Paris St Germain and Atalanta will be locked in a mis-matched battle in the first of Champions League quarter finals tonight. Image Credit: Graphic News

A glance at the four one-legged Uefa Champions League quarter-final clashes that will take place from Wednesday to Saturday in Lisbon this week.


Atalanta v Paris St-Germain


Estadio da Luz

PSG have invested heavily in a star-laden squad over the past seven years, with one mission — to be crowned the champions of Europe. So far, they have not come close, despite stellar names such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Edinson Cavani, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe pulling on the famous blue shirt.


You would think that they would never have a better chance than this year, as giants such as Liverpool and Real Madrid are the French side are guaranteed to avoid Bayern Munich or Manchester City until the final in Lisbon.

However, first they have to deal with Europe’s top-scoring side this season in Gian Piero Gasperini’s Italian underdogs Atalanta, who have continued to surprise and delight with their attacking football in equal measure.

Route to Lisbon

PSG were impressive in the group stages, sauntering to the top of Group A and defeating Real Madrid 3-0 before earning a draw in the return leg in Madrid. They also saw off Galatasaray and Club Brugge.

Thomas Tuchel swept aside his former club Borussia Dortmund 4-1 in the last 16 way back in February to confirm their place in Lisbon.

Their Italian opponents on Wednesday night used the 2019-20 Champions League to make the footballing world sit up and take notice of this little club from Bergamo, as their nothing-to-lose, attacking style saw them finish second behind group leaders Manchester City, notching up impressive wins over Dinamo Zagreb and Shakhtar.

In the knockout round, again in February before the COVID-19 lockdown, Atalanta served up arguably the tie of the tournament in an 8-4 thrashing of Valencia.

Past meetings

Atalanta and PSG have never met in competition before and it will be interesting to see if European experience or sheer passion and vigour will win out.

Players to watch


Neymar’s time at PSG has been marred by injuries and talk of a return to Barcelona, but he is fit and leading the line in the absence of the injured Kylian Mbappe, suspended Angel Di Maria and departed Edinson Cavani.

Josip Ilic

Slovenian international Ilic has been on fire, including in the Champions League, where he already has five goals to his name.

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RB Leipzig's Timo Werner had been the team's goal-scoring machine during their campaign. Image Credit: AFP


RB Leipzig v Atletico Madrid


Estadio Jose Alvalade

Formed in 2009, RB Leipzig are this year’s other relative unknown as Julian Nagelsmann has finally got a team clicking after a few years of promising a lot but failing to deliver the final product.

Leipzig are the new boys on the footballing scene as they have rose to prominence — against a wave of resistance in Germany from rival clubs and fans — thanks to heavy investment from corporate owners, sponsors and notorious money-splurgers Red Bull.

The Germans face Champions League veterans Atletico Madrid who, for all their endeavours, have never managed to claim the European Cup, despite going close a number of times — they lost to Bayern Munich in 1974 and to supergiant neighbours Real Madrid in 2014 and 2016.

Diego Simeone’s side will be hopeful of another visit to the final showdown as they are in the more favourable side of the draw and would much prefer a semi-final against PSG or Atalanta than face the might of Barcelona, Bayern or Manchester City.

Route to Lisbon

With Timo Werner, Marcel Sabitzer and Patrik Schick banging in the goals, Leipzig stunned took top spot in, granted, an easy-looking Group C ahead of fellow quarter-finalists Lyon, Portuguese giants Benfica and Russia’s Zenit St Petersburg.

The German upstarts dumped Tottenham Hotspur and European expert Jose Mourinho out of the tournament in the last 16, including a 3-0 thrashing of the Premier League side at the Red Bull Arena.

Atletico were less impressive in the group stages, just edging into second place in Group D ahead of Bayer Leverkusen, They have now progressed further than group winners Juventus, however, thanks to a thrilling victory over defending champions Liverpool at Anfield.

Previous meetings

Unsurprisingly, given Leipzig were only formed in 2009, the pair have never met in competition.

