UEFA Champions League titleholders Bayern Munich will stage a repeat of last season’s final after they were drawn opposite Paris Saint-Germain in the last eight of this year’s competition.
The eight teams left in the running for the top prize in Europe found out their fates Friday, with the winner of that clash set to meet either Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund in the semis.
On the other side of the draw, 13-time European champions Real Madrid will face Liverpool—the current champions of Spain and England, respectively—while overwhelming underdogs Porto will hope to continue their dream run by upsetting Chelsea.
The quarter-final first-leg fixtures will be played across April 6-7, with the return legs taking place on April 13-14. Here’s how Friday’s draw for the next two stages of the tournament shaped up, as well as who’s chances may be looking that much brighter:
Champions League Betting Favorites
Manchester City (+225)
The Citizens are still favorites and will feel confident of moving past Dortmund, although the Black and Yellows could present the kind of chaos capable of undoing City’s possession-heavy approach. Pep Guardiola won six and lost four of his 11 meetings with Dortmund while managing Bayern, with three of those defeats coming under cup conditions (albeit two in the DFL-Supercup).
Jadon Sancho will return to Manchester almost four years after he left City’s academy ranks, while Erling Haaland—who has been linked a move to the Etihad Stadium—is set to face his father’s old employers. As far as City’s links with the opposition, Ilkay Gundogan will come up against his former club for the first time since leaving Dortmund in 2016, having previously lost four times in as many meetings when he was at Nürnberg.
The greater concern ahead is that the winner of this clash will have to beat one of last year’s finalists if they’re to make it to the decider. An upset in favor of Dortmund could tee up another Klassiker against Bayern, which is never a bad deal, per commentator Derek Rae:
Bayern Munich (+375)
It’s said that to be the best, you have to beat the best, and a matchup between Bayern and PSG—as it did last season—pits arguably the continent’s two finest teams against one another once more.
Hansi Flick shepherded Bayern to become kings of Europe in his first season at the helm, with Kingsley Coman scoring the only goal of the game against his old club in the final. Die Roten succeeded in keeping Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel Di Maria at bay to end their seven-year wait for a Champions League crown, but Mauricio Pochettino will hope to succeed where Thomas Tuchel failed.
It helps PSG’s chances greatly that Neymar—who was injured for the 5-2 aggregate win over Barcelona in the round of 16—looks like he’ll be fit for the quarters after returning to training:
Bayern’s defense attracts greater cause for concern this season and had failed to keep a clean sheet in seven straight games entering Friday’s draw. Their strength in all other areas has proved capable of getting them out of most sticky situations this season, but the prospect of beating PSG over two legs may prove more difficult than the odds suggest.
Chelsea were ranked as +800 outsiders for this season’s Champions League prior to Friday, but a quarter-final draw opposite Porto saw those odds almost halved to +500.
That’s largely an indicator as to how low Sergio Conceição’s side are rated among those remaining teams. However, nothing is guaranteed against the team responsible for knocking out Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus in the last round, as highlighted by The Athletic’s Simon Johnson:
Nonetheless, the Blues are still riding high on the wave of success ushered in by Thomas Tuchel, who has transformed the team’s prospects since arriving at Stamford Bridge in January. A 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the last-16 second leg marked his 13th game unbeaten since joining Chelsea (9W, 4D), making him the first new manager to achieve such a feat at the club.
The treasure trove of attacking weapons in west London led to predictions that Chelsea would be an offensive force to be reckoned with this term, but it’s their defense that’s come to be their hallmark of late. Clean sheets against Liverpool, Manchester United and Atletico (twice) are proof of their ability to withstand some of the continent’s finest, with Tuchel’s growing influence only making his team a bigger threat the longer he settles into his new home.
It’s the Champions League or bust for Liverpool this season, not only if they’re to lift a trophy but perhaps also if they’re to have a hope of featuring in next term’s competition. A sharp downturn in domestic results has left the Reds sat sixth in the Premier League and five points off the top four, with woeful home form in particular spelling the end of their top-flight title defense.
Europe has been another matter for Jürgen Klopp’s side after they managed to oust RB Leipzig in the last round by a convincing 4-0 aggregate margin, winning both home and away ties in Budapest, Hungary.
The most decorated team in the competition’s history will present a different challenge altogether, however, as Zinedine Zidane seeks his fourth Champions League crown in six seasons. It just so happens the most recent of his three to date came at the expense of Liverpool, when a tangle between Sergio Ramos and Mohamed Salah meant the latter’s final ended after only 30 minutes:
This quarter-final matchup won’t be lacking in bad blood between the two teams, who will each feel positive about being on the side of the draw that entails a semi-final meeting with either Chelsea or Porto.