Both Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain secured important away victories over Porto and Bayern Munich respectively in the first leg of the quarterfinals. Real Madrid and Manchester City recorded expected home wins, but the Spaniards are in a more comfortable position with two goals difference (albeit having conceded at home).
As results stand, if no “remontada” takes place in the return leg this week, then PSG will host Man City and Real Madrid will host Chelsea in the semifinals. It is hard to see any change to this quartet except for PSG as Bayern Munich has enough quality to turn the tables on the French capital outfit.
MATCH-DAY 10 MATCH PREVIEW
PSG vs Bayern Munich: Mbappe scored two goals in the first leg to lead his team to a 3-2 away victory. Neymar’s motivation helped him to record two assists himself. Marquinhos’ early substitution for a thigh injury caused the Parisian defences to crumble under the Bavarian pressure and find two goals. It is worth noting that Navas made eight saves during the match.
PSG will play Strasbourg this weekend without Neymar, Parade or Gueye due to suspension, but all three should be available for the return leg against Bayern in Paris. Verratti and Florenzi are still sidelined for testing positive and so an eye will be kept on Marquinhos anticipating his return. The extent of his injury is still unknown, but he will not be risked in the domestic league match.
It is all bad news for Flick on the other side; Bayern hosts Berlin in the domestic league with absent ten men at the least. Here is the link to our sister blog Bavarian Football Works which is your best stop for everything Bayern Munich. It seems the only key players available for selection are Neuer, Boateng, Alaba, Kimmich, Muller and Coman. The Germans need to win by at least two goals or with a 1-goal score at 3-4 or greater to advance.
Recommended areas of selection: With both teams allowing goals recently, goalkeepers and defenders should be avoided in principal. Wing-backs may be favored from the back line. All midfielders and forwards are in contention to perform well and score points. Bayern should have more control over the 90 minutes, but if the injury list remains the same, PSG may kill the game with passive possession throughout.
Chelsea vs Porto: Mason Mount scored the first goal in the first leg of the quarterfinal tie against Porto, which was played in neutral Seville due to Covid travel restrictions. Ben Chilwell sent the home side packing with a stunning late goal that raised a huge mountain for Porto to climb in the return leg.
Porto will come into the second leg fired up with nothing to lose, and will have key players Oliveira and Taremi back from suspension. Porto needs to win with two goals difference to either go into extended time or win the match if the score is more than 2-0.
Recommended areas of selection: Chelsea has the inside track to advance, so get a Blue or two if you haven’t already. Thomas Tuchel’s rotations made fantasy selection even trickier than usual in MD-9. Fortunately, we will see Tuchel’s lineup before the deadline this time around; just don’t save Chelsea picks until confirmed.
Dortmund vs Manchester City: I was not expecting to say this but Dortmund has the advantage on paper. Man City will start the return leg qualifying if the score remains 0-0. Dortmund are sure to work on keeping a clean sheet, tire out the EPL table leaders and strike back as a 1-0 victory is enough for Dortmund to see off Manchester City. Pep may opt to play with three at the back to stay in control and avoid any counter attack danger with enough defenders to nullify Haaland danger. The current quality of each team suggests that Man City will cruise to an easy victory away from home but Dortmund are always ready to surprise and Haaland is fixture proof and can score from half chances anywhere against whoever.
Recommended areas of selection: It is safe to go for Man City players but picking up a name or two from Dortmund in addition is much safer!
Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Real Madrid found their best form last time. The Spanish capital outfit usually struggles without their captain Sergio Ramos. The quality of Real Madrid bench is just too high to ignore. Liverpool on the other hand were basically helpless with ineffective possession when they held onto the ball for a time toward the end. Vinicius Jr. is starting to find his footing in front of goal and may just become a prolific winger before the fans start to call him “Madrid’s Dembele”.
Klopp’s chances of winning a trophy this year are slim, and a top-four slot in the EPL has been slipping away slowly. To survive, his defence needs a clean sheet against Real Madrid while the attack scores two goals. Is the German manager going to continue at the helm if the worst happens?
Recommended areas of selection: It is hard to predict how such a game will go, but we can definitely rely on two facts. First, Zidane will not sit back and wait; he will try to score an away goal as early as possible. Liverpool needs to score twice. How many players allocated for that purpose by Klopp will determine the dynamic of the match.
Real Madrid: Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal and Eden Hazard are out.
Liverpool: Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip and Origi remain the long term absentees.
Manchester City: Pep goes into the match with a clean bill of health.
Dortmund: Dortmund will be without Zagadou and youngster Moukoko, but Sancho and Witsel have recovered and may be fit for the return leg.
Bayern Munich: The list is too long, but here it is: Robert Lewandowski, Corentin Tolisso, Douglas Costa, Lucas Hernandez, Marc Roca, Leon Goretzka, Niklas Sule, Serge Gnabry and Alphonso Davies. In addition, Pavard and Sane are doubtful.
PSG: Icardi, Barnet, Verratti and Kurzawa are sidelined while Parades returns from suspension.
Chelsea: Tuchel should have a clean bill of health going to the match with Porto.
Porto: Taremi and Oliveira are set to start after serving one match suspension in the first leg. Mbemba remains injured.
MATCHDAY 10 BUILD UP
I will be posting the UCL Live Chat article early Tuesday — be sure to join in!.
What’s on your mind as you shift gears from domestic league play? Do you have any substitution dilemmas? Need help deciding where to move your captain’s arm-band? Have you started shopping for quarterfinal transfers? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!