Four talking points ahead of the Champions League quarter-finals | OneFootball

Four talking points ahead of the Champions League quarter-finals | OneFootball

Icon: The Football Faithful

The Football Faithful

·16 April 2024

Four talking points ahead of the Champions League quarter-finals

Article image:Four talking points ahead of the Champions League quarter-finals

The UEFA Champions League quarter-final second legs take place this week, but who will book their place in the competition’s last four?

Each of the ties are perfectly poised ahead of this week’s action, with Manchester City and Arsenal looking to book a semi-final showdown with one another.

OneFootball Videos

We look at four talking points ahead of the Champions League action.

PSG need more from Mbappe to salvage semi-final place

For all the talk surrounding the PSG superstar ahead of the first leg with Barcelona, it was a forgettable evening for the forward who struggled to impact the game in defeat at the Parc des Princes. Luis Enrique’s side travel to Barcelona for the return in a clash that might suit their strengths, with Barcelona unlikely to sit deep and protect their 3-2 advantage.

Mbappe struggled to get involved from a wide position last week and Enrique must find a tactic that gets the France captain into the game. His explosivity can be the difference, particularly on the break, after a first leg that saw him complete just one of five dribbles and fail to register a shot on target.

The 25-year-old’s formidable record on the road offers optimism, with Mbappe having scored 13 goals in just 11 away Champions League knockout ties. Only Cristiano Ronaldo (23) and Karim Benzema (14) have ever netted more, while Mbappe’s haul includes a hat-trick on his last visit to Barcelona in 2021.

How PSG need another display of such quality, in what was arguably the best performance of his Champions League career to date.

Atletico look to end German struggles

Diego Simeone can make more history at Atletico Madrid this week as the Spanish side travel to Borussia Dortmund in protection of a 2-1 lead.

Progress will see the Colchoneros reach a fourth Champions League semi-final under Simeone, with Barcelona or Paris Saint-Germain awaiting in the last four.

However, the La Liga side must overcome a poor record in Germany. Atletico have lost on each of their four previous trips to Germany in the Champions League, including a 4-0 hammering at Dortmund during the 2018/19 group stage and a 4-0 loss at Bayern Munich last time out.

They’ve lost seven of 10 trips to the nation in total, a concerning statistic ahead of their clash at the Westfalenstadion.

Double treble is on for Guardiola

In the first 66 years of the European Cup, just one English team won the competition alongside league title and FA Cup success. Manchester United’s 1998/99 side became known as the treble winners until Manchester City replicated that success last season.

Now, however, the Citizens are chasing even more. Slip-ups from title rivals Arsenal and Liverpool at the weekend saw Pep Guardiola’s team move two points clear at the top, an ominous sign with six games to go. Chelsea await in the FA Cup semi-finals at the weekend, after a huge showdown with Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.

A thrilling 3-3 draw between the teams has left the tie open, though history is against Real Madrid who have failed to win on all five previous visits to the Etihad, including a 4-0 defeat last season. Should City progress past the record 14-time European champions, it will strengthen their status as favourites to go back-to-back in the Champions League this season.

The double treble, unthinkable until recently, might be on.

Win-or-bust for Bayern – Can Kane lift curse?

It has felt inevitable for some weeks, but Bayern Munich’s hold on the Bundesliga is officially over. Bayer Leverkusen’s weekend win saw Die Werkself crowned champions for the first time in their history, ending Bayern’s 11-year reign as German champions.

Bayern’s season, therefore, rests on this week’s showdown with Arsenal. The Bavarians battled to an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Emirates in the first leg and should start as slight favourites for the return.

Harry Kane scored in north London and will be aiming to end his debut campaign in Munich with silverware. The England captain signed for Bayern in the summer in a bid to end his elusive wait for major trophies and the club’s disappointing domestic campaign has, unexpectedly, added to his wait.

The Champions League offers redemption, however, and Kane is the leading scorer in the competition with seven goals. He is also the leader in the race for the European Golden Shoe (32) and is now just two short of the 41 goals he scored for Tottenham in a career-best 2017/18 season.

However, the England captain will hope his individual exploits do not count for little at the season’s end.

Subscribe to our social channels:

View publisher imprint