The quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League begin this week and Europe’s elite has been whittled down to eight teams.
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Three from Spain, two from Germany and one each from England, Portugal and France remain.
But who will make it to the semifinal stage?
Let’s take a look at each match up and predict a winner of each quarterfinal clash.
Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid
It’s hard to bet against Barcelona but as we saw against Real Madrid last weekend, they are indeed beatable. This will be a tight encounter as Atleti will sit back and soak up pressure at the Nou Camp in the first leg. This is dangerous for Barca. Ultimately I think Diego Simeone’s side will come up just short and Barca will advance to the semifinals but I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes to extra time. The top two of La Liga squaring off will be a feisty affair.
Bayern Munich vs. Benfica
After their late heroics against Juventus in the Round of 16, expect Pep Guardiola’s side to have a much more comfortable time in the quarterfinals. Benfica are no mugs but they squeezed past Zenit and will find it tough to lock down Douglas Costa, Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski and Franck Ribery. Expect Bayern to breeze through to the final four for the third-straight season under Guardiola.
Real Madrid vs. Wolfsburg
Zinedine Zidane has got a dream draw in the UCL last eight and after Cristiano Ronaldo’s late winner at Barca last weekend Los Blancos will have to be careful complacency doesn’t set in. That said, Wolfsburg will have a go at Real with Julian Draxler and Andre Schurrle both dangerous but the new defensive core of the Spanish giants will see them through. Real to make the UCL semifinal for the sixth-straight season.
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester City
Both these teams have been fueled by Middle Eastern money and there’s something poetic about them clashing at this stage. City have never been to the UCL last eight, while PSG have being knocked out at this stage in each of the last four seasons. Yes, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is on the money, not to mention PSG’s other fine talents, but something tells me City’s ageing squad will come up big and get a good result away from home to set themselves up to advance. With Guardiola arriving in the summer, expect City’s old guard to put in one big display before they all go their separate ways. City to advance to the UCL semis.