The elimination of Manchester United and Arsenal may have provoked much introspection and wailing from the English media but the lack of English (or British) involvement does not lessen it’s quality or appeal.
Malaga v Borussia Dortmund
Real Madrid v Galatasaray
PSG v Barcelona
Bayern Munich v Juventus
The Spanish big guns are still involved and brimming with confidence following their last 16 performances.
They are joined by their countrymen, Malaga who have progressed in spite of their financial problems.
Chilean coach, Manuel Pellegrini is the club’s main source of strength, working miracles like he did at Villarreal. It’s no surprise that both Manchester City and Chelsea seem eager to secure his services for next season.
The next tie however may be a bridge to far.
Dortmund have floundered badly in the Bundesliga this term but flourished in the Champions League. They topped the Group of Death : Manchester City, Real Madrid and Ajax and went on to beat Shakhtar Donetsk in the last round. For many they are the form team of the competition and outside, favourites.
Real Madrid progressed via a dodgy red card decision.Of course this is not true as Real had more than been a match for Manchester United prior to Nani’s expulsion but the decision did change the game.
With Ronaldo at his peak, Mourinho’s expertise and a gaggle of Galacticos they should dispatch Galatasaray and move into the semis.
Then again, this is probably what Manchester United and Schalke thought and both suffered at the feet of the Turkish giants.
PSG have finally come good after huge investment. The recruitment of Ezequiel Lavezzi, Lucas Moura, Javier Pastore and talisman, Ibrahimovich is finally paying dividends but It remains to be seen if they can overcome a resurgent Barcelona.
Many predicated that Barca would tumble out of the CL at the hands of Milan. Those same people heralded Barca’s 4-0 turnaround has the greatest ever quarter final club performance. Regardless, the Spanish champs have found their mojo after their mini-slump and 2 El Classico defeats. Could be the tie of the round.
Last up we have Bayern against Juve. Two giants of European football.
Munich stumbled against Arsenal, more due to overconfidence than anything. They are currently waltzing to the Bundesliga title and arguably have the most complete first team squad.
Juve soundly beat Celtic over 2 legs and will be hoping-like in last year’s Euros-German opposition brings out the best in Andrea Pirlo. The “Old Lady” are quickly becoming are Euro-powerhouse again but I think it is a year too early for the Italians.