The draw for the Champions League quarterfinals took place on Friday, March 17th. The eight teams in the draw were:
- Atletico Madrid (Spain)
- Barcelona (Spain)
- Real Madrid (Spain)
- Leicester City (England)
- Juventus (Italy)
- Monaco (France)
- Bayern Munich (Germany)
- Borussia Dortmund (Germany)
Being the weakest of the bunch, everyone, except Gianluigi Buffon, wanted to draw Leicester City.
Atletico Madrid were the winners as they drew Leicester. Atletico advanced to the quarters by beating Bayer Leverkusen.
Borussia Dortmund came back from a first leg deficit to win 4-0 at home against Portuguese side, Porto. Dortmund drew Monaco who also came from behind and beat Manchester City 3-1 (6-6 agg.) advancing on away goals.
The two match-ups that will garner the most attention will be Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich and Barcelona vs Juventus. These four teams are considered heavy favorites to win the Champions League. The fact that two of these teams will not make the semi-finals means that the field opens up for an underdog team.
After having a rather accessible route to the Champions League title in 2016, Real Madrid will have to face Bundesliga leaders, Bayern Munich. The last time these two sides met was in 2014. Under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola, Bayern lost the first at leg in Madrid 1-0, and lost the return leg, 4-0. Real Madrid went on to win the tournament that year as well.
The narrative for this particular match is Bayern manager, Carlo Ancelotti, managed Real Madrid when they won their 10th Champions League title in 2014. His assistant manager at the time, Zinedine Zidane, is the current manager for Real Madrid. There were rumblings back then that Zidane was being groomed to eventually take over for Ancelotti. While Madrid hired Rafael Benitez after Ancelotti left, Zidane took over from Benitez halfway through the 2015-2016 season.
The other match-up pins Barcelona against Juventus. This will be rematch of the 2014-2015 Champions League final where Barcelona won 3-1 and completed their treble-winning season. Barcelona come off a historic comeback against PSG while Juventus had a fairly easy time getting past Porto.
Former Barcelona right-back, Dani Alves, will be facing his old team. It’s a match-up he wanted to avoid.
When asked if he wanted to face Barcelona, he said, “If I have to play Barca, I’d prefer it be in the final.”
The rest of Barcelona’s season will be an interesting one considering manager Luis Enrique is a lame duck manager. He announced that he would not be renewing his contract and will leave Barcelona at the end of the season. Barcelona will be without key mid-fielder, Sergio Busquets, for the first game in Turin.
It should be an entertaining quarter-finals for fans and neutrals alike. While the games featuring the heavyweights will garner the most attention, the other two games have their own narratives in place.
Will Leicester continue its resurgence under Craig Shakespeare? Will Monaco be able to outscore Dortmund?
The first leg will take place on April 11th and 12th with the return leg taking place on the 18th and 19th.