Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City await quarter-final opponents

With the Champions League spherical of 16 finished and dusted, it is time for the quarter-final and semi-final attracts.

That means taking a (digital) journey to the grandiose House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland, the place Uefa are headquartered. It additionally means a bowl stuffed with rattling plastic balls, suited soccer dignitaries with rictus grins and at the least one detached former professional to do the honours, making it one of many sport’s most enduringly surreal rituals.

The eight groups within the quarter-finals are Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Benfica, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Villarreal. There shall be no Italian consultant at this stage for the second season operating and no French consultant for the third time within the final 5 seasons, which is a fairly unhealthy run provided that there was at the least one within the earlier six.

The draw will plot every workforce’s potential path to the ultimate, whereas there may also be a draw to allocate the ‘dwelling’ workforce for the decider on the Stade de France for procedural causes. 

The quarter finals will begin on Tuesday April 5 and Wednesday April 6, with the second legs the next week. The semi-final first legs shall be held on April 26 and 27, with the second legs on May 3 and 4, earlier than the grand finale on May 28.

The quarter-final and semi-final attracts are open, which means groups from the identical nation may feasibly be thrown collectively. The first workforce drawn performs the primary leg at dwelling, with the second workforce internet hosting the second leg.

Manchester City, Liverpool and Bayern Munich are the favourites however, regardless of their ongoing disaster off the sector, it could be remiss to dismiss holders Chelsea. While Real Madrid should not fairly as formidable as they had been throughout their golden years beneath the administration of Zinedine Zidane, they’ll fancy themselves to safe a file 14th European title.

Atletico Madrid, Benfica and Villarreal appear like outsiders however, having crushed Manchester United, Ajax and Juventus respectively within the final 16, every of them is able to springing a nasty shock on an unwary opponent. Let’s get these plastic balls rattling, then, and discover out which sides shall be slugging it out for a shot at European glory.

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