The Champions League knockouts are heating up, with all eight quarter-final participants now determined.
It’s been a whirlwind week of second leg last-16 action, with plenty of surprises, thrills and spills to truly whet the appetite of football fans.
Who are the Champions League quarter-finalists?
- Atletico Madrid
- Bayern Munich
- Manchester City
- Real Madrid
Last week Bayern Munich battered Red Bull Salzburg 8-2 on aggregate in a result that took few by surprise, but a scoreline that caused a fair few to sit up and take notice. It wasn’t quite as chaotic in the adjacent fixture last week Tuesday as Liverpool just edged out Inter 2-1 on aggregate.
- Who are the favourites to win the Champions League?
- Who will qualify from the EPL for the Champions League next season?
To conclude the week’s drama-fuelled action in Europe’s blue-riband competition, Manchester City avoided the mother of all capitulations against Sporting to inch ever close to another Champions League final, while Real Madrid eliminated PSG in a clash of the heavyweights.
The last 16 concluded this week with Atletico Madrid knocking Manchester United out of the competition after winning 1-0 (2-1 on aggregate) at Old Trafford. Benfica meanwhile executed a smash-and-grab in Amsterdam, beating Ajax 1-0 despite having just one shot on target and close to only 30% possession.
Chelsea picked up from where they left off at Stamford Bridge, not allowing their off-field troubles to affect their focus as they comfortably saw off French champions Lille 4-1 on aggregate, while Europa League champions Villarreal put Juventus to the sword in a shock second-leg 3-0 triumph in Turin.
Such was the shock, in fact, that renowned Spanish publication Marca originally had the Juventus emblem emblazoned on a post-match graphic to confirm the quarter-final participants. Villarreal’s eagle-eyed Twitter team, though, were quick to identify their late visual amendment…
— Villarreal CF (@VillarrealCF) March 16, 2022
When is the Champions League quarter-final draw?
The draw is scheduled for 11am (UK time) today (Friday, March 18), with the next round of fixtures being determined, naturally, at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland.
The event will also mark the final draw of the 2021/22 Champions League season, with the semi-final paths also being decided on the day. To add a little bit of spice, both the QF and SF draw are ‘domestically’ open, meaning clubs from the same nation can draw each other.
When is the Europa League quarter-final draw?
The Europa League draw will take place immediately after the Champions League draw, with the event scheduled for approximately 12:30pm (UK time). Thursday night will determine which clubs are in the pots, with RB Leipzig the only confirmed participant after Spartak Moscow were prohibited from taking part in the competition.
- Atalanta / Bayer Leverkusen
- Barcelona / Galatasaray
- Braga / Monaco
- Porto / Lyon
- Sevilla / West Ham
- Rangers / Red Star Belgrade
- RB Leipzig
- Real Betis / Eintracht Frankfurt
“Indisputably one of the greatest number nines of all-time”
It was a tale of two halves at the Bernabeu last Wednesday evening. Much of the pre-game narrative centred on Kylian Mbappe, given his continued links with Real Madrid, but it was another Frenchman who stole the show, with Karim Benzema reminding everyone of his world-class capabilities.
Mbappe broke the deadlock in the Spanish capital to double PSG’s aggregate advantage, but Benzema grabbed the game by the scruff off the neck on the hour mark to net an 18-minute hat-trick which swung the momentum in Real’s favour and turned the game on its head.
Karim Benzema's game by numbers vs. PSG:
100% aerial duels won
15 touches in the opp. box
7 shots attempted
5 shots on target
4 passes into the opp. box
4 passes into final third
4 x possession won
Hat-trick hero. 🎩 pic.twitter.com/vz5s89gHDA
— Squawka (@Squawka) March 9, 2022
The eulogies naturally flowed after the game as Benzema further embellished his legacy as one of the game’s greatest-ever natural finishers. In the BT Sport studio, Rio Ferdinand described him as “the most complete No. 9 in football right now”. On social media, Gary Lineker commented that Benzema is “indisputably one of the greatest number nines of all-time”, while Mesut Ozil captured: “What a game… my boy Benziii still the best No9 Benzema”.
— Mesut Özil (@M10) March 9, 2022
There was also special praise reserved for Luka Modric, who produced another midfield masterclass pulling the strings in the centre of the pitch. Football legend Franco Baresi tweeted: “World class @Benzema @lukamodric10 👏👏👏.” Ferdinand in the BT Studio commented that the 36-year-old is “ageing like a fine wine,” while former midfield icons Nigel de Jong and Jermaine Jenas went with “midfield maestro” and “moving like he’s 26” respectively.
— Jermaine Jenas (@jjenas8) March 9, 2022