As football lovers look forward to an exciting week on the UEFA Champions League, after the Easter break, below are few striking events to watch out for.
Quarter-final first legs
On Tuesday, April 6, Manchester City will be locking horns with Borussia Dortmund, while Real Madrid would face Liverpool FC. Similarly, on Wednesday, April 7, FC Porto would be meeting Chelsea FC, while FC Bayern Munich would lock horns with Paris Saint-Germain.
Haaland back at his dad’s old club
The UEFA Champions League’s top scorer for this season, Erling Haaland, who is leading the scorer’s table with ten goals, was born the same summer that his father Alf-Inge Håland left Leeds for Manchester City. Photographs of a young Erling in a City kit sparked plenty of speculation as to his future, but Dortmund’s Norwegian wunderkind is unlikely to go easy in the first leg.
However, City’s Dortmund alumnus İlkay Gündoğan, who would be featured, will not be intimidated as the club look forward to building a first-leg advantage. The club is on a six-game winning run, home and away, against German clubs, while Dortmund have lost their last five against Premier League opponents.
Kyiv flashbacks for Madrid and Liverpool
Madrid has won 13 European Cups against Liverpool’s six, and had beaten the Reds 3-1 in the 2018 UEFA Champions League final. However, while the same coaches and many of the stars of that game will feature again in this quarter-final opener, it is worth remembering that there is little to choose between these sides in UEFA competitions, as both have won three of their six encounters.
“They’ll be two great games, with little in them. Real Madrid versus Liverpool is always a big game with two of the biggest names in world football,” said Madrid forward Rodrygo.
DNA test awaits Porto
Porto shook up this season’s competition by eliminating Cristiano Ronaldo-powered Juventus in the last round, a 3-2 defeat with ten men after extra time in Turin prompting coach Sérgio Conceição to say: “We never stopped believing, this is the true DNA of FC Porto.”
The club may need to be just as tigerish against in-form Chelsea, with the suspensions of Mehdi Taremi and Sérgio Oliveira (the Portuguese club’s top European scorer with five goals this season) tilting the odds more in the favour of the Blues.
Meanwhile, the home advantage may not help Porto here as both legs of the tie are being played in Seville.
Bayern’s Paris rematch
Parisian Kingsley Coman scored the only goal as Bayern beat Paris in the 2020 UEFA Champions League final, and has another chance to be the architect of his local team’s downfall as the sides reconvene in Munich.
However, fate may have intervened on Paris’s side this time around, as Bayern talisman Robert Lewandowski has been ruled out of both legs through injury while Mauricio Pochettino is likely to be able to call on Neymar after several weeks of struggling with a leg problem.
Also, Bayern’s Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who played for Paris in 2020 final, said: “I’m looking forward to the game and the reunion. It’s an awesome story.”