It’s been a script-defying 2021/22 Champions League with an unfamiliar feel to the last-eight, but that only offers a tantalising possibility for May’s final at the Stade de France.
This season’s quarter-finals will once again be without generational superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who were both put to the sword by Real Madrid — who produced a mini-remontada against PSG — and Atletico Madrid respectively, making that two years in a row without the Ballon d’Or magnets at this stage.
Barcelona are through to the quarter-finals, but of the Europa League instead, having been knocked out of the groups, while Juventus were eliminated by Villarreal. The French champions (Lille), Italian champions (Inter), Portuguese champions (Sporting) and Dutch champions (Ajax) all also exited in the previous round.
The pots were loaded up on morning night in Nyon and the names were plucked by former Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre, with representatives of each club waiting with bated breath to see who they would face. So, how are we shaping up ahead of the final, and when is the showpiece actually set to take place?
- Who are the favourites to win the Champions League?
- Who will qualify from the EPL for the Champions League next season?
Champions League quarter-final & semi-final draw
- Chelsea vs Real Madrid
- Man City vs Atletico Madrid
- Villarreal vs Bayern Munich
- Benfica vs Liverpool
- Man City/Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea/Real Madrid
- Benfica/Liverpool vs Villarreal/Bayern Munich
When is the 2021/22 Champions League final?
The 2021/22 Champions League final was set to take place at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia, but given the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, UEFA confirmed last month that their blue-riband showpiece has been moved to the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, France. The final is scheduled to kick off on Saturday, 28 May 2022 at 7pm (UK time). For UK viewers the final will be shown on BT Sport.
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Micah Richards warns Klopp: Beware Darwin Nunez
Liverpool fans were perhaps licking their lips and wiping the sweat off their collective brows when they were drawn against the competition’s least-fancied side Benfica, that’s according to bookmakers at least. The Lisbon outfit were thoroughly outplayed by Ajax in their last-16 tie, but somehow managed to sneak past the Dutch giants. Interim boss Nelson Verissimo masterminded a smash-and-grab second-leg win that saw Benfica register close to 30% possession and manage just one shot on target.
That single shot on target came from much-vaunted Uruguayan sensation Darwin Nunez. The 22-year-old is Europe’s most prolific player under 23 this season, bagging 26 goals across all competitions, which places him ahead of the likes of Dusan Vlahovic and Erling Haaland in that particular bracket. While many would still fancy Liverpool to get the job done, former Man City defender-turned-pundit Micah Richards believes Jurgen Klopp’s men could run into one or two problems against the Eagles.
“Liverpool fans will have been delighted at how the Champions League draw panned out but let me provide a word of warning,” Richards told Daily Mail. “Darwin Nunez has caught my eye all year and he came up trumps for Benfica once again, to send them into the last-eight.
“He’s scored against Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Ajax so far — don’t discount him doing the same against Liverpool.”