The Champions League quarter final draw has been finalised. The schedule is as follows:
|Date||Teams||Leg||Venue||Time in India|
|11 April 2023||Manchester City vs Bayern||First||Etihad Stadium||12 April 12:30 AM|
|11 April 2023||Benfica vs Inter||First||Estádio da Luz||12 April 12:30 AM|
|12 April 2023||Milan vs Napoli||First||Stadio Giuseppe Meazza||13 April 12:30 AM|
|12 April 2023||Real Madrid vs Chelsea||First||Santiago Bernabéu||13 April 12:30 AM|
|18 April 2023||Napoli vs Milan||Second||Stadio Diego Armando Maradona||19 April 12:30 AM|
|18 April 2023||Chelsea vs Real Madrid||Second||Stamford Bridge||19 April 12:30 AM|
|19 April 2023||Inter vs Benfica||Second||San Siro||20 April 12:30 AM|
|19 April 2023||Bayern vs Man City||Second||Allianz Arena||20 April 12:30 AM|
The two semi-final legs will take place on May 9-10 and May 16-17, followed by the final on June 10 in Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium.
Real Madrid vs Chelsea preview
In last year’s Champions League, Real Madrid got the better of Chelsea mainly thanks to Benzema. This season, Real Madrid have been under par in the La Liga. However, their crushing come-from-behind 5-2 win over Liverpool at Anfield, in the UCL 2023, showed us what they could do.
Despite their three successive UCL matches ending in a win, Chelsea have lacked consistency and momentum. However, they have time until the first leg game to get their act together.
Benzema has had 13 goals in his previous 8 knock out games. At 35, Benzema defies age and injury to remain the key player for Real Madrid. The star striker can also expect great support from the likes of Courtois, Rudiger, Modric and Vinicius.
Chelsea have a dependable pair of defenders in Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly. Fofana vs Benzema will be a duel to look forward to.
Benfica vs Inter preview
Benfica have faced defeat just once this season. Even losing Enzo Fernandez to Chelsea has not fazed them. By contrast, Inter have been less consistent. Their strong defence helped Inter overcome Porto in their 2nd leg game of the RO16. And despite their less-than-perfect form, Inter still managed to beat Napoli in the Italian league.
Goalkeeper Andre Onana has been Inter’s stand out player. Against Benfica’s formidable attack, Onana will have to be at his best.
Benfica lost Darwin Nunez to Liverpool last summer. However, following his departure, Goncalo Ramos has been in incredible goal-scoring form this season. Apart from his ability to finish, his awareness and speed make Ramos a complete package. How Inter’s back three manage Ramos will determine the outcome of the match.
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich preview
This match could have been worthy of a final. However, neither heavyweight side has set the stands on fire in their respective domestic leagues. In the Champions League, Bayern have won eight out of eight. Meanwhile, Man City have registered five wins and three draws in their own eight games.
On the big day, either team could rise to the occasion. Bayern boast a great mix of experience and youth. Apart from the outstanding young Jamal Musiala, they have the likes of Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, and Kingsley Coman in their ranks. The icing on the Bayern cake is the ever-young Thomas Muller.
Most fans would say that Julian Nagelsmann had done a decent job as the Bayern manager. Despite that, the Bayern Munich management decided to sack the wunderkind-manager and hire former Chelsea, PSG and Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel instead. Whether, this will boost their chances or create instability is yet to be concluded.
On the other hand, City fired a warning to potential rivals by thrashing Leipzig 7-0 in the second leg of their RO16 game. Erling Haaland got five of those goals. However, there is a question mark over the form of goalie Ederson and midfielder De Bruyne.
The outcome of the game could boil down to who dominates the midfield. Man City would look to Rodri – with assistance from Gundogan — to provide the momentum. Bayern would want to neutralise Rodri’s influence with their own midfield duo of Muller and Goretzka.
With his ability to attack the rival backline, grab passes and score, Jamal Musiala could tilt the game in Bayern’s favour. With the second leg scheduled to be played in their backyard, Bayern will enjoy an additional edge.
AC Milan vs Napoli preview
In Serie A, Napoli look likely to win their first Scudetto in 33 years. However, Napoli have never before featured in a UCL semi-final. By contrast, Milan have won the UCL on 7 occasions — only Real Madrid with 14 titles are ahead of them.
All eyes will be on Fikayo Tomori, Milan’s English defender, as the Italian club seek to stop Napoli’s rampaging forward Victor Osimhen. Tomori delivered the goods against Tottenham in the RO16 when he tied up Harry Kane. With threats in every area of the pitch, Milan’s challenge against Napoli will be much tougher.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has been Napoli’s outstanding star this season. In fact, the Georgian midfielder’s ability to influence the outcome of games has been compared with that of the legendary Maradona.
With only 6 goals conceded in 8 games, Napoli have arguably featured the strongest backline this UCL season. Napoli were clearly the favourites to beat Milan before their trashing of Napoli at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona this Sunday. 0-4 was the final result, in a game where Napoli looked somewhat off compared to their useful self this season. They were without an injured Victor Osimhen, so the Rossoneri will have their task cut out trying to stop the rival side’s brilliant forward line from scoring when Napoli will try to get their payback.
I expect Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Benfica and Napoli to progress to the semi-finals, although there will be plenty of room for surprises. If you are looking for betting options for the upcoming UCL quarter-finals, check out our article on the best betting sites in India.