UEFA Champions League Wednesday: Quarterfinals Preview
The quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League concludes on Wednesday with the remaining two second-leg matches at 3 PM ET.
Liverpool plays at home at Anfield against Real Madrid, needing a 2-0 victory or a win by at least three goals. They lost the opening leg to the La Liga giants last Tuesday by a 3-1 score. Vinicius Junior tallied a brace for the winners, with Marco Asensio scoring the second goal in the 36th minute. Mohammad Salah cut the score in half six minutes into the second half, but that was as close as the game would get.
Jurgen Klopp’s side needs a 2-0 win to advance to the semifinals from the away goals tiebreaker. If the Reds surrender a goal, they would have to Real Madrid by at least three goals to win the aggregate goal score.
The reigning English Premier League champions endured several crushing injuries this season. Klopp has lost his top three center backs to injury, with Virgil Van Djik, Joel Matip, and Joe Gomez all out the season. These losses have impacted the Reds’ ability to deploy their high press since the center backs become the sole line of defense. Klopp has adapted by engaging a more conservative approach on the attack, and they have registered three straight clean sheets.
Diogo Jota returned to the pitch last month to help jumpstart the Liverpool attack. The Reds responded from their midweek loss by defeating Aston Villa on Saturday, 2-1. Salah scored the opening goal at the 57-minute mark before Trent Alexander-Arnold knocked the game-winner at the 90+2 point in stoppage time. Liverpool has won four of their last five matches at home across all competitions. They remain in sixth place in the English Premier League table, three points behind West Ham United for fourth place and the final qualifying position for the Champions League next season.
Real Madrid built off their victory against the Reds by defeating their arch-rivals Barcelona by a 2-1 score. Karim Benzema gave them the lead in the 13th minute of El Clasico before Toni Kroos doubled the lead 15 minutes later. Things got nervy when Oscar Mingueza cut the lead in half 15 minutes into the second half for Barca, but Los Blancos held on for the win.
Zinedine Zidane’s men have won six straight matches across all competitions. Real Madrid has won 12 of their last 17 games in the Spanish top flight, putting them one point behind Atletico Madrid for first place with an impending showdown on the horizon.
Zinedine will again be without captain Sergio Ramos who is dealing with a calf injury. The 35-year old defenseman has only played in 15 matches this season due to injuries. Center back Raphael Varane missed last week's matches after a positive COVID test. He is a doubt for this second leg, along with right-backs Lucas Vazquez and Dani Carvajal, who picked up knocks last week.BookMaker
lists Liverpool as a -0.5 goal line favorite with the total set at 3.
Manchester City plays at Borussia Dortmund in the second quarterfinals match in the Champions League. Man City won the first leg by a 2-1 score last Tuesday courtesy of Phil Foden’s goal in the 90th minute. Kevin DeBruyne gave the Cityzens the lead 19 minutes into the match before Marco Reus evened things out with just six minutes to go in regulation time in the second half.
The Black and Yellows must either win by a 1-0 score or earn a victory by at least two goals. Borussia Dortmund advances to the semifinals with a 1-0 win by claiming the away goal tiebreaker.
Manager Edin Terzic’s side comes off a 3-2 win at Stuttgart in the Bundesliga on Saturday. The Black and Yellows are in fifth place in the German top flight, seven points behind the fourth-place Eintracht Frankfurt.
Erling Haaland leads the team with 31 goals in the Bundesliga and Champions League this season. The Black and Yellow are second in the Bundesliga with 55 goals. Haaland has scored in six straight Champions League matches before blanking last week. Terzic will not have Jadon Sancho, who has been out since early March with a torn thigh muscle. The 21-year old midfielder has scored eight goals with 12 assists in 27 matches this season.
Man City comes off a 2-1 loss to Leeds United in the EPL on Saturday despite outshooting the Whites by a 29 to 2 margin. The Cityzens are still cruising to their second English Premier League title in the last three seasons. They are up 11 points in the EPL table over Manchester United. Their 67 goals are eight more than Man United, who has scored the second-most goals in England’s top flight. They have allowed 23 goals which are eight fewer than the 31 goals that Chelsea has given up.
Manager Pep Guardiola has yet to win a Champions League trophy in his coaching career which includes previous stops at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Man City is attempting to pull off the rare quadruple by winning the EPL, Champions League, Carabao Cup, and FA Cup titles. The Cityzens have not advanced past the quarterfinals of the Champions League in the last four seasons under Guardiola.
Man City is a -0.75 goal line road favorite with a total of 3.25. Both matches are on Paramount+ (formerly CBS All-Access).