Real-Atletico Rematch headlines Champions League Quarterfinals
Paolo Buendia on Apr 13, 2015 11:01 AM
MADRID vs MADRID: Last year's Finals rematch will look to set the Champions League Quarterfinals off to a hot start (Photo courtesy of UEFA.com)
Four intriguing matchups for the UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals will be played out this week. Defending champion Real Madrid takes on same-city rival Atletico Madrid. Juventus takes on Monaco. PSG meets Barcelona again in a knockout series while Porto welcomes 2013 Champion Bayern Munich at home.
April 15, 2015 early morning matches
Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid FC
Real Madrid has not beaten Atletico in the last six matches that these two sides met, Atletico winning four while drawing the other two. Coach Diego Simeone may have found the solution to overcome Madrid and it’s superstars but this competition is special to the Ten-time Champions. The 4-1 triumph of Madrid over Atletico in the final last season is the result which Coach Carlo Ancelotti will look back on. The Italian maestro has significant players back from injury like Sergio Ramos, James Rodriguez and Luka Modric, players which were missing in the last meeting of these two sides. One significant statistic which Atletico will enjoy is winning twenty one of the last twenty three matches in Europe at home, drawing one and losing the other. Real won eight of the last ten away matches in Europe but will not be favored to win this matchup easily. I predict a 1-1 result in this match.
Juventus v AS Monaco FC
Juventus has an unbeaten record against French squads at home and will be favored in this matchup against Monaco. The Bianconeri’s record at home in Europe is excellent, losing only one in the last sixteen matches. The impressive 5-1 dismantling of 2013 Runner-up Borussia Dortmund in the Round of Sixteen shows the quality of this Juventus squad eager to make an impact in this competition. The Italian club has fallen short in this stage the last three times; a win against Monaco will bring the club to a first semifinal since 2003. Monaco progressed through the away goals rule, seeing off English club Arsenal in the Round of Sixteen. Monaco will look to pounce on the injuries of Juventus in midfield, specifically the ones to Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba. The French squad has not been in this stage of this competition since 2004. I believe Juventus will win this first match.
Paris Saint-Germain v FC Barcelona
PSG and Barcelona renew their rivalry with another quarterfinal to contest. Barcelona progressed to the semifinals last season against PSG only on away goals. Both teams swapped victories in this season’s group stage which establishes their familiarity with each other. The absence of top-scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be a huge blow for the French side which is on a thirty three match unbeaten streak at home in Europe, winning twenty-two and drawing eleven. The front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez started to hit their stride in the beginning of the year for Barcelona. They have been on a scoring spree since then and will be favored to progress to the semifinals. A good result in Paris will be the key for that to happen. Barcelona only managed a draw and a loss in the last two matches in Parc de Princes and I see another draw in this match.
FC Porto v FC Bayern Munich
Porto will be looking to take advantage of an injury-plagued Bayern Munich side for the first-leg match to be played in Portugal. Long-term absentees Javi Martinez, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery were joined with David Alaba, who could be out until the end of the season. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Medhi Benatia are also doubts but Philipp Lahm and Thiago Alcantara could feature in this match. The depth of Bayern Munich’s bench is far better than that of Porto. Coach Pep Guardiola has done fantastic even with the slew of injured players in his team. A record of six wins in the last seven away matches in this competition is a slightly superior record to the four wins out of five matches for the home side. I predict an away victory for Bayern Munich.
The matches to look out for will be the Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid and PSG v Barcelona contests. How many Spanish clubs will make it to the semifinals? Two if Barcelona defeats PSG, only one if the four-time champion falls. Below is the schedule of matches for the second-leg only on BALLS Skycable Channel 34 and Destiny Cable Channel 36.
April 15, 2015 at 2:30am: Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid
April 15, 2015 at 4:30am: Juventus v Monaco (LIVE 2:30 am on ABS-CBN Sports + Action 23)
April 16, 2015 at 2:30am: PSG v Barcelona
April 16, 2015 at 4:30am: Porto v Bayern Munich (LIVE 2:30 am on ABS-CBN Sports + Action 23)
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