UEFA Champions League preview: Quarterfinal first legs

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The UEFA Champions League has just nine more days of play remaining this season, with the quarterfinals kicking off Tuesday.

Many of the usual suspects remain in this season’s competition, including a Barcelona side looking to become the first repeat UCL title holder since 1990.

[ MORE: Enrique confident Barca will rebound ]

Three of the sides are Spanish and two German, with one team remaining from each of the Premier League, Portugal’s Primeira Liga, and Ligue 1.

Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid2:45 p.m. ET Tuesday

Will a wounded Barca be susceptible or especially enterprising? That’s the question that plagues Diego Simeone as he prepares to face the Blaugranas, who’ve twice beaten him 2-1 this season. That said, it hasn’t been easy for anyone to score on Barca, and Atletico has done it twice.

Simeone doesn’t suppose Barca will stumble again:

“We expect the best Barcelona. We understand they will go for the win because they play at home but we are optimistic. We know that it’s a very difficult game, we know that it’s a match with a very strong rival, but I have great faith in my team.”

Bayern Munich vs. Benfica — 2:45 p.m. ET Tuesday

Pep Guardiola is in an interesting spot. The club he’s managed to a UCL title is still in the tournament, as is the club he’ll guide next season. As for the Bayern club he currently manages, they’ll be highly favored to advance to the semis. Can Nicolas Gaitan and company snare a road goal at the Allianz Arena?

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester City — 2:45 p.m. ET Wednesday

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: Sergio Aguero of Manchester City during the Barclays Premier League match between A.F.C. Bournemouth and Manchester City at Vitality Stadium on April 2, 2016 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Mercurial Man City represents the Premier League’s last hope at a UCL title this season, and they’ll have to be the “good” City to take down Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his merry band of Ligue 1 talent. Circle this one in marker on your calendars.

Wolfsburg vs. Real Madrid — 2:45 p.m. ET Wednesday

The first leg’s hosts are not quite Chelsea in reputation, but have dropped off just as precipitously this season. Wolfsburg sit 8th in the Bundesliga and their hopes for going back to the UCL next season likely hinge on winning the whole dang thing. Of course, Madrid has other plans and will be flying after a 2-1 win at the Camp Nou this weekend.