The draw for the Champions League quarterfinals took place today in Nyon, Swizterland, and produced the following match-ups: Barcelona FC v Paris Saint Germain, Juventus v Bayern Munich, Real Madrid v Galatasaray, and Malaga v Borussia Dortmund. The first legs will be played April 2 and 3 and the returns will be played April 9 and 10.
Spanish Football's relative league and club superiority over the past several years again reared its head in producing three of the final eight teams to compete for European supremacy. Though two are major contenders and the third a minor one, the Premiership is not represented and each other major leagues, is represented but by one club, save the Bundesliga, with two teams.
The first match up, Barca v PSG, should be an entertaining if predictable tie. Barcelona should win without too much drama, as the Catalans simply have too much firepower and the Parisians do not have much offensive punch beyond Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Nevertheless, Zlatan will do his best to make it fun for the rest of us. My prediction is Barca move on.
Juventus v Bayern Munich should be the marquee match-up of the quarterfinals and the time when one or the other makes a major statement. Either Juve derails the powerhouse from Munich, or the Germans blow-away the Italian champions and stake their claim to being the most consistent club in Europe, at this point in time.
On paper Bayern is the favorite, but Juventus is as wily a customer as there is in European Football. If Bayern has one of its breakout games Juventus will have a hard time overcoming a major deficit, they just don't have the necessary creative players. But if Juve pulls ahead in a match, they are capable of shutting anyone down. Look for this one to be hard fought and come down to the wire, with the caveat of that breakout blowout Bayern seems able to pull every so often. If they do so in the first match, at home, the tie is over.
Real Madrid v Glatasaray was a fortunate draw for the in-form Madrid side who should have no problems dispatching their Turkish foes. This should not be a close one on paper, or otherwise, and should be won by Real even if coach Jose Mourinho pulls one of his personnel or strategic blunders. Real will move on.
Malaga v Borussia Dortmund is about as even as a tie can get. If both teams play up to their potential Dortmund has the edge, but Malaga has been playing inspired football while the Germans have been efficient if uninspiring. This one is too close to call, but the first game will be the decider. To move ahead Spanish Football's Malaga FC must play a great game April 3rd. They must win at home, in the opener, scoring at least two goals and also maintaining a clean sheet. This is a tall order, but Dortmund is one team Malaga could pull this off against.
For me, at this early stage, it is Barcelona, Bayern, Real Madrid, and Malaga that move on.
2 April 2013, 20:45 Bayern Munich v Juventus @ Allianz Arena, Munich
2 April 2013, 20:45 Paris Saint-Germain v Barcelona @ Parc des Princes, Paris
3 April 2013, 20:45 Málaga v Borussia Dortmund @ La Rosaleda, Málaga
3 April 2013, 20:45 Real Madrid v Galatasaray @ Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
9 April 2013, 20:45 Borussia Dortmund v Málaga @ Westfalenstadion, Dortmund
9 April 2013, 20:45 Galatasaray v Real Madrid @ Türk Telekom Arena, Istanbul
10 April 2013, 20:45 Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain @ Camp Nou, Barcelona
10 April 2013, 20:45 Juventus v Bayern Munich @ Juventus Stadium, Turin