The Champions League quarter-final draw in Nyom on Friday threw up a series of tantalising ties which should have fans of the continental game salivating ahead of the last-eight bouts.
Manchester City were drawn against newly crowned French champions Paris Saint-Germain, while Real Madrid received a more favourable draw and will be confident of advancing ahead of Bundesliga heavyweights Wolfsburg.
Barcelona and Atletico Madrid meet in an all-Spanish tie, while Bayern Munich will surely fancy their chances of seeing off Benfica to make the semi-finals, as Pep Guardiola keeps alive his dream of ending his time in Bavaria with a Champions League winner’s medal.
How has the quarter-final draw changed the prospects of the eight sides still alive in this year’s competition?
In this article, we rank the chances of the remaining UCL contenders.
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- Benfica: The Portuguese heavyweights held their nerve to see off Zenit St. Petersburg in the round of 16, but were perhaps fortunate to catch the Russian heavyweights at a time when they were just coming off the back of their winter break. They will struggle against Bayern, particularly if Guardiola’s side play as they did in the second half against Juventus!
- Wolfsburg: Could have sneaked into the semi-finals if the draw had been kinder, but their weaknesses at the back were exposed in the first leg against Gent, and you sense they may be found out when Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and co. come to town.
- Atletico Madrid: Demonstrated their defensive resolve once again in the double-header against PSV Eindhoven, and having conceded only one goal in their last eight matches, it’s hard to rule them out. However, a double-header against Barcelona’s magnificent MSN strikeforce will test them to their limits, and Diego Godin’s injury comes as a concern.
- Manchester City: The draw certainly hasn’t been ideal, and PSG will take confident from the way they dispatched another English side, Chelsea, in the round of 16. Manuel Pellegrini will need to be at his best to shake the Citizens from their Premier League lethargy.