Even without a tricolor team on the menu, these quarter-finals of the Champions League, which begin on Tuesday April 12, are not without interest. Liverpool and Real Madrid certainly approach their receptions from Benfica and Chelsea with a significant gap, but the removal of the away goal rule pushes them to vigilance. Beaten by a short header on the lawns of Manchester City and Villarreal, Atlético de Madrid and Bayern will try to turn the tide at home. Presentation of the main issues.
Bayern-Villarreal: the Bavarians on a mission
After a victory in the first round, it is customary to say that half the job is done. For Villarreal, the equation seems a bit more complex. Because opposite is a Bayern experienced in turnarounds. In the eighth, the Munich residents had painfully snatched a draw in Salzburg (1-1), before pulverizing the Austrian club on the return (7-1). Very convincing in the first leg (1-0), Villarreal was warned and could regret the many missed chances in the first leg.
— FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) April 11, 2022
But the club led by Unai Emery also knows how to do it in this configuration. Their triumph in Turin in the round of 16 second leg (0-3) is a benchmark in terms of defensive organization and counter-attack efficiency. Suffer to better punish, the motto is all found for the former PSG coach. A match to follow on Tuesday evening, on beIN Sports 1.
Chelsea-Real Madrid: Benzema on his way?
Impossible to cut it. Already author of a hat-trick in the round of 16 return against PSG (3-1), Karim Benzema returned the cover in the first leg, at Stamford Bridge (1-3). The Rhone striker will inevitably be scrutinized in Madrid on Tuesday evening, in a match to follow on Canal + and RMC Sport. Thomas Tuchel has enough to tear your hair out: on the one hand, the German technician must monitor the science of the placement of “KB9”. On the other hand, his team must solve its efficiency problems glimpsed in the first leg.
In Southampton on Saturday, Chelsea corrected the situation (0-6). Often criticized for his clumsiness in the face of the cages, Timo Werner split a promising double. Tormenting the Premier League’s 18th defense is one thing, bending the rearguard of the undisputed leader of La Liga is another. The stakes are high for the Blues forced to score at least twice to hope to continue their journey in C1 and retain their European crown.
Atlético-Manchester City: is Cholismo dead?
Are there two irreconcilable footballs? The cleavage between the philosophies advocated by Pep Guardiola and Diego Simeone is such that the question deserves to be asked. The first leg (1-0 victory for the Cityzens) is, in this sense, a caricature. Stuck in a most restrictive approach, Atlético de Madrid only fired once on goal. The Colchoneros showed grinta and showed a coherent defensive organization, but it is unthinkable to qualify by producing so little.
ADELANTE ATLETICO DE MADRID pic.twitter.com/RyzeFsU46N
— Atlético de Madrid (@AtletiFR) April 11, 2022
But, on paper at least, the arguments are not lacking. Antoine Griezmann, João Félix and Luis Suárez constitute, pell-mell, the artillery rojiblanca. Lagging behind in La Liga, the reigning Spanish champion will, in addition, be deprived of some of his supporters after the closure of a stand. The handicap is significant, given the fervor of the Madrid public. Tactics enthusiasts will enjoy Wednesday evening, on Canal + Sport and RMC Sport.
Liverpool-Benfica: move around, there’s nothing to see
We won’t blame you if you go your way. Without being totally a foregone conclusion, the qualification of Liverpool against Benfica is not really in doubt. Easily victorious in Lisbon (1-3), the Reds have one foot and four toes in the semi-finals. Without being ridiculous in the first leg, the Portuguese suffered the law of a team experienced in the playoffs of the C1. Benfica, already out of the running for the title in its championship, will try to win a prestigious victory.
A boost from Jürgen Klopp cannot be ruled out: the tactician of Scousers could rotate for this meeting, interspersed between two duels against Manchester City. But the concocted team will be, whatever it is, very competitive. The irreducible will still be able to follow the meeting on Wednesday evening, on beIN Sports 1.