| New Delhi
| March 18, 2017 9:29 am
(L-R) Carlo Ancelotti, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Enrique and Massimiliano Allegri
The UEFA Champions League is bound to throw in some dazzling match ups and why wouldn't it?
Europe’s finest eight teams and the matches will go down to the wire once the sides trot out onto the pitch. Having said that, let's try and get an early marker of sorts for the four games that are scheduled for middle of April.
Atletico Madrid vs Leicester City: Battle of the Dark Horses
The first tie might just be the most intriguing, for English Premier League champions take on a side that know a thing or two about upsetting the odds.
Atletico Madrid, La Liga champions in 2014 and Champions League runners up in 2014 and 2016, have managed to unsettle Spanish football’s heavyweights: Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Leicester’s tale this season is as miraculous as their domestic triumph last year, toppling the group stages before turning around a first-leg deficit against Sevilla to land in esteemed company.
While the edge will have to be given to Atletico, writing off the Foxes should be done at your own peril.
Borussia Dortmund vs AS Monaco: Full-throttle Football
The two sides have plenty in common, with Dortmund challenging Bayern Munich for domestic hegemony while Monaco are doing the same with Paris Saint-Germain.
The other and perhaps most intriguing aspect is the fact that Dortmund and Monaco both play at a breakneck speed and throw caution to the wind, a tactic which has served them well so far this season.
With firepower on both sides, it might just be a situation in which whoever can outscore the other, wins. In that case, it would Dortmund seem to be ahead by the tiniest of margins, but if Monaco showed anything with their comeback against Manchester City, anything is possible.
Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid: Master vs Apprentice
17 Champions League titles between them, Bayern vs Madrid is special for another reason.
Carlo Ancelotti, the man who delivered the historic ‘La Decima’ for Los Blancos, is managing the Bavarians at the moment and he is against of course, his former protege, Zinedine Zidane.
The clash of the two former colleagues coupled with the star-studded line ups on both sides makes this the showpiece tie of the quarterfinal, hands down.
And while Bayern are in imperious form (Arsenal will attest to that), Madrid have been impressive despite not being at their best, a hallmark of title-winning sides.
Too close to call at this juncture, this epic tie could swing either way.
Barcelona vs Juventus: Revenge Story
A rematch of the 2015 final, Italian giants Juventus will be seeking revenge for their defeat at the hands for the Catalans. While Barcelona haven't changed much since their triumph, Juventus definitely have with acquisitions of Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala among others marking them as genuine contenders this year.
While Barcelona’s historic comeback against PSG grabbed the headlines, the fact that they were in a bit of a soup prior to that has shown that chinks do exist in La Blaugrana’s armour.
They remain favourites to progress, but one feels that underdogs Juventus will make life difficult for them over the course of two legs.
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