Just eight teams are left standing in the battle to be crowned European champions this season. Business will pick up in the Champions League on April 11, as the first games in the quarterfinals get underway. But, which teams will be among the front runners to earn an early advantage in their fight for a spot in the last four.
Benfica vs Inter Milan
We could be set for an all-Italian showdown in the last four of the Champions League this season. However, if that is to happen, then Inter will need to see off a difficult tie against Benfica in the last eight.
The Portuguese side has surprised many people in the competition this season, as they managed to top a group stage campaign, which also included Juventus and PSG. They faced no such issues in the round of 16, as they eased to a 7-1 aggregate win over Club Brugge. However, this home tie will be key to their chances, as they have won three of their four matches in Portugal this term.
Inter Milan saw off the threat of Barcelona to claim second in Group C, but they still finished eight points behind Bayern Munich. The Italian giants were very professional in the previous round, as they edged to a 1-0 aggregate win over Porto. However, we could see this being another low-scoring affair in Portugal involving Inter, with Benfica claiming a 1-0 first leg lead.
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich
The tie of the round will see the tournament favorites take on Bayern Munich. Manchester City has cruised through to this stage of the competition, and Pep Guardiola’s side remains in the hunt for three major trophies this season. City was in excellent form in their previous match, with Erling Haaland scoring five in a 7-0 demolition against RB Leipzig.
Bayern Munich will certainly present a first big test for City, as the German side has won all eight matches that they have played in the competition. The Bavarians were excellent across both legs against PSG in the previous round, as they recorded a 3-0 aggregate win.
This will be a fascinating first leg, but we expect City to claim an early advantage and record a fourth straight win against Bayern in all competitions.
AC Milan vs Napoli
An all-Italian showdown in the last eight is set for Wednesday, as the runaway leaders in Serie A travel to the San Siro. To make matters even more interesting, Milan claimed a massive 4-0 away win against Napoli just a week ago to build momentum ahead of this showdown in the Champions League.
Milan will be aware of the importance of this home leg, as they have been excellent at the San Siro throughout their Champions League campaign. In the previous round, they landed a 1-0 home win against Tottenham, before playing out a 0-0 draw in the return fixture.
Napoli are chasing two major honours this season, as they could add Champions League glory to the likely Serie A success that they are expected to achieve. The Italian giants have been excellent throughout the competition this term, and were in fine form when claiming a 5-0 aggregate win over Eintracht Frankfurt in the previous round. We expect the team from Naples to gain revenge on Milan for their league humbling in this first leg.
Real Madrid vs Chelsea
The reigning European champions will host the 2021 champions in another standout quarterfinal showdown on Wednesday. It will be the second straight round in which Madrid has come up against English opposition, as they cruised to a 6-2 aggregate win in the previous round against Liverpool. It would be hard to bet against the Spanish giants landing another European title this season.
It would be slightly harder to side with Chelsea winning a third Champions League title this term, as their form throughout the campaign has been patchy to say the least. However, the Blues did deliver their best performance of the season in their previous outing in the competition, as they recorded a 2-0 home win against Borussia Dortmund.
Chelsea has shaded the recent meetings between the sides in the Champions League, as they have recorded wins in two of the previous three. That includes a 3-2 win in the competition last season. However, given their form, we struggle to see anything other than a win for the hosts.