The Champions League quarter-finals proceed this week, and it begins with holders Chelsea heading to Actual Madrid on Tuesday, earlier than Liverpool and Manchester Metropolis play on Wednesday.
The second legs of the quarter-finals start on Tuesday as holders Chelsea attempt to claw their method again from a 3-1 quarter-final first-leg defeat in opposition to 13-time winners Actual – with Villarreal additionally in motion at Bayern Munich.
Pep Guardiola’s Metropolis – recent from Sunday’s exhilarating 2-2 draw in opposition to title rivals Liverpool – are additionally off to the Spanish capital as they face Atletico Madrid, taking a 1-0 lead into the second leg after final week’s win on the Etihad, seeking to attain the semi-finals for a second consecutive 12 months.
Liverpool host Benfica at Anfield with one foot within the ultimate 4, after a 3-1 win in Lisbon final Tuesday, as they proceed their push for an historic quadruple, with one eye firmly on Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final in opposition to Metropolis on Saturday.
Make-or-break week for Chelsea
Chelsea face the monstrous activity of turning into simply the second workforce in Champions League historical past to overturn a two-goal deficit following a first-leg house defeat after they play on the Bernabeu on Tuesday night time.
Chelsea workforce information
- Romelu Lukaku is not going to journey to Spain for the quarter-final second leg in opposition to Actual Madrid
- Cesar Azpilicueta has returned a unfavourable Covid take a look at and is with the group
- Ross Barkley is sick and anticipated to overlook out
If they’re unsuccessful in Spain, Chelsea’s complete season rests on the end result of Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final in opposition to Crystal Palace at Wembley, with the Blues comfy in third and having no hope of a late title push.
Chelsea recovered properly after back-to-back defeats to Brentford and Actual by thrashing Southampton 6-0 on Saturday, however head coach Thomas Tuchel nonetheless feels a comeback is unlikely.
“We’d like nothing else aside from a implausible script,” mentioned Chelsea head coach Tuchel on Monday.
“The duty and problem is extremely laborious and in opposition to who we play and the place we play. We’re allowed to dream, it is generally vital to think about issues and dream about.
“It is not going to shift the main focus, we are going to help our workforce, and we are going to attempt laborious. It is sports activities, and it is a sport, and that is the great thing about the sport, that all the pieces is feasible at all times.”
Are Chelsea at a ‘big drawback’ vs Actual?
Tuchel believes Chelsea face a “big drawback” in overturning their Champions League deficit to Actual Madrid because the Spanish aspect have been in a position to make 5 substitutions all through the season.
Premier League golf equipment have voted to reintoduce the rule of 5 subs subsequent season, however have solely been in a position to make use of three domestically on this marketing campaign.
“To start with, we wished it extra bodily however we didn’t work laborious or intense sufficient within the first match,” he mentioned.
“Second of all, we face an enormous drawback when it comes to physicality as a result of Actual Madrid has a complete 12 months with 5 adjustments and we play probably the most demanding league, we play probably the most matches all through the season and all through 2022 so it’s not at all times straightforward to play a bodily sport.
“We’re a workforce that wants the physicality, the sharpness, the dedication and the funding to be a particular workforce. We couldn’t implement that sufficient within the final match.
“This was additionally resulting from their high quality, their capability to gradual the sport down, to manage the match by ball possession.”
Ancelotti ‘comfortable’ to rely upon Benzema
Actual Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti admits his aspect are reliant on Karim Benzema, their prime scorer within the Champions League, and says there may be “no motive to cover it”.
After Benzema scored a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge within the first leg – turning into simply the fourth participant to attain back-to-back trebles in Europe’s elite competitors – Ancelotti mentioned the 34-year-old striker is ageing like a “advantageous wine”.
The France worldwide (11) is behind solely Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski (12), who has additionally scored two hat-tricks in Europe this season, within the Champions League scoring charts.
“The season is displaying that we’ve two forwards who’ve been shining out, Vinicius Jr and Benzema,” mentioned Ancelotti.
“Previously we had Karim, Cristiano or Gareth Bale who scored many objectives. To say that we’re depending on Benzema is true, no motive to cover it. Completely satisfied to have this dependency, fairly comfortable. I’m very comfortable to rely upon Karim Benzema.”
Ancelotti insists his gamers usually are not relaxed regardless of taking a two-goal benefit to the Bernabeu and says Actual ought to respect this “very robust” Chelsea aspect.
The Actual boss added: “I believe all people, the followers and ourselves, know it is going to be a tricky match. It is going to be a tough one, prefer it at all times is in a Champions League quarter-final.
“No matter occurred within the first leg we nonetheless have to know that we’ve to exit and play a full match, that we should endure, battle, compete. We should keep within the match for 90 minutes.”
Opta stats: Ancelotti to affix Pep and Jose in CL historical past books?
- Chelsea goalkeeper Édouard Mendy conceded three objectives within the first leg in opposition to Actual Madrid, as many as he had in his earlier 10 appearances within the Champions League mixed. His error resulting in Actual Madrid’s third purpose was additionally the primary one he has made in 20 appearances within the competitors.
