With the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals all complete we are left with every tie in the balance as we approach the return legs next week. Barcelona take a slender league to Madrid against Atletico who are armed with an away goal, whilst Bayern take a 1-0 lead to Lisbon against Benfica. Elsewhere, Manchester City bring PSG to Eastland’s all square and in a huge shock Real Madrid will need to overturn a 2-0 defeat against Wolfsburg.
Starting in Barcelona, it was a feisty affair and the pivotal moment arrived when Fernando Torres, after having given Atletico the lead, inexplicably fouled Sergio Busquets, already on a yellow card. The rest of the game was attack versus defence and Luis Suarez, who should have been dismissed for booting Juanfran, struck twice to give the Catalans the lead. However, Atletico are firmly in the tie, they are clean-sheets specialist and will be hopeful of grinding out a 1-0, like they did when they knocked out Barcelona in 2014.
Elsewhere, Bayern Munich take a one goal advantage to Portugal, and they were given a much tougher examination than many expected by Benfica. Arturo Vidal scored the decisive goal and whilst the score line is close, it’s hard not to envisage a Bayern away goal which will surely be enough for the German giants to progress. Wednesday night saw Manchester City gain a highly credible 2-2 draw in Paris in an exciting game. It promises to be another tight encounter at the Etihad, with PSG showing against Chelsea that they are more than capable of coming to England and getting a win.
In the biggest shock of the quarter-finals, Wolfsburg beat Real Madrid 2-0 in Germany. They struck twice in the first half and were fairly comfortable against Ronaldo and Bale, with Benzema forced off at half-time. It is an ideal position for the Germans to be in, knowing Madrid have to go all out, they will hope Julian Draxler can lead the attacks and find a vital away goal. Whilst Zinedine Zidane will be fully confident that his side can score the three goals required, it is extremely dangerous against a side renowned for their ability on the break in Wolfsburg.
It was a fascinating round of matches, that threw up one major surprise, and all eyes will be on Real Madrid to see if they can progress from what was supposed to be an easy draw. In the other games it is all up for grabs, with some games closer than anticipated and the big boys will have to prove their mettle if they want to get their hands on European football’s biggest prize.