Today's draw for the quarter-finals of the Champions League 2013/14 threw up some very interesting fixtures, the pick of the round perhaps being Paris St. Germain vs Chelsea, both at the top of the league in their respective countries.
Jose Mourinho's Chelsea may have only just shown of Roberto Mancini's Galatasaray in the last 16 but will relish the chance of putting one over on the French Ligue Un leaders PSG on 2 April.
It won't be an easy task though with in form strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani and tough defender Thiago Silva ready to stop Chelsea's charge for a third European trophy in as many years. To have confidence for the second leg Chelsea will surely have to score an away goal.
Odds on favourites with many bookies to win the trophy, Bayern Munich, were drawn against this seasons strugglers, Manchester United. The Champions League is the only trophy left for United to win, and can only realistically get into next seasons tournament by winning this one, what with them sitting seventh in the Barclays Premier league and 12 points adrift of a top four spot.
It's hard to see how United can over come Europe's most dominant team and reigning champions, Bayern, seeing as they so easily batted off Barcelona at the same stage last year with an incredible 7-0 aggregate win over the Catalans. David Moyes will have to be at his best managerially to even get a draw in the first leg, bearing in mind how poor United have been this season, both in defence and also at Old Trafford.
Bayern could put the tie to bed in the first leg because they are away and if they play the way they can away from home (14 consecutive Champions League away wins) United may face an impossible task at the Allianz Arena on 9 April. On the tie Arjen Robben, who recently signed a new three year contract with Bayern, said: "Obviously they're struggling in the Premier League this season but that counts for nothing in the Champions League. We have to be up for it from the start. United aren't in great shape but they're still a top team."
Real Madrid may have the easiest tie of the round with German side Borussia Dortmund. Madrid have the Champions League top scorer in their squad, Ronaldo with 13 goals, and quite honestly it's very difficult to imagine Dortmund being able to progress, or even score in fact. Madrid are also hot favourites to get to the final in Lisbon and, despite knocking out Zenit St. Petersburg emphatically in the last 16, Dortmund may not have the fire power to out score Los Galacticos.
Last years disappointment, Barcelona, will face fellow La Liga title contenders Atletico Madrid. With Lionel Messi fit again after three months out, Barcelona stand a very good chance of progressing to the semi-finals but that said, Atletico have been this campaigns surprise package with striker Diego Costa scoring seemingly at will.
Los Rojiblancos have snuck under the radar in the tournament so far and may be the team that surprise everyone by pushing the Catalans to the very edge and giving them a good game to say the least. Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes says: "They are a team that presses with an intensity in the same style as their coach and I compliment everything that they are doing".
This years quarter-final draw is exciting to say the least, with the potential to throw up some surprise results but definitely some cracking games.
The first leg fixtures will be played over April 1-2 and the second leg fixtures a week later on April 8-9.
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