- Actual Madrid’s Karim Benzema (1) and Vinícius Júnior (4) have assisted one another a mixed 5 instances within the Champions League this season; probably the most of any teammate duo. Certainly, Vinícius Júnior’s 4 assists for Benzema can be probably the most from one participant to a different in 2021-22.
- No Chelsea participant has been instantly concerned in additional Champions League objectives beneath Thomas Tuchel than Christian Pulisic (6 – three objectives, three assists), whereas the American additionally scored the Blues’ solely purpose away to Actual Madrid in final season’s semi-final.
- Benzema has scored 11 objectives for Actual Madrid within the Champions League this season, already probably the most by a French participant in a single marketing campaign in European Cup/Champions League historical past. His 11 objectives this season is as many as he had scored within the earlier two editions of the match mixed (six in 2020-21 and 5 in 2019-20).
- Actual Madrid supervisor Carlo Ancelotti is seeking to qualify for the semi-finals of the Champions League for the eighth time in his profession; the joint-most by a coach within the competitors’s historical past, together with Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho (eight instances).
- In Tuchel’s 16 video games accountable for Chelsea within the competitors, 40 per cent of the objectives they’ve conceded within the Champions League (4/10) have been scored by Benzema. Regardless of solely having performed one leg, that is already probably the most objectives Chelsea have conceded in a knockout tie within the competitors beneath Tuchel (3).
- Chelsea path by two objectives from the primary leg at Stamford Bridge, whereas they should equal their largest margin of victory away from house within the Champions League knockout levels to implement further time (received by two objectives on three events). They’ve solely scored greater than two objectives away from house within the knockout levels of the competitors as soon as beforehand, beating Liverpool 3-1 in 2008-09.
- Actual Madrid have progressed from 9 of their earlier 10 ties within the Champions League knockout levels when profitable the primary leg away from house, with their solely elimination on this situation coming in opposition to Ajax in 2018-19 (2-1 away, 1-4 at house).
- This shall be Chelsea’s first ever sport on the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in European competitors, with final season’s away sport at Actual Madrid being performed on the Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium. No English aspect has ever received on the Bernabeu within the Champions League by greater than a single purpose, with Actual Madrid solely shedding three of the 12 video games general (W6 D3).
- Actual Madrid’s 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge was their first victory in opposition to Chelsea in European competitors, having drawn two and misplaced three of their first 5 such conferences. The final aspect to win each legs in opposition to Chelsea in a Champions League knockout tie was Bayern Munich within the Spherical of 16 in 2019-20.
Can Villarreal stun Bayern once more?
Villarreal discover themselves simply 90 minutes away from reaching a primary Champions League semi-final since 2006 – after they had been overwhelmed by Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal – after Arnaut Danjuma secured a 1-0 win over Bayern Munich at El Madrigal final Wednesday.
Six-time winners Bayern Munich have misplaced the final 5 Champions League knockout ties wherein they’ve trailed after the primary leg, with 4 of these cases coming in opposition to Spanish sides, giving Villarreal hope that they’ll progress as they take a 1-0 lead into the second leg on the Allianz on Tuesday night time.
Villarreal head coach Unai Emery, previously of Arsenal, has received extra Europa League titles than another supervisor, however is seeking to attain the final 4 of the Champions League for the primary time in his profession.
Huge week for Man Metropolis and Liverpool continues
The Premier League title race stays on a knife edge after Sunday’s pulsating 2-2 draw between Man Metropolis and Liverpool – and there’s no let up for the 2 title rivals, with each in Champions League motion on Wednesday earlier than dealing with off in opposition to one another within the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday.
Metropolis dominated the primary leg in opposition to Atletico, however solely maintain a slender 1-0 lead going into the second leg in Madrid after a backs-against-the-wall show from the La Liga aspect in Manchester. Diego Simeone’s males should be extra progressive of their play on Wednesday night time, nevertheless, as they want two objectives to progress with out penalties.
Liverpool, in the meantime, could possibly rotate in opposition to Benfica after Luis Diaz – signed from Porto in January – got here off the bench to safe a 3-1 victory for his new aspect on his return to Portugal final Tuesday. Diaz didn’t begin on the Etihad on Sunday, so is probably going to take action at Anfield in opposition to Benfica.
Spherical of 16
Tuesday February 15
Wednesday February 16
Tuesday February 22
Wednesday February 23
Tuesday March 8
Wednesday March 9
Tuesday March 15
Wednesday March 16
Tuesday April 5
Benfica 1-3 Liverpool
Man Metropolis 1-0 Atletico Madrid
Wednesday April 6
Chelsea 1-3 Actual Madrid
Villarreal 1-0 Bayern Munich
Tuesday April 12
Bayern Munich vs Villarreal (8pm)
Actual Madrid vs Chelsea (8pm)
Wednesday April 13
Atletico Madrid vs Man Metropolis (8pm)
Liverpool vs Benfica (8pm)
Benfica/Liverpool vs Villarreal/Bayern Munich
Man Metropolis/Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea/Actual Madrid
First legs scheduled to be performed on Tuesday April 26 and Wednesday April 27; second legs on Tuesday Might 3 and Wednesday Might 4.
Scheduled to be performed on Saturday Might 28 on the Stade de France, Saint-Denis.