So the Champions League quarterfinal draw is out:
The UEFA Champions League quarterfinal draw. pic.twitter.com/t6BOGdAsg1
— Jason deVos (@jasondevos) March 21, 2014
You’re thinking you have a good idea of what this entails in terms of possible entertainment, but I’ll point out the obvious anyway.
Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid
The clear favourite for the most compelling tie of the lot, though on the evidence so far this season it could be a dirge. I’ve long claimed Atletico are a strong dark horse for a Champions League final appearance, and they are a single point ahead of them for second spot in La Liga at the moment. But their encounters this season with Barca have been dry as all get out. In the SuperCopa, a 1-1 draw over two legs, and 0-0 in their last La Liga meeting in early January. Not enough sample size to go on, but Atletico are a much more defensively stalwart team than they get credit for…unless they’re facing Real Madrid in the Copa Del Rey apparently.
Anyway, Martino needs this for a host of reasons, so this could be a bitter fixture.
Real Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund have been plagued with injury all season and are currently in second place in the Bundesliga, 23 points behind Bayern. They squeaked through to the quarters despite a second leg loss against Zenit St. Petersburg. They are facing a Real Madrid side which has scored 29 goals in the competition so far. I mean, miracles can happen, I suppose…maybe Ronaldo picks up a mystery injury or something?
Yet Dortmund have this way about them sometimes. Nah. Madrid are going through.
Paris St Germain vs Chelsea
A great, strong quarterfinal tie with some big, classic names. This is the FIFA 14 match up. Zlatan vs Eto’o. Big money, young talents. A real test for PSG in Europe to go one further against Jose Mourinho’s side, which he believes is now finally coming together. I can’t call it, though I suppose we could point to Laurent Blanc’s relative lack of European experience at crunch time as a manager, compared to Mou. If you believe in that stuff.
Manchester United vs Bayern Munich
Ho boy. This will be set up as the Ultimate Test for salvaging David Moyes’ season with Manchester United, and granted, beating one of the most unstoppable teams over two legs would indeed be something else. It would give Moyes’ people a “But he did beat Bayern” defense which they can cling to for the next few months before the inevitable.
In reality however, I can see this tie being over after the first leg. Despite polite, public declarations from Bayern representatives (if they exist, I haven’t read them yet), Bayern were hoping for this draw, and they got it.