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Champions League previews: Atletico Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund & PSG vs Barcelona

We preview the Champions League quarter-finals involving Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, and Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona

The Champion League round of 16 was pretty much uneventful as most of the favourites got past their challenges pretty comfortably and managed to secure their spots in the quarter-finals. However, as a result of that, we have got a few very tasty ties at this stage of this competition.

The two English clubs Manchester City and Arsenal were drawn to play against FC Copenhagen and FC Porto respectively. While the Citizens breezed past the Danish side’s challenge, the Gunners defeated the Portuguese side on penalties after the game ended in all square over the two legs.

Now, Pep Guardiola’s side have been drawn to play against one of the favourites of this competition and the record champions Real Madrid. So, these two games between one of the best teams in the world are expected to be a mouth-watering prospect for football fans. Supporters are desperately trying to buy Champions League tickets online as the official allocation is sold-out, so we should see an excellent atmosphere at the Bernabeu.

On the other hand, Arsenal are set to play against Bayern Munich. The Gunners have a dire record versus the German giants and they will be desperate to rectify that this time around.

Arsenal have enjoyed a resurgence under Mikel Arteta’s guidance and are deemed one of the dark horses of this competition this season. Bayern Munich started the season as one of the favourites for this competition but they haven’t been able to showcase their best this campaign.

They have struggled in the Bundesliga and are looking likely that their dominance will come to an end this season as Bayer Leverkusen are currently 16 points ahead at the top. So, Arsenal will be backing themselves to beat the Bavarian club at this stage of this competition and reach the next round.

The winners of Man City versus Real Madrid and Arsenal against Bayern Munich will meet in the semi-final so there is a possibility that Mikel Arteta and Pep Guardiola face off against each other in the next round.

In the two games of the Champions League quarter-final, Atletico Madrid will take on Borussia Dortmund, while Paris Saint-Germain will go head-to-head with Barcelona. So, these two games are also likely to be exciting affairs, especially the PSG versus the Blaugrana game.

Atletico Madrid vs Borussia Dortmund:

Atletico Madrid will host Borussia Dortmund at Estadio Metropolitano in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday night.

The Spanish side have managed to reach this stage of this competition after defeating Inter Milan in the previous round. The Nerazzurri were the favourite in that tie and even found themselves ahead in the first leg but eventually lost the second leg on penalties.

Los Rojiblancos haven’t been able to showcase their best this season as they are currently fourth in the table with 58 points from 30 games, sitting 17 points behind the league leaders Real Madrid.

Diego Simeone’s side are currently only two points ahead of the fifth-placed Athletic Bilbao so they are currently at risk of missing out on the top-four spot. However, it is highly likely that the fifth-placed team will be able to secure their place in the Champions League next season so Atletico Madrid are expected to qualify for Europe’s elite club competition.

La Liga fixtures didn’t take place this weekend so Simeone’s side have had more than seven day’s break before this crucial fixture. So, they should be coming fresher than their opponent.

On the other hand, Dortmund were enjoying a promising time before last weekend’s game as they won five consecutive games in all competitions. However, after a disappointing defeat against Stuttgart, BVB might be lacking in confidence ahead of the game.

The German club have struggled in the Bundesliga this term, sitting fifth in the table and at risk of missing out on Champions League qualification. However, they have displayed promising performances in Europe’s elite club competition, topping the group of death and beating PSV Eindhoven in the round of 16.

Team news

Atletico Madrid don’t have many injury problems at the moment but they will be without Thomas Lemar and Mario Hermoso due to their respective problems.

Antoine Griezmann was struggling with an injury problem ahead of the international break, but he has recovered from his problem and is set to start in this crucial encounter.

As for Dortmund, they don’t have many injury absentees at the moment either, but Ramy Bensebaini and Donyell Malen are set to remain sidelined versus Atletico Madrid.

Expected Atletico Madrid line-up vs Dortmund

Jan Oblak; Jose Maria Giménez, Axel Witsel, Reinildo; Nahuel Molina, Marcos Llorente, Koke, Rodrigo de Paul, Samuel Lino; Griezmann, Alvaro Morata

Expected Dortmund line-up vs Atletico Madrid

Gregor Kobel; Julian Ryerson, Mats Hummels, Nico Schlotterbeck, Ian Maatsen; Marcel Sabitzer, Emre Can, Julian Brandt; Karim Adeyemi, Niclas Fullkrug, Jadon Sancho

Prediction

Atletico Madrid are unbeaten at the Estadio Metropolitano so the hosts will be the favourite to win the game and take the advantage before next week’s second leg. Atletico Madrid 2-0 Borussia Dortmund

PSG vs Barcelona

Barcelona will be travelling to the Parc des Princes Stadium to face off against PSG in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final.

PSG haven’t been at their best so far this term but they are currently at the top of the table in the French top-flight. So, they are likely to win the league once again this campaign.

PSG have reached this stage of this tournament by finishing second in the group of death and beating Real Sociedad comprehensively in the round of 16 over the two legs.

On the other hand, Barcelona haven’t been at their best either this campaign after winning the league last season. They are currently second in La Liga but are eight points behind Real Madrid at the moment and are unlikely to close the gap. Barcelona finished at the top of their group in the Champions League and defeated Napoli in the previous rounds.

Team news

PSG will be without Presnel Kimpembe, Layvin Kurzawa and Sergio Rico due to their respective injury problems and in addition, Nordi Mukiele might also miss out on this game having sustained a head injury last time out.

Achraf Hakimi is suspended for this fixture so he isn’t in contention to feature and therefore, the hosts are currently without a specialist right-back for this game.

As for Barcelona, they have a few injury absentees at the moment as Gavi and Alejandro Balde are set to remain sidelined in this encounter. But, the good news is that Frenkie de Jong, Pedri and Andreas Christensen have returned to first-team training after recovering from their issues so they are in contention to feature.

Seven Barcelona players are currently at risk of suspension if any of them picks up a yellow card in this encounter so they will have to be careful about that.

Expected PSG line-up vs Barcelona

Gianluigi Donnarumma; Warren Zaire-Emery, Marquinhos, Milan Skriniar, Nuno Mendes; Vitinha, Manuel Ugarte, Fabian Ruiz; Ousmane Dembele, Goncalo Ramos, Kylian Mbappe

Expected Barcelona line-up vs PSG

Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Jules Kounde, Pau Cubarsi, Ronald Araujo, Joao Cancelo; De Jong, Ilkay Gundogan, Fermin Lopez; Lamine Yamal, Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha

Prediction

PSG will be at home in this encounter and they will be backing themselves to come away with a healthy victory ahead of the away second leg. PSG 3-1 Barcelona

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