The stage is set for the Champions League quarterfinals after the draw took place on March 20th in Nyon, Switzerland. The pairings turned up two dream match-ups in Atletico Madrid versus Real Madrid and Barcelona taking on Paris Saint-Germain. In the other two ties, Bayern Munich will take on Porto and Juventus will face surprise quarterfinalist AS Monaco.
La Liga has three representatives in the Last 8 followed by Ligue 1’s two quarterfinalists—Serie A, the Bundesliga and the Portuguese Primeira Liga all have one club left in the CL.
Bayern Munich is the slight favorite to win the trophy heading into the round going off at 2-1 on Bwin, 15-8 on skyBET and 7-4 on William Hill. Barcelona is second favorite, listed at 5-2 on most sportsbooks monitored by Oddschecker.
Holders Real Madrid are almost universally coming in at 4-1 odds to retain the trophy. Italian giants Juventus may be the dark horse as they are getting odds of 7-1 or 8-1 on most sportsbooks.
Bayern were held to a nil-nil draw in the first leg of their last-16 clash against Shakhtar Donetsk then erupted for seven goals in the return leg at the Allianz Arena. Porto followed a similar path to the quarterfinal having drawn with Basel 1-1 away then buried their opponent 4-0 at the Estadio do Dragao.
Barcelona advanced with a professional 3-1 aggregate result over Manchester City while PSG arrived in the Last 8 in stunning fashion having beaten favored Chelsea at Stamford Bridge (3-3 aggregate, away goals rule) in extra time with just 10 men.
Real Madrid scuffed their way to a 5-4 aggregate win over surprisingly game Schalke. Los Merengues surrendered four goals to the German side at the Bernabeu but managed to slip through due to their 2-1 win at the Veltins Arena. Atleti needed a dramatic penalty shootout win over Bayer Leverkusen to advance; Bayer missed three penalties including two spot-kicks that missed the target altogether (Stefan Kiessling’s skyward attempt being the decisive failure).
Juventus thoroughly handled Borussia Dortmund in their last-16 matchup with a 5-1 aggregate scoreline. AS Monaco withstood a furious Arsenal onslaught at the Stade Louis to book their quarterfinal spot; the Gunners came up an away-goal short having surrendered a pathetic 3-1 result to the Monegasques at the Emirates.
Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Juventus are playing the best football heading into this round, but any team with the quality of Real Madrid (and the world’s No. 1 or No. 2 player in Cristiano Ronaldo) can’t be counted out. PSG can clearly beat the best even in dire circumstances and will give Barca everything they want.
Despite beating their crosstown rivals in last year’s CL Final, Real have struggled against Atletico in recent meetings (including a 4-0 loss to Atletico at the Vicente Calderon in February).
Juventus’ football director Pavel Nedved argues that his side should be wary of AS Monaco, as per ESPN FC: “I saw both Monaco games (against Arsenal), and you don’t get to the quarterfinals by fluke. They played two great games, even if they suffered a bit more in the second leg.”
Bayern Munich (5), Porto (2)
Barcelona (4), PSG (3)
Real Madrid (4), Atletico Madrid (3)
Juventus (4), AS Monaco (2)