Crisis club Chelsea will take on record winners Real Madrid in a mouth-watering quarter final tie in the UEFA Champions League. The tie is a repeat of last season’s semi-final when the Blues outplayed Los Blancos to reach the final, before beating Manchester City 1-0 to win the club’s second top-tier European title.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel will also be able to get his players ready for the tie with the club already out of the Premier League title race. The first leg will be played at Stamford Bridge, behind closed doors in all probability, after the UK government barred Chelsea from selling tickets to their home matches.
Season ticket holders, however, were permitted to enter the stadium for matches.
Madrid will fancy their chances against a Chelsea side reeling from sanctions imposed on the club and its owner Roman Abramovic due to the oligarch’s alleged links to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Carlo Ancelotti’s side came back from 0-2 down to beat Paris Saint-Germain in the Round of 16 tie.
The winner of the tie will face the winner of the clash between Manchester City and Atlético Madrid with a potential Madrid derby semi-final on the cards.
Also on the cards is a repeat of last season’s final if both Chelsea and Manchester City progress to the next round. Incidentally, Atlético knocked out City’s bitter rivals Manchester United in their Round of 16 tie. Pep Guardiola’s City, on the other hand, beat Sporting Lisbon in their Round of 16 tie.
The tie, however, will not be a walkover for City. With Liverpool breathing down their neck in the Premier League, Guardiola will not have the luxury to rotate his squad as much as he would before facing an Atlético known for its dogged approach to the game.
On the other side of the bracket, six-time winners Liverpool will take on two-time champions Benfica. The winner of that tie will play the winner of the other quarter final between Europa League champions Villarreal and German giants Bayern Munich. Liverpool overcame a plucky Inter Milan to reach the quarter finals, while Benfica beat Ajax. Villareal, meanwhile, beat Juventus to progress to the quarter finals, while Bayern thumped RB Salzburg to book their place in the last eight.
The first leg of the quarter finals are scheduled for April 7, while the second leg will take place on April 14.