The Champions League has provided its fair share of shocks this season and with one game in the way of the progression to the semi-finals, We look at the unresolved ties that are set to offer a number of exciting clashes from the cream of the European game.
Barcelona v PSG
The glamorous fixture between Barcelona’s free-flowing football and Paris Saint-Germain’s fast paced bombardment is anything but settled following Blaise Matuidi’s stoppage time equaliser against a dumbfounded Victor Valdes.
Following the 2-2 at the Parc des Princes many will be searching for the match-ups that will decide the tie, with some proving far more obvious than others.
Among strong individual performances from the usual suspects such as Andres Iniesta and Ezequiel Lavezzi, the competition everyone would be salivating at between Thiago Silva and Lionel Messi is crucially over.
Suffering a hamstring injury, the Argentine maestro was taken off at half-time, signalling the last he shall play in this mouth-watering match. Ultimately this is already a massive advantage for PSG whom still have their Brazilian captain ready for selection following his unfaultable performance in the first leg.
Barcelona also lack an important man for the second leg with Javier Mascherano banned after picking up a yellow card. Mascherano’s consistent energy and toughness was needed in the first leg to quash Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whom after scoring an offside goal still has more to offer against his old side. Now likely to turn to the inexperienced Marc Bartra, PSG will look to let Ibrahimovic, Lavezzi and Lucas Moura loose on the unsteady Barcelona defence.
With Barcelona missing two crucial players, one point of advantage is that the goal scorer, and PSG’s powerhouse Matuidi is to face the same fate as Mascherano, Barcelona should still be considered strong favourites to go through.
Bayern Munich v Juventus
The first leg between the Bavarians and the Old Lady ended in jubilant German celebrations, as David Alaba and Thomas Muller’s goals swung the tie firmly in Bayern’s favour.
Juventus coach, Antonio Conte will have much to ponder looking back to a game in which his side were able to muster seven lacklustre shots in comparison to Bayern’s 20, nevertheless as witnessed in Bayern’s last 16 return match against Arsenal, the task is not impossible.
The first leg saw Andrea Pirlo have a rare quiet game with the magic of Arturo Vidal unable to save Juventus from defeat. However, with the strength the Turin side possess when playing at the Juventus Stadium, the tie is anything but over.
This thrilling battle is far from over but Juventus have to be at the top of their game to progress against the relentless German side who are strong favourites.
Malaga v Borussia Dortmund
Rendered as the third-wheel of the Spanish rampage within this year’s Champions League, Malaga have silently proceeded. Having drawn with Borussia Dortmund in the first leg without conceding an away goal, they have put them self in a strong position against a somewhat more efficient side. Having progressed through the group of death, beating Madrid in their route, Dortmund dominated the first leg; however their unpredictable problems in front of goal have left Malaga with a strong advantage.
Malaga reached the quarter finals after beating Porto, following a first leg where one shot was taken. After another tight encounter Malaga can claim to have a chance of making it to the semis.
However this break of fortune will only happen in Robert Lewandowski, Mario Gotze and co have a second bashful game in attack.
Real Madrid v Galatasaray
Following Madrid’s 3-0 victory over Galatasaray at the Bernabeu the tie is effectively over; however the matter could be very different if Galatasaray had had the rub of the green.
Denied a strong claim for a penalty and seeing Benzema escape a very high tackle, Galatasaray will feel aggrieved to occur such a setback in an open game where a more in-form striking force would have thrived.
As unfair as it may seem, if they do indeed go out, Galatasaray can be proud knowing they weren’t dismissed without a whimper.
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