UEFA Champions League Tuesday: Quarterfinals Preview
The quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League begin on Tuesday with two first-leg matches at 3 PM ET.
Real Madrid hosts Liverpool at their Alfredo di Stefano Stadium. Los Blancos advanced from the Final 16 by defeating Atalanta at home by a 3-1 score on March 16th. They bested Atalanta by a 4-1 aggregate score after winning 1-0 on the road in the first leg of that matchup. Real Madrid was sluggish in the group stage of the Champions League, winning just three of their six matches, but they still finished in first place in Group B.
Los Blancos come off a 2-0 victory at home against Eibar. Zinedine Zidane’s men have won four straight matches across all competitions. They have not lost since January 30th with eight wins in their ten matches since that setback in all competitions. Real Madrid has won 11 of their last 16 games in the Spanish top flight, putting them three points behind Atletico Madrid for first place.
Zinedine will 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.
Liverpool advanced from the Final 16 stage with a 2-0 win against RB Leipzig on March 10th. That victory matched their 2-0 result on the road against the Red Bulls in the first leg to give them a 4-0 aggregate win.
The Reds have taken a step back this season in the defense of their English Premier League title. They are in fifth place in the EPL table, three points behind West Ham United for fourth place, which is the final qualifying spot for next year’s Champions League competition. Jurgen Klopp’s side has won three straight matches in all competitions after their 3-0 victory at Arsenal on Saturday. Diogo Jota scored twice in that match to jumpstart a stagnant offense that was missing his contributions with him being out for the last few months.
Liverpool has endured several crushing injuries this season in addition to Jota being on the shelf. 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.
This showdown is a rematch of the 2018 Champions League final, which Real Madrid won by a 3-1 score. BookMaker lists this match as a pick ‘em with the total set at 2.75.
Manchester City hosts Borussia Dortmund in the second quarterfinals match today. Man City has won five straight games across all competitions with their 2-0 victory at Leicester City on Saturday. The triumph against a Foxes’ team in third place in the EPL was their fourth straight clean sheet. Man City has allowed six goals in their last five matches at home at the Etihad.
Pep Guardiola’s group advanced to the quarterfinals of the Champions League after their 2-0 win against Borussia Monchengladbach on March 16th. They defeated Monchengladbach by a 4-0 aggregate score after winning 2-0 on the road in the first leg of that matchup. Man City has registered seven straight clean sheets in the Champions League.
Man City is cruising to their second English Premier League title in the last three seasons. They are up 14 points in the EPL table over Manchester United. Their 66 goals are eight more than Man United who has scored the second-most goals in England’s top flight. They have allowed 21 goals which are nine fewer than the 30 goals that Chelsea has given up.
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.
Borussia Dortmund advanced to the quarterfinals of the Champions League with a 2-2 draw at home on March 9th against a Sevilla side that is fourth place in La Liga. The Black and Yellow won the aggregate score, 5-4, after a 3-2 victory at Sevilla in the first leg.
Edin Terzic’s men limp into this match with two losses in a row. They have won just once in their last five games across all competitions. They last played on Saturday, where they lost at home to Eintracht Frankfurt, 2-1. Borussia Dortmund is in fifth place in the Bundesliga. They are 21 points behind Bayern Munich for first place, and they trail Eintracht Frankfurt by seven points.
Led by Erling Haaland, the Black and Yellow are second in the Bundesliga with 55 goals. They have only blanked once when playing on the road across all competitions this season. Haaland has scored in six straight Champions League matches, which have helped his team score at least two goals in seven of their last seven matches in the European competition. 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. BookMaker
lists Man City as a -1.5 goal line favorite with an over/under of 3. Both of these quarterfinal matches are on Paramount (formerly CBS All-Access).