Players to watch

Marcel Sabitzer RB Leipzig

Top scorer Timo Werner has departed for pastures new at Chelsea and much like a team such as Ajax, Leipzig will have to get used to top teams swooping in to pinch their biggest stars. Also like Ajax, Leipzig have a knack of unearthing gems and have another one in playmaker and goal-getter Sabitzer. The Austrian has scored four in the Champions League this campaign and set up plenty more.

Jan Oblak, Atletico

While Atletico will be hoping to be busy up at the other end of the field, the difference between the two teams could be the man in goal for the Spaniards as Oblak has established himself as one of the best keepers in the world,

Lionel Messi saw Barcelona past Napoli
Leo Messi, the Argentine genius, will be under pressure to deliver against Bayern Munich in the biggest of the quarter final match-ups. Image Credit: AFP


Barcelona v Bayern Munich


Estadio da Luz

From four teams to have never won the competition to two of the biggest names in European football. They have 10 titles between them in Europe’s elite competition — five each — and the Germans look to have the slight edge on paper as Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller have rediscovered their scoring touch in a season that saw them sweep all on their way to domestic dominance in the Bundesliga. Barcelona however, have stumbled with Lionel Messi unsettled at the club and the Catalans relinquishing their La Liga title to arch rivals Real Madrid.

Route to Lisbon

Barca were their usual dominant selves in Group F, emerging undefeated ahead of Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan and Slavia Prague, but their goal count is way down on previous campaigns, with only nine goals from six games. Following the enforced break, Barca were delighted to see Messi put in one of his best performances of the season as he pulled all the strings in their second leg against Napoli last week and secure their quarter-final spot.

Bayern registered a perfect 18 points from 18 available in the group stages, bagging 24 goals, two thrashings of Tottenham and the best group-stage return by a club in the history of the competition.

They never let up in the knockouts, humbling Chelsea 7-1 on aggregate.

Previous meetings

Barca and Bayern have clashed eight times in the Champions League, with the stand out games being the Catalans 5-1 dismantling Bayern 5-1 in 1999 before the Germans gained revenge in 2003 with an emphatic 7-0 win over two legs. They last met in 2015 when Messi and Neymar inspired them to a 6-2 aggregate triumph.

Players to watch

Luis Suarez, Barcelona

While Messi was the star man against Napoli last time out, Suarez was also on the scoresheet from the spot, and should the diminutive Argentine misfire, it will be up to his Uruguayan counterpart to pick up the slack.

Robert Lewandowski, Bayern

At the other end, veteran frontman is playing like a man reborn under new coach Hansi Flick, breaking all sorts of record on his way to the German Golden Shoe. He is readily backed up by another seasoned striker in the shape of Mueller.

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Belgian playmaker Kevin De Bruyne had been the source of stream of final passes for Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus to do the scoring the elite league. Image Credit: AFP


Manchester City v Lyon


Estadio da Luz

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have dominated English football over the past decade but have yet to claim their first European title, the one they crave the most. Despite losing out on the Premier League title this season to Liverpool, they are in great form and have a real chance to finally end their Champions League duck. Opponents Lyon have been playing second fiddle to PSG in France, but their victory over Cristiano Ronaldo and Serie A champions Juventus in the last 16 will have them fancying their chances over 90 minutes.

Route to Lisbon

City breezed to the top of their group, staying undefeated against Atalanta, Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb.

They really stamped their Champions League credentials in the last 16 with a pair of 2-1 wins over Real Madrid six months apart to book their flight to Lisbon.

Lyon, on the other hand, fought their way out of Group G, two wins proving to be just enough to get them through along side RB Leipzig, with Benfica and Zenit St Petersburg departing.

The knockouts saw the French side register one of their biggest ever results as they accounted for Juve over two legs on away goals. .

Previous meetings

This is a big caution for the English side as City clashed with Lyon two seasons ago in the group stages, with the visitors stunning Guardiola’s side 2-1 at the Etihad before drawing 2-2 in France.

Players to watch

Memphis Depay, Lyon

The former Manchester United man is Lyon’s top scorer and he also can turn provider, with his work rate second to none.

Kevin De Bruyne, City

While Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus have 12 goals between them in the competition, they reap the dividends created largely by the Belgian De Bruyne and fellow playmakers Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan. De Bruyne has 22 assists this season and is proving himself to be one of the most creative players on the planet.