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Champions League breakdown - stats and predictions

 article about Champions League breakdown - stats and predictions
2018-03-21 09:46:19
The 2018 Champions League is entering its final stages with eight teams from across the continent now eyeing glory in Kyiv. The next round of games will take place in April, and with a selection of the world's best players on show, it promises to be an exciting occasion.

Barcelona advanced to the last eight with a 4-1 aggregate win over Chelsea, and they will fancy their chances at dispatching a Roma side that they crushed 6-1 in a group-stage game three years ago. Barca are unbeaten against Italian sides in the elite club competition on home soil and will be able to rely on the evergreen Lionel Messi, who has 35 goals in all competitions this season. Roma just squeezed through their previous tie with Shakhtar Donetsk on away goals, so Barcelona will be confident of going through.

One of the two standout clashes in the quarter-final is the repeat of last season's Champions League final, as Juventus look to avenge their 4-1 defeat to Real Madrid. While Juve knocked out a talented Spurs side in the last 16, taking down Real will be incredibly difficult, especially as the La Liga giants have the competition's highest scorer in Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese has already bagged 12 goals this season.

Sevilla are the underdogs in the last eight, but they will be buoyed by their impressive victory over a lackluster Premier League side, Manchester United, in the round of 16. Wissam Ben Yedder was the star man for the Spanish side in that tie after coming off the bench to score two goals at Old Trafford, which took his tally to eight in the Champions League. Sevilla know how to win big cups after recently claiming three consecutive Europa League titles. Whether they can make the step up to elite level remains to be seen.

Bayern Munich stand in their way in the knockout stages, and the German team is always a force to be reckoned with at the business end of the Champions League. Bayern are 17 points clear of Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga standings and recorded a thumping 8-1 aggregate win over Besiktas in the last round, so boss Jupp Heynckes will be confident that his charges can brush aside Sevilla and continue their charge to glory.

The final matchup promises to be a titanic battle as Premier League leaders Manchester City take on domestic rivals Liverpool. While City are cruising to glory at home and thrashed Basel FC in the away leg 4-0 in the round of 16, Liverpool also showed their credentials with a 5-0 aggregate win over Porto. Jurgen Klopp's side are also the only team to beat Pep Guardiola's City in the league this season. City are currently second favorites behind Barca to win outright, but for punters betting on the Champions League, the smart money will go on either City, Real, Bayern and Barca ahead of the next matches in early April.

Seventy-nine teams started on the journey to Kyiv last summer - now just eight remain after 112 matches and 353 goals. There is sure to be plenty more twists and turns before the winners lift the trophy on May 26th.

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