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Champions League Quarterfinal Preview - 1st Leg

The Champions League returns next week with eight teams still in contention for victory. Last year’s winners Real Madrid will play an unsettled Chelsea side, whilst Pep Guardiola hosts his former side Bayern Munich in a mouthwatering encounter.

Title-chasing Napoli will also feature in the quarter-finals as they take on an AC Milan side who recently thrashed them in Serie A. As Napoli hope to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in their history whilst bagging a first Scudetto for several decades. Seven-time winners AC Milan have different ideas, however, and the Milan club will be hoping for a long-awaited return to the summit of European football.


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Benfica v Inter Milan

Both Benfica and Inter Milan have won the Champions League twice and the stage is set for the giants to compete in the first leg of their European battle.

Benfica are unbeaten in league competition this year and impressed at last year’s Champions League edition. Milan have lost three out of their last five league games and are 21 points behind Serie A leaders Napoli.

Both sides enter their meeting in contrasting form, and it’ll be fascinating to see who comes out on top. 

Benfica v Inter Milan, Estadio da Luz, Tuesday 11th April, kick-off 8pm GMT. 

Manchester City v Bayern Munich

Manchester City still haven’t won the Champions League and the closest they came was two years ago when they lost to Chelsea in Lisbon.

The Sky Blues were eliminated in the semi-final stage last season and they’re among the favourites to go the distance this year. They do, however, face tough opposition in Bayern Munich, who won the competition in 2020 and just happen to be the side who’ve recently appointed Thomas Tuchel, who beat Guardiola in the 2021 final, as their new manager. 

The script gets deeper when you consider that Pep Guardiola will be facing his former club and Joao Cancelo will most likely feature for Bayern. As will Leroy Sane, though the ex-City man is just a yellow card away from suspension. 

City need to achieve a valuable first-leg win against Bayern if they wish to make 2023 the year they finally deliver the Champions League. They’ll face stiff competition, but we should never discount Guardiola’s side when the lights are on bright.

Manchester City v Bayern Munich, Etihad Stadium, Tuesday 11th April, kick-off 8pm GMT. 

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AC Milan v Napoli

AC Milan recently reminded Napoli of their quality by thrashing them 4-0 in Serie A, however the emphatic result has done little to slow Napoli’s quest for the title.

The two icons will be hoping to become the first Italian club to win the Champions League since 2007 and bring the once-great Serie A back to the top of the pecking order. 

Superstar Victor Osimhen is likely to return for this encounter, whilst veteran Zlatan Ibrahimovic remains absent for Milan. 

AC Milan v Napoli, San Siro, Wednesday 12th April , kick-off 8pm GMT.

Real Madrid v Chelsea

Real Madrid pulled-off one of the great Champions League victories last year with a string of comeback wins against PSG, Chelsea, and Manchester City.

Los Blancos will host two-time Champions League winners Chelsea in the first-leg of their quarter-final clash, with the Blues being in shambolic league form, although with Chelsea legend Frank Lampard appointed interim manager, don't bet against them to come away from Madrid with all to play for in the second leg.  

Veterans Tiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta remain sidelined for the Blues, however N’Golo Kante is set to feature and Raheem Sterling is returning to full-fitness. 

Ferland Mendy is Madrid’s only current injury concern, however promising midfielder Eduardo Camavinga is just one yellow card away from suspension. 

Real Madrid v Chelsea, Santiago Bernabeu, Wednesday 12th April, kick-off 8pm GMT. 

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