Elite eight braced for Champions League draw
This afternoon, all eyes will be on the Champions League Quarter Final draw at UEFA Headquarters in Switzerland, as we wait eagerly to see what games await us on the 2nd/3rd and 9th/10 of April respectively.
The eight teams that remain, obviously possess an exquisite amount of quality, and whatever the outcome of the draw, every tie is bound to be a fantastic spectacle to watch.
Let’s start with the bookies’ favourites to go all the way, and unsurprisingly, it’s Barcelona, who are 13/8 to lift the trophy at Wembley on 25th May. They go into the draw off the back of a simply stunning performance against AC Milan at the Nou Camp on Tuesday. They had a two-goal deficit to overturn from the first leg, and they made the task look pitifully easy, and with a little help from that man Lionel Messi, they beat the Italians 4-0.
Coincidentally, this stage of the competition last year saw Barca face AC Milan, and they progressed with a 3-1 win on aggregate. Their quarter final record is impressive, as out of the 14 they have reached, they have only failed to progress twice.
At 3/1 to win the competition, Madrid go into the last eight off the back of a much talked about win over Manchester United, winning 3-2 on aggregate, and beating a 10 man United 2-1 at Old Trafford, after a questionable red card was awarded to Nani for a high foot.
Last year’s quarter final for Madrid saw them ease past Apoel FC in an 8-2 aggregate win, and they have won 23 out of the 29 European quarter finals they have found themselves in. Their key man is of course Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored eight goals in the competition thus far.
Their first leg performance proved to be enough to get them here, as the away goals rule saw them get past Arsenal in the last 16. After winning the first leg 3-1 in London, they maybe went into the second leg with a great deal of complacency, and lost 2-0 on the night, but that extra away goal just eased them past the Gunners.
They’re backed at 4/1 to lift the trophy, and they are side certainly capable of doing so, and a 4-0 win in last years quarter final over Marseille saw them progress. However, their quarter final record isn’t as polished as the two previous teams I mentioned, as out of the 23 quarter finals they’ve been in, they’ve won 13, but lost 10.
Some may not have expected the German side to reach this stage of the competition, but impressively, they are the only team in the last eight who haven’t yet lost a game, and even more impressively, they’ve only conceded seven goals.
It’s been a while since they’ve been in a European quarter final, and it was in fact Bayern Munich who they beat 1-0 in the 1997/98 season, to progress to the semis. Out of the five European quarter finals they’ve been in, they’ve won three, and lost two. Dortmund are priced at 9/1 to lift the famous trophy in London.
The Italian giants cruised past Celtic to get to this stage, ripping them apart with a 5-0 win on aggregate. It was job done after the first leg really, as they beat Celtic 3-0 at Celtic Park, and sealed the deal with a 2-0 win back in Italy.
Although they qualified with the most comfort, you could argue that they’re outsiders to win it, with odds of 12/1 to win the competition. Their last quarter final saw them crash out of the competition, in a 2-0 aggregate defeat to Arsenal, that being one of the four quarter finals they have failed to win. They have progressed in 10 European quarter finals.
The French side have only ever reached the quarter final in Europe once, and for this reason they are priced at 20/1 to go the whole way. The only quarter final they played in was in fact a 3-2 aggregate victory over Barcelona in the 1994/95 season.
It was Valencia who they squeezed past in the last 16, with a 3-2 win on aggregate. Their most impressive stat in this year’s competition is the fact that they have only conceded three goals.
I for one certainly didn’t expect to see Malaga in the quarter finals, but fair play to them, as a stunning performance against Porto in the second leg saw them overturn a 1-0 deficit and advance 2-1 on aggregate.
Unsurprisingly, they’re steeply priced at 50/1 to go all the way. It is the first time in the clubs history that they have reached a European quarter final. Whatever happens to Malaga, they should be proud of how far they’ve come, and they have made history for the Spanish club.
Finally, we have Turkish side Galatasaray, who stylishly sent Schalke packing in the last 16 with a 4-3 aggregate win against the Germans. They’re 50/1 to win it, which aren’t bad odds for the quality that the side possesses.
It was the 2000/01 season in which they were last in a quarter final, and it was Real Madrid who beat them, 5-3 on aggregate. They haven’t got a strong quarter final record in Europe, having only won one of the four that they have found themselves in.
What to expect
Like I said earlier, every tie that is drawn here is going to be special. But there are certain teams who I’m sure we would like to see up against each other. Barcelona vs Real Madrid is the obvious one for me, but if they don’t meet in the quarter finals, you just feel that they will be meeting each other at some point in the competition.
I think Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund would be a tasty one, as there is an intense rivalry between the two German sides, and there’s always fireworks when they come up against each other.
In terms of the others, anything could happen with them, and any of them could find themselves in the last four, given that the draw goes their way.
Drop us a comment below and let us know what you think the draw will bring, and who you think will be lifting that prestigious trophy in London in May.