Champions League Quarter Finals 1st Leg – Preview and Expected Lineups

Although the elimination of all Serie A representatives had left us Calcio fans disappointed, but as they say, show must go on. The world’s most prestigious club competition has reached its final stages, as only eight clubs remain in the battle for the ultimate European glory. Therefore, we prepared a full preview for the first leg encounters of the Champions League quarter finals, including the expected lineups.

Note: All expected lineups mentioned below originate from

Manchester City – Borussia Dortmund

On the Etihad stadium, Manchester City will play hosts for Borussia Dortmund. The Cityzens took care of business as usual when they dominated Borussia Monchegladbach in a 4-0 result on aggregate, but are now preparing to face yet another German opponent.

BVB are suffering from a largely underwhelming domestic campaign, as the bad results accumulated to ensure the sacking of former manager Lucien Favre. Nonetheless, the black and yellow club have so far managed to make up for it by producing a solid European run, and booking their place within the Champions League quarter finals after beating Sevilla 5-4 on aggregate.

Pep Guardiola could go for a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Kevin de Bruyne acting as the false nine. The supporting crew would be composed of Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva, whilst the double-pivot will feature Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan.

Edin Terzic could deploy a 4-3-3 lineup, with Erling Braut Haaland leading the line. The Norwegian should be supported by Thorgan Hazard and his captain Marco Reus. The defensive four will include Emre Can, Manuel Akanji, Mats Hummels and Rafael Guerrero.

Although Dortmund’s star-packed formation suggests that the team is able to put up a stronger fight than Gladbach, Man City are operating on another level at the moment, and should be expected to take a healthy lead at home.

Man. City: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Rúben Dias, Cancelo; Rodri, Gündoğan; Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Foden; De Bruyne
Out: none
Misses next match if booked
: Fernandinho, João Cancelo

Dortmund: Hitz; Can, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Delaney, Bellingham, Dahoud; Hazard, Reus; Haaland
: Moukoko (foot), Sancho (thigh), Schmelzer (knee), Witsel (Achilles), Zagadou (knee)
Misses next match if booked
: Haaland

Real Madrid – Liverpool

In a rematch for the infamous 2018 Champions League final (see the image above) , Real Madrid and Liverpool will go head-to-head in this year’s quarter finals.

Los Merengues swept Atalanta aside 4-1 on aggregate to comfortably reach this stage of the competition, whilst the Reds had an even easier task against Reb Bull Leipzig, as it ended 4-0 after the two legs in Budapest.

Zinedine Zidane could maintain his newly adopted 3-5-2 formation, with Marco Asensio lining up next to Karim Benzema in attack. The usual midfield trio will be Toni Kroos, Luca Modric and Casemiro, whilst Lucas Vazquez and Marcelo should support from the wingback positions.

Jurgen Klopp is expected to unleash a 4-3-3 formation spearheaded by Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Sadio Mané. The midfield should feature Thiago Alcantara, Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum.

Both sides are expected to be uncrowned domestically by the end of the campaign – especially Liverpool – so they should be more determined than ever on going as far as possible in the European competition.

The Spaniards’ shrewdness and experience on this stage might give them a slight advantage.

Real Madrid: Courtois; Nacho, Varane, Mendy; Vázquez, Modrić, Casemiro, Kroos, Marcelo; Benzema, Asensio
Out: Carvajal (hamstring), Hazard (fitness), Ramos (calf)
Doubtful: Valverde (muscular)
Misses next match if booked
: Mendy, Valverde

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson; Thiago, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Jota, Mané
Out: Gomez (knee), Henderson (groin), Kelleher (abdominal), Matip (ankle), Origi (muscular), Van Dijk (knee)
Misses next match if booked: Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum

Porto – Chelsea 

In Sevilla, Porto will be “hosting” Chelsea on a neutral ground. The Dragons shocked the world by eliminating a Juventus side that is led by their compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo, after taking advantage from the away goal rule on the heels of a 4-4 draw on aggregate after a dramatic extra time.

The Blues meanwhile were expected to have some trouble on their way to the Champions League quarter finals, however, the ended up qualifying with ease after beating Atletico Madrid home and away.

Sergio Conceicao is expected to maintain his 4-4-2 formation. In the absence of the suspended Mehdi Taremi, Luis Diaz should start in attack beside Moussa Marega. Marko Grujic is tipped to replace star-man Sergio Oliveira in midfield.

On the other hand, Thomas Tuchel should once again deploy his favorite 3-4-3 lineup, with Mason Mount starting alongside Olivier Giroud and Timo Werner. Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho should feature in the double-pivot roles, whilst Reece James and Marcos Alonso will start in the wingback roles.

The Portuguese will be hoping to produce yet another shocker and go beyond the quarters, but the Englishmen seem to be a particularly solid side under the guidance of their new German tactician – well except for their last league defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Albion.

Porto: Marchesín; Manafá, Mbemba, Pepe, Zaidu; Grujić, Uribe, Otávio, Corona; Luis Diáz, Marega
Out: Mbaye (knee), Sérgio Oliveira (suspended), Taremi (suspended)

Chelsea: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rüdiger; James, Jorginho, Kovačić, Alonso; Mount, Giroud, Werner
Out: Kanté (hamstring)
Doubtful: Pulišić (hamstring)
Misses next match if booked
: Kovačić, Ziyech

Bayern Munich – Paris Saint Germain 

Another Champions League final rematch will be contested in this season’s quarter finals. This one is actually more recent, as it took place in August last year.

The reigning champions Bayern Munich will defend their European throne against their runners-up Paris Saint Germain.

The Bavarians steamrolled Lazio 6-2 on aggregate to claim their spot within the final eight, whilst the Parisians were arguably the most impressive side in the previous round, as they punished Barcelona in a 5-2 domination to set up this highly-anticipated fixture.

Hansi Flick will unleash his usual 4-2-3-1 formation, led by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in the absence of the legendary Robert Lewandowski. The Cameroonian should be supported by Leroy Sané, Thomas Muller and Kingsley Coman, whilst the German internationals Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich will be the central midfielders.

For his part, Mauricio Pochettino will adopt a similar tactical formation, spearheaded by Moise Kean. The Italian international should have a world class supporting crew in the form of Angel Di Maria, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé. Italian internationals Marco Verratti and Alessandro Florenzi both tested positive for Covid-19, and should be replaced by Ander Herrera and Thilo Kehrer respectively.

This clash of the titans is arguably the most awaited one in the quarters. Whilst Bayern will certainly have an edge in the first leg as they’re playing at home, PSG possess all the tools needed to surprise them.

Bayern: Neuer; Pavard, Süle, Alaba, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Sané, Müller, Coman; Choupo-Moting
Out: Costa (foot), Lewandowski (knee), Tolisso (thigh)

Paris: Navas; Kehrer, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Diallo; Gueye, Herrera; Di María, Neymar, Mbappé; Kean
Out: Paredes (suspended), Verratti (illness), Bernat (knee)
Doubtful: Danilo (calf), Florenzi (illness), Icardi (thigh), Kurzawa (calf)
Misses next match if booked
: Gueye, Kurzawa, Neymar, Verratti