UEFA Champions league: After goals fest, quarter finals promises more of the same

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The quarterfinal draw for the 2016/17 season of the UEFA Champions League was conducted on Friday in Nyon with some interesting fixtures in view.

But what all fans would be asking for like Oliver Twist would be more of the same as in the round of 16 – goals galore!

In the eight ties in the last round, 62 goals were scored – an average of about four goals per match. We had aggregate scores that read 6-5 [Barcelona – PSG]; 10-2 [Bayern Munich – Arsenal]; and 6-6 [Monaco – Manchester City].

The pairing for the second round promises such though as teams move closer to the final, the more cautious they could become.

Atlético Madrid v Leicester City

Neophytes, Leicester City are in a position where they can play without fear or be crippled by fear. The Vicente Calderon is not a stadium for the faint-hearted; the arena would be a cauldron – noisy and intimidating. Diego Simeone would be pleased though he would not show it, believing that he got the best draw in the pot because Atletico have never lost at home to English opposition in Europe. Leicester have lost their two previous matches against Atletico – the 1961/62 European Cup Winners’ Cup first round and the 1997/98 UEFA Cup first round.

Borussia Dortmund v AS Monaco

Two very youthful sides coached by forward-thing managers. It would be interesting to see the number of miles covered by both teams at the end of their tie. Leonardo Jardim has built a side that will score goals even though they would be missing midfield Trojan and the scorer of the goal that beat Manchester City, Tiemoue Bakayoko in the first leg. Dortmund manager, Thomas Tuchel said after the draw, “It is an exciting and very tricky draw. If we want to eliminate this opponent, we need to deliver our best performance twice.”

Bayern Munich v Real Madrid

Carlo Ancelotti returns to Madrid, for whom he helped win La Decima. Bayern have seemingly turned the corner and are now scoring goals for fun while Real have become a team that does not understand defeat. Bayern captain, Philip Lahm, who is retiring from the game at the end of the season has welcomed another visit to one of football’s more hallowed ground. “With the many battles we’ve fought already, we’re happy with the draw! Looking forward to playing at Bernabéu one more time,” he wrote on Twitter after the draws.

Juventus v Barcelona

This is the best defence – Juventus have conceded just two goals in the tournament this season against the highest scorers in Barcelona, with 26. Last time out, Barca performed a minor miracle to overhaul a 4-0 first leg deficit – they will know that a repeat of that score line in Turin in the first leg would be curtains. This tie would see the Dani Alves reunited with his former colleagues. Juventus vice-president Pavel Nedved believes the Serie A leaders have what it takes to compete against Barcelona. “They are one of the most famous teams in the world and we only have to focus on the present knowing that we are a very strong team and that we can compete.”

Not one of the above matches can easily be predicted – the only assurance is that there should be goals. Former Bayern midfielder, Lothar Matthäus, is expecting so much from two ties: Bayern versus Real Madrid and Juventus versus Barcelona.

“In my opinion, the four best teams are playing against each other,” he said. “Bayern against Real and Juventus against Barcelona – football fans can look forward to amazing games. Carlo Ancelotti is right when he says that there are not many secrets between Bayern and Real. I see Bayern as a slight favourite, they are a bit more compact,” he added.

The first legs would be on April 11 and 12 with the return legs a week after.


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