played on 13th April.
You can catch all the matches LIVE and in HD on Supersport.