Quarter-final first legs
Tuesday, April 6
Manchester City v Dortmund
Real Madrid v Liverpool
Wednesday, April 7
Porto v Chelsea
Bayern v Paris
Haaland back at his dad’s old club
LONDON –The Uefa Champions League’s top scorer this season with ten goals, Erling Haaland was born the same summer that his father Alf-Inge Håland left Leeds for Manchester City.
Photographs of a young Erling in a City kit sparked plenty of speculation as to his future, but Dortmund’s Norwegian ace is unlikely to go easy in the first leg.
However, City – featuring in-form Dortmund alumnus ?lkay Gündo?an – will not be daunted as they look to build a first-leg advantage; they are on a six-game winning run, home and away, against German clubs, while Dortmund have lost their last five against Premier League opponents.
Kyiv flashbacks for Madrid and Liverpool
Madrid have won 13 European Cups to Liverpool’s six, and beat the Reds 3-1 in the 2018 Uefa Champions League final, but while the same coaches and many of the stars of that game will feature again in this quarter-final opener – Luka Modri?, Karim Benzema, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, though not the injured Sergio Ramos – it is worth remembering that there is little to choose between these sides in Uefa competitions; both have won three of their six encounters. “They’ll be two great games, with little in them,” said Madrid forward Rodrygo. “Real Madrid versus Liverpool is always a big game with two of the biggest names in world football.”
DNA test awaits Porto
Porto shook up this season’s competition by eliminating Cristiano Ronaldo-powered Juventus in the last round, a 3-2 defeat with ten men after extra time in Turin prompting coach Sérgio Conceição to say: “We never stopped believing – this is the true ‘DNA’ of FC Porto.” They may need to be just as tigerish against in-form Chelsea, with the suspensions of Mehdi Taremi and Sérgio Oliveira (the Portuguese club’s top European scorer with five this season) tilting the odds rather more in the Blues’ favour. Home advantage cannot help Porto here either – both legs of the tie are being played in Seville.
Holders Bayern’s Paris rematch
Parisian Kingsley Coman scored the only goal as Bayern beat Paris in the 2020 Uefa Champions League final, and has another chance to be the architect of his local team’s downfall as the sides reconvene in Munich. However, fate may have intervened on Paris’s side this time around; Bayern talisman Robert Lewandowski has been ruled out of both legs through injury while Mauricio Pochettino is likely be able to call on Neymar after several weeks struggling with a leg problem. Bayern’s Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting – who played for Paris in the 2020 final – said: “I’m looking forward to the game and the reunion. It’s an awesome story.”