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Will the Champions League throw up a brand new winner this season?

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The quarter-final line-up for this season’s UEFA Champions League is out and there are some big names missing. There’s no Real Madrid, no Juventus and the likes of English giants, Liverpool and Chelsea, also missed out the last-eight stage.

So, with several European heavyweights already knocked out of the Champions League, are the few remaining traditional big teams in for a cruise or is the continental competition likely to throw up an unheralded champion in Lisbon on August 23rd? That’s the question crossing most minds at this stage of the tournament.

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Before we go in-depth into where each of the quarter-finalists stand and their chances of progressing to the semi-finals, it’s important to note that all the Champions League quarter-finals and semi-finals will be single-legged affairs which will be played at either the Estadio da Luz or the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon, Portugal.

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich is the marquee Champions League quarter-final fixture

Coming back to the quarter-finals, one of the remaining big teams will surely not reach the semis as Bayern Munich and Barcelona will take on each other on Friday night.

While the Catalan giants conceded the La Liga title to arch-rivals Real Madrid in what turned out to be a distinctly underwhelming domestic season for Quique Setien’s side, Bayern romped to their 28th Bundesliga triumph.

What’s more, the Bavarian giants have thus far won all their matches in the Champions League this season, beating the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea along the way.

While one wouldn’t dare bet against Bayern on current form, Barca can progress to the semi-finals if they can conjure up another magical performance like they did against Napoli in the Round of 16 second leg, beating the Italians 3-1.

For that to happen though, they will need their talisman, Lionel Messi to be at his best. The Argentine superstar showed his brilliance against Napoli and Barcelona know that a few such displays from him could see them lift their sixth Champions League title. 

However, with the Bayern-Barcelona clash set to see one of the giants bowing out, it will boost the chances of the remaining six quarter-finalists – Atalanta, RB Leipzig, Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, Manchester City and Olympic Lyon – to claim their maiden Champions League title.

Atalanta, who finished third in Serie A, are up against Ligue 1 champions, Paris Saint-Germain, who are sweating over the availability of star striker, Kylian Mbappe.

However, on paper, the French outfit should make short work of their Italian counterparts even without Mbappe. But don’t rule out Atalanta, who have been playing some exceptional football in their maiden Champions League appearance.

Also, as it would be a single-legged tie, Atalanta are more than capable of springing a surprise and knocking PSG out.

In another quarter-final fixture, RB Leipzig will come up against Diego Simeone‘s Atletico Madrid. Coached by Julian Nagelsmann, Leipzig like to play free-flowing football and finished third in the Bundesliga this season.

Although their opponents, Atletico Madrid are known for their rigid defensive structure, the German outfit have the ability to surprise Los Rojiblancos with sudden forays into the box.

The La Liga side, who finished third in the league, would be desperate to win the big prize, having lost two finals in recent years.

The final Champions League quarter-final clash will see Manchester City take on Lyon. The Citizens have never once laid their hands on the Champions League despite having some of the world’s best footballers at their disposal in recent years.

Having finished second in the Premier League table this season, City would certainly have an eye on the prize when they face Lyon. Pep Guardiola would love to plant a kiss on the Champions League trophy as it’s the one title he hasn’t won during his time at the Etihad. 

On the other hand, Lyon finished outside the top four places in Ligue 1, which got cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, they would want to bring their A-game on Saturday, in a bid to prolong City’s Champions League agony.

So, as Europe’s top club competition moves into the quarter-finals, buckle up and enjoy the ride. Here’s hoping the best club wins.

Also Read: Juventus’ decision to appoint Andrea Pirlo rash or calculated?

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