Quarterfinal time of the UEFA Champions League has sprung onto us yet again and the excitement as always is second to none. With the draw just finished and all the games having been set, the football fortune teller is back for a version two to predict (to the best of my ability) which teams will be in the semifinals of the most prestigious club competition in Europe, and arguably, the world.
Quarterfinal 1: Malaga CF vs. Borussia Dortmund
As always it seems, there is a new team in the quarterfinals and this year that team is Spanish side Malaga CF. Being more impressive is that this is the first time that they’ve ever been in the competition itself. Malaga finished on top of their group ahead of AC Milan. Their group was easier than Dortmund’s however and their round of 16 matches proved to be more difficult as they lost 1-0 to Porto in the first leg.
Resurgent German giants Borussia Dortmund has finally ended their long wait of fifteen years to make it back to the final eight of the tournament. Their European record this year has been quite phenomenal. They have yet to lose a game and out of the eight games played to reach the quarters, they’ve won five and drawn three and finished ahead of Real Madrid in the group stages. They reached the quarters with a 3-0 home win against Shakhtar Donetsk at home after drawing with them 2-2 in the away game. Interestingly all of their draws have been away from home so that could be a concern for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Prediction: Borussia Dortmund wins both legs and progresses.
Quarterfinal 2: Real Madrid CF vs. Galatasaray A.S.
Reigning La Liga champions can consider themselves somewhat lucky to be in the quarterfinals this year, ousting Manchester United in spectacular, albeit highly controversial manner. With a shocking red card to United winger Nani, Madrid were able to open up and score two goals in quick succession with the one man advantage whereas before the card, they were finding it very difficult to break down the stern United defense. Jose Mourinho’s team of superstars have drawn three and lost once on their road to the quarters this season. They haven’t had problems scoring but they have yet to keep a clean sheet thus far.
Burak Yilmaz has proven to be the differential for Galatasaray scoring eight goals in the competition so far. After a rocky start to the campaign with losses to Man United and Braga, Galatasaray has not lost since. They progressed on aggregate against German side Schalke with a impressive 3-2 win away from home. The Turkish side’s away from has suprisingly been much better than their home. All but one of their wins have been away from home.
Prediction: Real Madrid wins both legs and progresses.
Quarterfinal 3: Paris Saint-Germain vs. FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona made it to the last eight in this year in a spectacular fashion. Overcoming a surprise 2-0 deficit to AC Milan going into their home leg, Barcelona pulled out all the stops to whomp the visitors 4-0 at the Camp Nou. Both games they’ve lost have been away from home and they haven’t been the constant footballing force we’ve known them to be so far in this season’s competition.
PSG has also ended a long wait of eighteen years to make it to the quarterfinals. Being the new “loaded” club in Europe has paid dividends as they have only lost one and drawn one so far on their road to the quarters. They breezed through the group stages but survived a scare against Valencia in the round of 16 only progressing through a late Ezequiel Lavezzi goal. They’ll need their start striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, to be on form if they stand any chance against the Catalan giants.
Prediction: 1st leg draw at PSG. 2nd leg Barcelona win. Barcelona progresses.
Quarterfinal 4: FC Bayern Munchen vs. Juventus
Bayern Munich are again involved in THE tie of the quarterfinals. The German giants are currently dominating in the Bundesliga, twenty points clear at first place. However, their European form hasn’t been amazing. After a impressive 3-1 win against Arsenal in the first leg of the last round, they lost at home 2-0 barely scraping through to the elite eight.
Juventus, like PSG and Dortmund, haven’t progressed this far in a while (seven years) and so they’ll be looking to make it worthwhile. The Italians are also have a convincing lead at the top of their domestic league and unlike Bayern, they have had great European success thus far. After drawing the first three games, they have won every game since. Granted, with all respect to Celtic, Juve drew the easiest game in the previous round, but this is a team that has been firing on all cylinders.
Prediction: 1st leg Bayern Munich win. 2nd leg Juventus win. Bayern progresses on aggregate.