Champions League & Europa League quarter-final first legs: Preview & predictions

The quarter-finals of the Champions League and Europa League kick-off this week, with all eight first leg ties across both competitions taking place between Tuesday and Thursday.

Among the most intriguing clashes are repeats of the 2018 and 2020 Champions League finals between Real Madrid and Liverpool and Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain respectively, as well as Arsenal battling a dangerous Slavia Prague side and Manchester United taking on Granada in their first ever season participating in European competition.

Tuesday 6 April – Champions League

Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund

All eyes will be on Erling Haaland against Man City | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 20.00 (BST)
Where is it being played? Etihad Stadium
TV channel? BT Sport 3 (UK)

Manchester City will get up close and personal with Erling Haaland ahead of the summer transfer window when Borussia Dortmund take to the pitch at the Etihad Stadium.

Dortmund are off the pace in the Bundesliga top four race and may struggle to qualify for next season’s Champions League, but they have been strong in Europe this season.

City are in a good position, having already seen off one German opponent in the last round, as their comfortable lead in the Premier League will allow them to focus on Europe.

Prediction: Manchester City 2-1 Borussia Dortmund

Real Madrid vs Liverpool

Liverpool last faced Real Madrid in the 2018 Champions League final | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 20.00 (BST)
Where is it being played? Estadio Alfredo di Stefano
TV channel? BT Sport 2 (UK)

When this draw was made last month, attention immediately turned to the idea of Mohamed Salah taking vengeance against Sergio Ramos after the events of the 2018 final.

That narrative has taken a bit of battering since Ramos was ruled out of both legs through injury, while Jurgen Klopp has also made clear this is ‘not a revenge tour’ for the Reds.

It will be a big night for Liverpool centre-back Nat Phillips and the team in general are returning to some kind of form against a less than vintage Real Madrid side.

Prediction: Real Madrid 1-1 Liverpool

Wednesday 7 April – Champions League

Bayern Munich vs Paris Saint-Germain

PSG face a Bayern Munich side without Robert Lewandowski | Xavier Laine/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 20.00 (BST)
Where is it being played? Allianz Arena
TV channel? BT Sport 3 (UK)

The complexion of this tie, a repeat of the 2020 final, changed with the news that a knee injury on international duty will keep Robert Lewandowski out of both legs.

It is a big blow to Bayern, whose only back-up ‘number nine’ is ex-PSG striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. And while the holders are still an exceptional side, it gives a very good PSG more of a chance than they might have had were Lewandowski able to play.

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will be lining up on the opposite side for PSG.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain

Porto vs Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel's unbeaten record as Chelsea manager was destroyed by West Brom | Pool/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 20.00 (BST)
Where is it being played? Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan (Sevilla)
TV channel? BT Sport 2 (UK)

Chelsea’s first defeat under new manager Thomas Tuchel came at the worst possible time, with the Blues thrashed at home by struggling West Brom only four days before facing Porto.

West Brom exposed major holes in Chelsea’s defence and, while Porto might have been considered the most favourable draw, the Primeira Liga side will see it as a potential route to victory.

The one thing that counts against Porto, who conquered Juventus in the last round, is that their home leg is being held on neutral soil in Spain because of coronavirus restrictions and so they are losing a true home advantage.

Prediction: Porto 2-2 Chelsea

Thursday 8 April – Europa League

Ajax vs Roma

Ajax have done well since dropping out of the Champions League | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 20.00 (BST)
Where is it being played? Johan Cruyff Arena
TV channel? BT Sport 3 (UK)

Ajax and Roma could each have been considered potential Europa League winners this season, but only one of them will make it through to the semi-finals after being drawn against each other.

Ajax knocked out a strong Lille side at the last 32 after dropping out of the Champions League, before an easier ride against Young Boys in the last 16.

Roma, meanwhile, topped their group, before beating Braga in the first knockout round and then enjoyed an impressive aggregate win over Shakhtar Donetsk.

Prediction: Ajax 1-1 Roma

Arsenal vs Slavia Prague

Arsenal must be wary of Slavia Prague's threat | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 20.00 (BST)
Where is it being played? Emirates Stadium
TV channel? BT Sport 1 (UK)

Slavia Prague have knocked out Leicester and new Scottish champions Rangers in the last two rounds of the Europa League and cannot be underestimated by Arsenal.

The Gunners did the work in the last round against Olympiacos in the first leg and were beaten at home in the second. They are also still struggling in the Premier League and haven’t had the best preparation for this tough tie in that sense.

Arsenal should have the quality to win this game and the tie, but Slavia have won 2-0 in both away legs against British opposition already this season.

Prediction: Arsenal 1-2 Slavia Prague

Dinamo Zagreb vs Villarreal

Dinamo Zagreb knocked Tottenham out in the last 16 | Jurij Kodrun/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 20.00 (BST)
Where is it being played? Stadion Maksimir
TV channel? BT Sport ESPN (UK)

Dinamo Zagreb pulled off an unlikely aggregate comeback against Tottenham in the last 16, winning 3-0 after extra-time at home in the second leg after losing 2-0 in London in the first.

Spurs were a big scalp for the Croatian champions as they were among the teams fancied to lift the trophy, which will give them confidence of beating anyone else.

Villarreal are defensively strong, having only conceded once in four knockout games against Red Bull Salzburg and Dynamo Kyiv so far in the competition.

Prediction: Dinamo Zagreb 0-1 Villarreal

Granada vs Manchester United

Man Utd have won both Europa League knockout away legs this season | Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

What time is kick off? 20.00 (BST)
Where is it being played? Nuevo Los Carmenes
TV channel? BT Sport 2 (UK)

Manchester United probably couldn’t have wished for a more favourable draw at this stage of the competition, with Granada playing their first ever season of European football.

The Spanish club, who were playing second division football in 2018/19, denied Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a potential reunion with Molde by knocking them out in the last 16.

In each of the two knockout rounds so far, United have actually done the business away from home, winning away against both Real Sociedad and AC Milan.

Prediction: Granada 0-1 Manchester United

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Source : 90min