The Champions League quarter-finals continue this week, and it starts with holders Chelsea traveling to Real Madrid on Tuesday, before Liverpool and Manchester City play on Wednesday.
The second legs of the quarter-finals begin on Tuesday as holders Chelsea try to come back after a 3-1 quarter-final first-leg defeat to 13-time winners Real, with Villarreal also in action at Bayern Munich.
The city of Pep Guardiola – fresh from Sunday’s exhilarating 2-2 draw against title rivals Liverpool – are also on their way to the Spanish capital against Atletico Madrid, taking a 1-0 second leg lead after last week’s win at the Etihad, looking to reach the semi-finals for a second straight year .
Liverpool host Benfica at Anfield with one foot in the last four, following a 3-1 win at Lisbon last Tuesday, as they continue their drive for a historic treble, with an eye on Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against City Saturday.
Decisive week for Chelsea
Chelsea face the monstrous task of becoming the second team in Champions League history to overturn a two-goal deficit following a home defeat in the first leg at the Bernabeu on Tuesday night.
Chelsea team news
- Romelu Lukaku will not travel to Spain for the quarter-final second leg against Real Madrid
- Cesar Azpilicueta has returned a negative Covid test and is with the band
- Ross Barkley is sick and should be missed
If they fail in Spain, Chelsea’s entire season hinges on Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final result against Crystal Palace at Wembley, with the Blues comfortable in third and having no hope of obtain a late title.
Chelsea have recovered well from back-to-back defeats to Brentford and Real by beating Southampton 6-0 on Saturday, but head coach Thomas Tuchel still thinks a comeback is unlikely.
“We don’t need anything but a fantasy scenario,” Chelsea head coach Tuchel said on Monday.
“The task and the challenge is incredibly difficult and who we play against and where we play. We have the right to dream, sometimes it is important to imagine things and to dream.
“It won’t change the direction, we will support our team and do our best. It’s sport, and it’s a game, and that’s the beauty of the game, that anything is always possible.”
Are Chelsea at a “huge disadvantage” against Real?
Tuchel believes Chelsea face a ‘huge disadvantage’ in reversing their Champions League deficit to Real Madrid as the Spanish side have been able to make five substitutions throughout the season.
Premier League clubs have voted to reintroduce the five-sub rule next season, but have only been able to use three domestically in this campaign.
“First of all, we wanted it to be more physical but we didn’t work hard enough or intense enough in the first game,” he said.
“Secondly, we are facing a huge disadvantage in terms of physicality because Real Madrid have a whole year with five changes and we play the most demanding league, we play the most games throughout the season and throughout of 2022 so it’s not always easy to play a physical game.
“We are a team that needs the physicality, the sharpness, the commitment and the investment to be a special team. We couldn’t implement that enough in the last game.
“It was also due to their quality, their ability to slow down the game, to control the game through possession of the ball.”
Opta stats: Will Ancelotti join Pep and Jose in CL history books?
Chelsea goalkeeper Édouard Mendy conceded three goals in the first leg against Real Madrid, as many as he had scored in his previous 10 Champions League appearances combined. His mistake leading to Real Madrid’s third goal was also the first he made in 20 appearances in the competition.
Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema (1) and Vinícius Júnior (4) have assisted each other five times in the Champions League this season; the best of any pair of teammates. Indeed, Vinícius Júnior’s four assists for Benzema are also the best player-to-player in 2021-22.
No Chelsea player has been directly involved in more Champions League goals under Thomas Tuchel than Christian Pulisic (6 – three goals, three assists), while the American also netted the Blues’ only goal in the game. away against Real Madrid in the semi-finals of last season.
Benzema has scored 11 goals for Real Madrid in the Champions League this season, already the most by a French player in a single campaign in European Cup/Champions League history. His 11 goals this season is as many as he had scored in the two previous editions of the tournament combined (six in 2020-21 and five in 2019-20).
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti is looking to qualify for the Champions League semi-finals for the eighth time in his career. the most tied by a coach in the history of the competition, with Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho (eight times).
In Tuchel’s 16 games in charge of Chelsea in the competition, 40% of the goals conceded in the Champions League (4/10) have been scored by Benzema. Despite only playing one leg, it’s already the most goals Chelsea have conceded in a knockout tie in the competition under Tuchel (3).
Chelsea trail by two goals since the first leg at Stamford Bridge as they will need to equal their biggest away winning margin in the Champions League Round of 16 to impose extra time (won by two goals to three times). They have scored more than two away goals in the competition’s round of 16 only once before, beating Liverpool 3-1 in 2008-09.
Real Madrid advanced nine of their previous 10 Champions League round of 16 appearances by winning the away first leg, with their only elimination in that scenario coming against Ajax in 2018-19 (2-1 away, 1-4 at home).
This will be Chelsea’s first-ever game at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in European competition, with last season’s away game at Real Madrid being played at the Alfredo Di Stéfano stadium. No English team has ever won the Bernabeu in the Champions League by more than one goal, with Real Madrid having lost just three of 12 games in total (W6 D3).
Real Madrid’s 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge was their first victory against Chelsea in European competition, having drawn and lost three of their first five such meetings. The last team to win both games against Chelsea in a Champions League knockout tie was Bayern Munich in the Round of 16 in 2019-20.
Can Villarreal stun Bayern again?
Villarreal find themselves just 90 minutes away from a first Champions League semi-final since 2006 – when they were beaten by Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal – after Arnaut Danjuma secured a 1-0 victory over the Bayern Munich at El Madrigal last Wednesday.
Six-time winners Bayern Munich have lost the last five Champions League knockout ties they have trailed in after the first leg, four of them against Spanish sides.
Villarreal head coach Unai Emery, ex-Arsenal, has won more Europa League titles than any other manager but is looking to reach the last four of the Champions League for the first time in his career.
The big week for Man City and Liverpool continues
The Premier League title race remains on a knife edge after Sunday’s 2-2 draw between Man City and Liverpool – and there is no respite for the two title rivals, both in the Champions League Wednesday before facing each other in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday.
City dominated the first leg against Atletico but only hold a slim 1-0 lead heading into the second leg in Madrid after a back-to-the-wall display at La Liga side Manchester. Diego Simeone’s men will need to be more progressive in their play on Wednesday night, however, as they need two goals to progress without a penalty.
Liverpool, meanwhile, may be in a position to turn against Benfica after Luis Diaz – signed from Porto in January – came off the bench to secure a 3-1 win for his new side when he returned to Portugal last Tuesday. Diaz didn’t start at the Etihad on Sunday so he’s likely to do so at Anfield against Benfica.
Round of 16
tuesday 15 february
Wednesday February 16
tuesday february 22
Wednesday February 23
tuesday march 8
Wednesday March 9
tuesday march 15
Wednesday March 16
Tuesday, April 5
Benfica 1-3 Liverpool
Man City 1-0 Atletico Madrid
Wednesday 6 April
Chelsea 1-3 Real Madrid
Villarreal 1-0 Bayern Munich
tuesday april 12
Bayern Munich v Villarreal (8 p.m.)
Real Madrid v Chelsea (8 p.m.)
Wednesday April 13
Atlético Madrid vs Man City (8 p.m.)
Liverpool v Benfica (8 p.m.)
Benfica/Liverpool v Villarreal/Bayern Munich
Man City/Atletico Madrid v Chelsea/Real Madrid
The first legs are scheduled to be played on Tuesday April 26 and Wednesday April 27; return matches on Tuesday May 3 and Wednesday May 4.
Scheduled to be played on Saturday May 28 at the Stade de France, Saint-Denis.