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Champions League: Quarter-final second legs preview

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Real Madrid play against Manchester City in the Champions League.
Real Madrid play against Manchester City in the Champions League. Photo/ beIN Sports
  • Who will advance to the UEFA Champions League’s final four?
  • Before the Champions League action begins, we examine the main talking points.

This week is when the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second legs take place, but who will advance to the competition’s final four?

Before the Champions League action begins, we examine the main talking points.

Atletico need to defend

Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid vs Dortmund. Photo/ Sportsnet.

This week, Diego Simeone can add to his legacy at Atletico Madrid as the Spanish team travels to Borussia Dortmund looking to preserve a 2-1 advantage.

With more success, Simeone’s Colchoneros will go to their fourth Champions League semifinal, where they will face either Barcelona or Paris Saint-Germain in the final four.

The La Liga team needs to get past a dismal record in Germany, though. In the Champions League, Atletico has suffered defeats on each of their past four visits to Germany, including a crushing 4-0 loss at Dortmund in the group stage in 2018–19 and a 4-0 loss at Bayern Munich the most recent time out.

Prior to their match at the Westfalenstadion, they have a worrisome record having lost seven of their ten national travels.

Mbappe needs to put in more work

Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe. Photo/beIN SPORTS

Despite all of the hype around the PSG star before the first leg against Barcelona, the forward had a boring evening and was unable to have much of an impact on the game during the loss at Parc des Princes. For the rematch, Luis Enrique’s team will travel to Barcelona. This matchup may play to their strengths as Barcelona is not expected to dig in and hold onto their 3-2 lead.

Last week, Mbappe found it difficult to contribute from a wide position, so Enrique needs to come up with a strategy that engages the captain of France. After a first leg in which he completed just one of five dribbles and failed to register a shot on target, his explosiveness may make all the difference, especially on the break.

There is hope due to Mbappe’s impressive road record, as the 25-year-old has netted 13 goals in just 11 away Champions League knockout matches. The only players who have ever scored more goals are Cristiano Ronaldo (23), Karim Benzema (14), and Mbappe (who scored a hat-trick during his final trip to Barcelona in 2021).

How PSG could use another effort of that kind in what was maybe his best-ever Champions League showing to date.

Will Kane hurt his old rivals?

Harry Kane and Leroy Sane.

Harry Kane and Leroy Sane. Photo/ Goal

The end of Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga reign is official, even if it felt inevitable for a few weeks. Bayern Munich’s 11-year run as German champions came to an end this past weekend when Bayer Leverkusen defeated them and Die Werkself became champions for the first time in their history.

So, this week’s matchup with Arsenal will determine the fate of Bayern’s season. With a thrilling 2-2 tie at the Emirates in the first leg, the Bavarians ought to begin as the small favorites in the rematch.

Harry Kane, who scored in North London, hopes to bring home trophies from his first season in Munich. The England captain joined Bayern in the summer hoping to snap his elusive run of major championships, but surprisingly, the club’s dismal domestic campaign has prolonged his wait.

But there’s still hope for atonement in the Champions League, where Kane leads the field with seven goals. In addition, he leads the competition for the European Golden Shoe with 32 goals, and he is currently only two goals away from the 41 goals he scored for Tottenham during a career-best 2017–18 campaign.

Man City could make history

Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola. Photo/ TEAMtalk.

Only one English team has won the European Cup in its first 66 years, to go along with league titles and FA Cup victories. The 1998–1999 Manchester United team was dubbed the treble champions until Manchester City repeated the feat the previous year.

But now the Citizens are pursuing even greater distances. With six games remaining, Pep Guardiola’s squad is already two points ahead of the leaders thanks to mistakes made by championship contenders Arsenal and Liverpool over the weekend. This is concerning. Following a thrilling matchup with Real Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday, Chelsea will face off in the FA Cup semi-finals this coming weekend.

The tie is still open after a dramatic 3-3 draw between the clubs, but history is not on Real Madrid’s side as they have lost all five of their past visits to the Etihad, including a 4-0 loss the previous season. City’s standing as the favorites to win the winners League back-to-back this season would be reinforced if they defeat the record 14-time European winners.

I am an ardent sports enthusiast interested in writing about football, motorsport and athletics.

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