Chelsea, Manchester City, Paris and Real Madrid have leads to defend, but the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals are far from settled.
See what’s coming up in the second legs.
Mbappé on fire as Bayern fight for survival
‘Serve chilled’ was the classy headline in French sports paper L’Équipe after Paris’s 3-2 first-leg win at Bayern, over a picture of Kylian Mbappé celebrating one of his two strikes in snowy Munich. It was a supremely composed performance from the striker, who is hoping to continue an exceptional goalscoring run in the return: eight goals in his last four UEFA Champions League matches. “I love this type of game,” he said.
Bayern are a goal behind in Paris and still without their talismanic front man Robert Lewandowski, but the European champions can take comfort in the fact that the first leg was something of an off-night. They had 31 shots on goal, and on another night might have converted four or five more of them. “Nobody could have had any complaints had we won 5-3 or 6-3,” said Thomas Müller. “Somehow we shot ourselves in the foot. Now we have to come from behind.”
Mendy guarding Chelsea’s advantage
A 2-0 win in the ‘away’ leg looks slightly better on paper than in reality given that both legs of Chelsea’s tie with Porto are being held in Seville, but given the Blues’ form since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel, Porto have cause to feel slightly dispirited. In the first-leg win against the Dragons, Édouard Mendy kept the 13th clean sheet in 16 Chelsea games since the start of January.
Porto, though, can take courage from their performance against Chelsea, if not the score line. But for the lapses that led to the goals, coach Sérgio Conceição felt that his side had the measure of their opponents, and was not conceding anything. “We are in the middle of the tie so let’s believe,” he said. “The players were fantastic. We know Chelsea’s strengths.” Finding their weaknesses is more of a challenge.
Liverpool face Spain barrier again
For the third time in three seasons, Liverpool are going into the decisive leg of a UEFA Champions League knockout tie needing to win at home against Spanish opponents. The Reds’ recent recovery continues to look fragile, and they have lost two of their last five European home fixtures, but Mohamed Salah’s goal in Madrid has given them something to build on. “It gives us at least a lifeline,” said manager Jürgen Klopp.
Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois knows that well, remarking: “It’s a good position for us now, but we know Anfield is always a hard place to go.” However, having won six of their last seven UEFA Champions League matches, the 13-time European champions will not necessarily be playing with their backs to the wall. Karim Benzema, meanwhile, needs just one more goal to join club legend Raúl González on 71 goals in Europe’s top competition.
Haaland factor vs brilliance of De Bruyne
Dortmund could take plenty of pride from their performance in Manchester given the dire predictions that were made ahead of the first leg, and BILD knows that Erling Haaland’s failure to score might be another bonus ahead of the second leg, writing: “Haaland has scored against every team he’s faced in the Champions League. That means a goal against City is still to come.”
However, even if the Norwegian is good for a goal against his father’s old club, keeping a lid on this City side is an immense challenge for Edin Terzić’s men. Kevin De Bruyne has laid on four assists in this season’s UEFA Champions League on top of his two goals, and is feeling confident: “They’re capable of causing us problems, but we also know we’re good enough to go there and win.”
Bayern / Paris vs Man. City / Dortmund
Real Madrid / Liverpool vs Porto / Chelsea
Semi-final ties will take place on 27/28 April and 4/5 May.
Atatürk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul: 29 May